If you are like me, you sometimes need to just make words up, combining two or more common words. They might look a bit strange, but they somehow just seem to fit together rather nicely. So here is one:

adventure: an unusual and exciting experience or activity.

venture: an uncertain or daring journey or undertaking.

Venn diagram: common elements of the sets being represented by the areas of overlap among the circles.

=VENNTURE 

Before I explain what this word means, let me take you on an “advennture” to Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, to witness one of the most innovative ministries I have ever encountered. The Kale Heywet Church, with 10,000 churches and 10 million members is Ethiopia’s largest evangelical denomination. Pastor Yoseph Bekele was a youth pastor and owned several businesses. In 2017, Yoseph was appointed to be the Director of business and discipleship for the Kale Heywet Church. When he started, Yoseph shared that businesspeople were considered “sinful people” in his context. There was no understanding of a Christian or biblical perspective on work. His challenge was to help the church membership to understand whole-life discipleship, including worship and work as critical for Ethiopian Christians.

In three years, Yoseph and his team of trainers have reached nine of the eleven regions of Ethiopia with the message of faith and work. His teams of trainers help pastors and church leaders understand the call of the local church to equip all of God’s people for the work of the ministry from Monday to Saturday. They believe that every church should have a workplace ministry, just as they have a youth and women’s ministry. 

As part of the training, everyone learns the three Great Directives. The Great Commission’s (Matt. 28:18-20) outcome is proclamation.  Jesus tells us to go and make disciples, beginning in Jerusalem and reaching the whole world.  The Great Commandment’s (Mark 12:30-31) outcome is relational.  Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is about loving God whole-heartedly and loving our neighbor as ourselves.  But the outcomes of the Great Commitment (Gen. 2:5), which are to fill the earth and steward it, are economic and ecological.  

Today, God is raising up a movement of Christians in Ethiopia who see all of life as an opportunity to live out their calling of discipleship – at home, at school, and at work.  

Our travels could take us to other far-reaching corners of the globe, where we could meet passionate Christ-followers who are demonstrating that faith and work are not separate boxes in life but converge together in acts of faithful service. In the Philippines and China, India, South Sudan, Lebanon, Bolivia, Cuba and throughout Latin America, these folks are a living testimony that church on Sunday (typically) is actually a place where God’s people can be equipped and enabled to be salt and light in the world for the other six days of the week.

So back to my word VENNTURE:

Many of our readers know what a Venn diagram is: two-overlapping shapes that demonstrate the logical relationship between two or more sets of ideas. It was named after a British mathematician, John Venn, in 1880, who was trying to help people understand how seemingly opposing concepts can actually be closely linked together. So a simple version could look like this:

Now hold that thought for a minute and let’s share what God has been showing us here at CBM.  For many years, we have seen the phenomenal impact that ‘ordinary church-goers’ were having on helping shape local communities, often through their daily work. They were teachers and health-care workers,  government employees, tradespeople, truckers and farmers, business-people, merchants, and day-labourers. They understood that God had called them to live out their faith in and through their work. And they innately knew that they were Christ’s disciples in the marketplace.  

But conversely, too often the church-leaders, usually pastors and evangelists, were sending a confusing message that God’s work was what was being done in the church; singing in the choir, teaching Sunday school, being a deacon, serving on a committee, or sometimes, just being a means of generating income for what they understood to be God’s work (i.e., in the church).  These people felt like they were second-class citizens in the kingdom, sometimes denigrated for choosing what was labelled as ‘secular work’ vs the spiritual work of the church.

With our partners around the world, we are developing a whole new focus, called VENNTURE, which seeks to help show the marvelous convergence of faith and work. As our new VENNTURE logo shows, we see that discipleship is the great integrator, the very heart of life as God’s people. It is where faith meets work and equips people with useful resources to live out their faith every single day of the week.

Our strategy is quite straightforward:  

1. FORMATION: Through teaching, training, coaching and mentoring, we will help equip the whole people of God to participate in God’s work and to bring about transformation.

2. CREATION: Vennture works within a partner network and in a spirit of mutuality, to assist in the creation of transformational businesses that lead to human flourishing and provide meaningful work for individuals.

3. MOBILIZATION: Vennture is building networks in order to mobilize God’s people to see their work as mission and accept their role to help heal a broken world through it.

In the next issue of CBM Responding, we will unwrap our FORMATION pillar and fill you in on how this is developing internationally and in Canada, as well as share opportunities for you to grow in your understanding of faith and work theology and the practice of whole-life discipleship.

In the coming months, you will be able to learn more about VENNTURE. We have a website, social media feeds, articles, courses, and sermon resources underway. We are excited to launch this important new work on behalf of CBM and our partners locally and around the world.

Our Website & Social Media

Our website will be a rich source of information on our partners, projects, and ministry staff. Be sure also to like our Facebook page, follow us on Instagram, and connect with us on LinkedIn for important updates throughout the week.

Email

Our monthly e-newsletter IN THE LOOP will provide you with curated content that will expand your knowledge and reshape your ideas of faith and work. More details and links for the resources will arrive in your inbox in the coming weeks so sign up!

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This service resource package will help you unpack a theology of faith and work, and help you understand how you can join God’s mission and live out your faith, seven days a week.

Save the Date:
Sunday, September 4, 2022