Each year County Line Church selects an international ministry partner to receive funds through the Joy to the World Offering. This year’s recipient is Global Disciples. In short, Global Disciples partners with pastors in the areas of discipleship training, leadership development, and small business development. You can learn more about this ministry on their website at globaldisciples.org.
Below is an excerpt taken from the “What’s In Your Hand?” book, published by Global Disciples. In the coming weeks we will share the stories of people who have experienced the “What’s In Your Hand?” training and running a business to support their families and churches.
SIMPLE TOOLS AND BASIC BUSINESS TRAINING MULTIPLY GOD’S WORK
Ezra is a church planter in southern India who uses his small business to introduce Jesus to those who don’t yet know Him. Ezra is also testimony to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, and the value of training disciple-makers in the ways of multiplication.
Ezra is the eldest of 8 children in his family, growing up as idol worshippers. By his college years, he was “a gangster” and already an alcoholic. He married but at one point, things were so bad that his wife’s parents came and took her home again. No matter how he tried, he couldn’t change his life. Then he overheard a preacher talk about how Jesus could meet the need in his home, and it sent Ezra on a search to learn more. The Holy Spirit intervened and for a week, he read the Bible and came to confess his sins and accept the gift of salvation through Christ. When he explained everything to the pastor, the pastor told Ezra, “God has chosen you, so from today you should live as a testimony to him.”
“I got rid of all my bad habits and my life has been changed radically,” Ezra said. He became involved in prayer and healing, and began preaching, even in his home village where he was once rejected and hated. The church leaders he worked with encouraged him to devote himself to full-time ministry but he was reluctant to leave his well-paying job. Finally, through the Lord’s prompting in Isaiah 41, Ezra obeyed.
For 6 years, Ezra worked from his home village, going out to preach the Gospel and pray for people in need. ”I was serving the Lord, but I had many financial difficulties,”Ezrasaid,sohejumpedatthechancetotake Global Disciples’ small business training. “I learned how to start a business, to support my whole family, and how to do ministry more effectively,”he said.
Ezra’s business was to purchase a portable pesticide sprayer. He takes it from village to village and local farmers hire him to spray their fields. “I am able to earn money, and not only that, I am able to make friends. Many farmers have become my friends and I tell themtheGospelandleadsomeofthemtoChrist,”he reported.
“Before starting this business, when I went preaching the Gospel, distributing tracts and Christian literature, people used to take them but there was no response because they thought I was only a religious leader. Now people are coming to me because I have this spraying machine, and I am able to share the Gospel with them for the whole day.”
Some of his business success has been due to com- petitive pricing: “The villagers observed a difference between me and the other people with the same spraying machine who charged more money because they wanted alcohol—they charged 300 rupees per day whereas I only charged 250 rupees a day. I said I’m not drinking any alcohol. The people started listening to the Gospel by seeing my testimony.”
In about 3 years, Ezra’s mobile spraying business, combined with his relational ministry to his customers, helped him plant 2 new churches. In one community, they were even given land to build a church. Ezra is also using his business success to assist others. When his profits meant he could add a second sprayer, he purchased one but gave it to another church planter to start his own business-as-ministry, multiplying the potential for further outreach and new churches among least-reached peoples. Ezra now is planning to use some land he has to develop additional agricultural businesses.
Simple tools—like a pesticide sprayer—and basic training in business have multiplied Ezra’s effectiveness in ministry, providing for his family, and equipping others to be part of God’s work of multiplication. As Global Disciples, we are privileged to be used by God to empower disciple-makers, like Ezra, to start and sustain effective ministry, to train and send out church planters, and to develop leaders who leave a Christ-like example for those they serve.
Our joy is to have you as a partner as we equip a new generation of indigenous Christ-followers to carry out the Great Commission among those who have yet to hear the Good News of Jesus.
To give towards the Joy to the World offering, you can do so online at the link provided below. Or, you can pick up an offering envelope at each entrance into the worship center. Thank you in advance for helping to strengthen the church in Ethiopia.
Online Giving Instructions
1. Click on this link: countylinechurch.org
2. Select the “Give Online” link which will re-direct you to a “push pay” page.
3. Fill out your information and select “Joy to the World” in the “Giving Type” drop down menu.