Many Christian ministries, missions and organisations are relying purely on donations and grants for their financial requirements because this is the traditional model. The story of George Müller and how God provided for their needs in supporting a number of orphanages in Bristol, UK during the eighteen hundreds is indeed an inspiring story and a worthy example. However, many Christians are still considering what I call, the “George Müller-model” as the only true “living by faith” model.
Living by faith
I have personally grown up with the narrow interpretation that “living by faith” means to trust God for money while being economically passive. However, I have later realised that living by faith means much more than simply to trust God for money! Living by faith is not something that only full time Christian workers and missionaries do who do not receive fixed salaries! To live by faith means to live in total dependence upon God, not only for our monthly income, but for every aspect of our lives! Every born again Christian should live by faith, whether you are earning a fixed salary, running a business, or working as a full time missionary without a salary! If you don’t live by faith, it is not because you receive a fixed salary, but because you don’t understand how dependent you are upon God for the very breath that you breathe! “… for whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Rom 14:23 NKJV)
The Business Ministry Model
The purpose of my article is to show that there is another model of funding for Christian organisations and missions that could be very effective and is just as much a “living by faith” model as the George Müller-model. I call this the Business Ministry Model. The Business Ministry Model involves the establishment of a real business that is run as a ministry (or is it a ministry run as a business?) for the purpose of making profits in order to financially support another ministry. Please note that I am not propagating a substitute for tithing, offerings and donations — this is an integral part of Christian living!
I would herewith like to show you an example of a successful Ministry Business Model: Kwasizabantu Mission in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. This mission has a remarkable history of revival that occurred during the late 1960’s and 1970’s among the Zulus. If you have never heard or read this story please do yourself a favour and visit their website.
The example of Kwasizabantu
Kwasizabantu began to support themselves by establishing income generating projects on their farm. I concede they had a farm that gave them a jump start. But I will show you in a following article how the principle can be applied to every Ministry and Mission. One successful project gave rise to another and at present they are running the following projects on the farm:
- They are feeding at least 1200 people every day on 340ha of intensive farming.
- Hothouses cultivating Sweet Peppers and Spinach for an upmarket food chain and others.
- A dairy producing 1400 litres of milk per day, including sour milk, yogurt and dairy based fruit juice.
- A pasta factory.
- A modern bakery baking up to 2000 loaves per day.
- Reaping and bottling between 2 and 8 tons of honey twice a year.
- A yoghurt factory.
- A pottery shop.
- A huge Avocado Pear project with a modern packing plant for export to Europe.
- A weaving project for export.
- A woodwork shop including a sawmill. During 2000 32km of planks were processed for the Auditorium alone. (This auditorium, seating 10,000, was gutted by fire during 2008 and re-constructed by April 2009.)
- A spring water bottling plant, distributing nationally under a well known brand name.
The story of Kwasizabantu is indeed a remarkable story! It is remarkable not only because of their history of revival, but because of the economic outflow thereof. I believe this a worthy example of Christianity in practise for the whole world, and an excellent example of the Business Ministry Model of funding Christian missions.