PERSPECTIVE: Open door
by Anthony L. Jordan
I am writing this from the capital city in the largest country in East Asia. It has been my pleasure to lead a group of Oklahoma Baptist business leaders who have conducted business seminars related to values and character in business. During this trip, we have had the joy of sharing that our values, character and leadership principles come from the Bible and our relationship with Jesus Christ.
The economic engine of East Asia, which has the second-largest economy in the world, is running at top speed. The number of entrepreneurs will astound you. This nation is embracing capitalism at a rapid pace. There is a deep hunger to learn from Americans how to be successful in business. More importantly, there is a deep desire by both believers and unbelievers to learn how to apply good character and sound ethical values in business. They do not want to move forward in the corrupt ways of the past.
During these days, we have met a large number of entrepreneurs who are believers. The growth of Christianity in this nation is exponential. What may amaze you is that perhaps the greatest growth is occurring among the upper classes of highly-educated and highly-successful business people. The impact and financial power of Christian business leaders in East Asia is phenomenal. They believe they can be used of God to turn their nation to Christ. These leaders are totally committed to using their businesses as platforms for Gospel purposes.
The Christian business leaders we encountered wanted to learn from our businessmen how to apply their faith to their businesses. They want to use their wealth to advance the Gospel. Our men did an incredible job of exposing a deep commitment of how one can practically apply a Judeo-Christian ethic that will in the end not just produce financial results, but have a powerful impact on the people they employ and the customers they serve.
In every city and every seminar, the people who attended sat for eight hours—sometimes more—and soaked up each testimony of our men like a sponge. In one city, a Buddhist who attended rose to his feet and stated that these business practices are exactly what needs to be learned by leaders of his nation. In another city, a man who is the head of a major business conglomerate and follower of Confucianism stood to thank us for sharing with them the way of Jesus Christ as applied to business. These businessmen understood the high ethical values that are at the core of the businesses of our Christian businessmen from Oklahoma and how these values are superior to any they had heard.
In many cases, this was a seed-planting time. We believe that this kind of missional effort will reap many dividends in the future. One of the men on our trip has business relationships here, and had shared Christ with his business partner on many occasions here in her homeland. When his business partner visited Oklahoma, she told him she had accepted Christ and wanted to be baptized. She was baptized at his church in our state. Another of our businessmen had a delegation from East Asia visit his Oklahoma office. One of the delegates asked him privately if he could email him and ask questions about the Bible. The day before we arrived, an American had the privilege of leading that delegate to faith in Christ, and he attended our seminars.
In the past, when we thought about missions and the opportunity to spread the Gospel, we saw our part as sending others to go for us, which is still a vital part of our strategy. But having mission leaders living in a nation and daily doing the work of the Gospel is essential. We cannot stop our faithful giving through the Cooperative Program. Your faithful giving allows these leaders to be present every day sharing the Gospel and training leaders.
The world has shrunk and the doors into restricted access countries must be approached creatively. The awesome reality is that God can use you to take the Gospel to unreached places and especially to areas where missionaries are not welcomed.
I believe God has opened the door for us through these kinds of trips to provide new avenues of witness. I hope to bring many more leaders to this great nation. I have no doubt that they—you—will be used in remarkable ways to share both smart business practices and the reason we live our lives based on Christian principles. Jesus is Lord and His way is the way of blessing.
Thank you, Oklahoma Baptists, for your heart for the world. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of leading our work. I am of all men most blessed.
Anthony L. Jordan is executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.