The Collaborative Work of Churches and Christian Businesspeople in The Community Transformation Ministry
Community transformation is urgently needed in the country of Myanmar. The purpose of this dissertation is to show how that ministry is achievable when churches and Christian businesspeople work collaboratively. At the same time, proposing community transformation has been a great challenge due to the country’s political regime and its isolation policy toward other nations; however, the current political changes and other changing factors of the country seem to be ushering in a promising and welcome scenario to do community transformation. The following open discussions enlighten the feasible situations of initiating community transformation in Myanmar.
Myanmar is sandwiched between India and China, the two nations with the largest populations and fastest growing economies of the world. Geographically Kachin State touches both of these nations and has formal access to each. The Stilwell Road has been undergoing renovation and will revive trade between these nations in the near future. Kachin State also boasts tremendous natural resources that have the potential to be the source of great blessing for the local community. Used appropriately, these natural resources can provide a basis for business opportunities that can be managed for community transformation. The church, working across denominations, has an obligation to introduce biblically sound principles in the business place for the common good of the community.
Having been left behind other developing nations of the world for centuries and after having extreme economic and political struggles, Myanmar has recently risen to become a more responsible member of the world community by restructuring her political regime through democratic reforms. The neighboring countries, as well as the xxi
United States and the European nations have responded positively to the political reforms of Myanmar. India in particular closely watches every political and economic movement in Myanmar, hoping that her political regime will transition fully toward the democratic benchmark that will result in its being embraced by the world community. The government of Myanmar appears to be offering bright hope for the communities of the nation as it has been moving forward with democratic changes.
The changing conditions mentioned above present unprecedented opportunities for emerging church and community leaders. Christian leaders are encouraged to seize the moment for implementing community transformation. At the same time, there are many potential hindrances that could derail the best intentions. One of the biggest challenges is Platonism, which teaches that the church’s role is restricted to the “sacred” realm, and purpose of business is purely secular. In keeping with this thinking, the church should not be juxtaposed with the business or other “commercial” concerns. Platonism weakens the church’s potential to bring about community transformation. Platonic teaching has become the most difficult obstacle to community transformation; hence, doing community transformation in Myanmar sometimes appears unbiblical and even unrealistic.
It is no surprise that businesspeople are found in every local church. They are a God-given human resource purposely and rightly placed within the church to accomplish kingdom business by working with the church. The church and Christian businesspeople are different in nature, yet they share the common purpose of working together for God’s glory.
Bakke Graduate University, 2012