As I mentioned in my previous post, up until about 6 to 9 months ago I was fairly certain I was going to return to China. As I found out however, the Lord had different plans for me.
Back in April, I was accepted into the PhD program at Southern. I wasn’t actually even considering continuing my education until the end of 2012 when I had a compulsion of sorts to apply. I was accepted into the program in April and I am really excited about it. I was told that one shouldn’t apply to PhD unless they have a burning desire to research a particular topic, and that topic for me is, and has been since becoming a Christian: “How do we conduct ourselves as Christians in the business world?” When I was still exploring Christianity, God surrounded me with a number of godly, Christian businessmen who modelled what it is like to be both a husband and a businessman. As I have sifted through possible dissertation topics, I have been really struck by the question of whether a business can be Christian. I have been exploring the idea of Stakeholder Theory which basically posits that there are more stakeholders in a company than just the shareholders. I believe this meshes well with our faith and I hope to explore it in much more detail.
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, although not necessarily a successful one. When I felt called to come back to Canada, church planting seemed the obvious calling. I looked at two groups, and as so often happens in God’s planning, some doors opened and others seemed to shut. I feel blessed now to be appointed, as of October 1, as a church planter with Toronto Church Planting (www.torontochurchplanting.com), which is affiliated with the North American Mission Board and the Canadian National Baptist Convention. I have a real desire to minister to business people, professionals and white collar workers in the financial district and they have been very supportive of my plan to plant in the downtown core. I have already begun working and training with them, but I am now seeking some ministry partners to join and prayer partners to support me.
When considering my options, I thought about whether to become a full-time or a bi-vocational church planter. There seemed to be advantages and disadvantages to both, but I thought that being active in both a church plant and a Christian ministry that serves the same people whom I want to serve, would be an ideal situation. Not only would it help financially, but it would also put me in the ‘market’ as it were, where I could meet people in a similar context. Once again, God blessed me with an opportunity which I heard about indirectly. As of October 1, I became the Chaplain at King-Bay Chaplaincy (www.king-bay.com). I am following in some really big footsteps, but I am really excited about the work they have done and that I hope we can do together.
This is going to be a very business season in my life and I pray that God gives me the strength, endurance, and ability to engage in each of these ministries to his glory. I would not have even thought this possible if it were not for the same theme that runs through each of them for me: I became a Christian as a businessman and I feel called to minister to those who have had, and hopefully will have, similar experiences as I did. I want to serve business people, professionals and white collar workers who know the Lord and those who don’t. I believe God calls us to work, and while the Fall makes it more difficult, it is still something we can do to his glory and I hope I can serve him by serving others.