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Seminars 2007 - Business as Ministry

Business as Ministry:
Exploring the Issues, Patterns, and Challenges

Directed by Steven L. Rundle and C. Neal Johnson

July 16-27, 2007

Seminar Description
The last ten years has seen an explosion of interest in the role of faith in business, and specifically in how business can be both (1) a ministry in itself, and (2) an essential partner for other Christian ministries. By one estimate there are now at least 1,200 organizations that promote, in various ways, the integration of faith and work, not to mention dozens of events held annually around the world that encourage businesspeople to "bring their faith to work." Yet, while many professionals are embracing the idea of business as a calling and a ministry, little scholarship has been produced that addresses the many legal, managerial, missiological, and ethical questions related to the integration of faith and business. Furthermore, many churches and academic institutions continue to undermine this movement by reinforcing the view that the most praiseworthy Christian service entails working directly for the church or other charitable organizations.

The purpose of this seminar is to address those problems by exploring the opportunities and challenges related to "bringing one's faith to work" and stimulating new ideas for research, teaching and preaching. Scholars from the fields of theology, business or ministry/missions, as well as pastors, are encouraged to apply. It is anticipated that while many participants will have done some studying, teaching and/or preaching on this topic, there will be others who are relatively new to this subject who can bring fresh thinking and new analytical skills. In either case, care will be taken to ensure that all participants have proven track records as scholars or have influential roles within academia and/or the church. The two-week program will consist of morning sessions, Monday through Friday, and some afternoon sessions. There will be three guest speakers, and one field trip to a faith-based business. As an end-product, participants will be expected to begin writing, preaching and/or presenting papers to wider audiences within their respective disciplines. One possible venue for publication is a collection of essays on Business as Ministry being edited by the co-directors.

About the Directors
Steven L. Rundle is associate professor of economics at Biola University. He received his B.A. in economics from California State University, Northridge, and his Ph.D. in economics from Claremont Graduate University. His teaching and research interests are focused on the intersection between international economics and world mission. He has authored or coauthored many journal articles and book chapters on this subject,as well as a book - Great Commission Companies: The Emerging Role of Business in Missions (Intervarsity Press, 2003) - that explains how globalization is opening up new opportunities for ministry-minded businesspeople. He also assists or has co-founded several organizations that aim to see Christian-owned businesses prosper in less-developed countries.

C. Neal Johnson has an extensive and unique thirty-year background as an attorney, banker, educator, business consultant and entrepreneur, domestically and internationally.  In addition, he has pastored and church-planted in Italy and Kazakhstan, and served on mission boards for Armenia, Moscow, China and Latin America.  His doctoral dissertation is an in-depth examination of the Marketplace Ministry Movement and its underlying biblical principles. He has applied these principles in his own career as a businessman, as Regional Director for a major marketplace ministry to Christian business owners and chief executive officers (FCCI/Christ@Work), and most recently, as founder of the Center for Marketplace Missions that focuses on Business as Ministry/Mission (BAM).

Seminars & Workshops 2007

For further information contact:
Seminars in Christian Scholarship
Calvin College
1855 Knollcrest Circle SE
Grand Rapids MI 49546-4402
fax 616.526.6682