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Friday, April 26, 2013
I'm Inspired By God's Use of Business Leaders Worldwide
Steve Strang in Malaysia

For years I’ve been attending networking meetings in the body of Christ, but rarely has a meeting inspired me more than the one I’m attending today in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from where I’m filing this report.

There are about 100 business leaders here from all over the world who are talking about how to work together to advance the cause of Christ. It’s the second meeting brought together by Global Kingdom Partners Network—an informal group you’ve probably never heard of. I’m here as a business leader. But I’m making many important connections, learning a lot and picking up a few stories that we’ll report over the next few weeks.

Yesterday, we heard reports on the many world problems: the rise of Islam, increasing persecution of Christians, the onslaught of gay marriage, the declining influence of the church in the West. Have we heard that before? Yes. But here, there is also a sense of optimism. We heard reports the church is growing in many places, and we heard stories of businesspeople—many of them very wealthy—who are heading up bold initiatives to spread the gospel, influence society, help the poor and emphasize the importance of ethics.

During round-table discussions, the group here identified that corruption in government is one of the most difficult problems these Christian businessmen face. Graham Power from South Africa is heading an initiative he calls “Unashamedly Ethical,” in which most of the attendees sign a pledge not to give or accept bribes or other forms of corruption. He even read a list of the countries with the most and least corruption. New Zealand was rated as the least corrupt, and Singapore second. Somalia was considered most corrupt—No. 182, right behind North Korea. (Where was the United States on the list? It’s rated the 24th least corrupt nation, given a score of 7.1 out of 10.)

There were stories especially from developing countries of how many of these very wealthy businesspeople see business as a ministry rather than a dichotomy we see in the West, where professional clergy do “ministry” while businesspeople do business and are merely seen as donors by ministry leaders.

The Global Kingdom Partners Network is the vision of Elias Dantas, an affable Brazilian who is now a part of Nyack College in New York. It began several years ago as almost a secretive meeting of megachurch pastors from around the world (including some from Muslim nations) to see how they could collaborate in spreading the gospel and encourage each other. The marketplace initiative (of which I’m a part) is a spinoff of the pastor’s group. It is less secretive because what the businessmen do to fund the gospel and witness doesn’t get the same sort of persecution from governments who may be hostile to Christians. Since I’m also a journalist, I’ve been aware that much of what I’m hearing is off the record.

I was invited to be one of 15 presenters to the group. We each brought with us a video (by way of introduction) that introduced ourselves and our families and told about our work. We made a few remarks and later served on a panel to answer questions.

If you’d like to see the six-minute video I showed about Charisma Media, you can click here. As appropriate, I’ll tell the stories and ...

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