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South Africa, Gateway to the Continent

By Kent Humphreys - It is Monday evening, and I just boarded my plane to go to Dakar and onto Atlanta (19 hours on one plane) and then to Oklahoma City after nearly two weeks in Africa. As I stood in line I met two of our FCCI members from Colorado, Dan and Deb Lowery, who has been on a mission trip for several weeks. It is a small world! Yesterday afternoon I spent with the Africa Crown leaders and some key pastors from Nigeria as we walked along the beautiful beach in the bay in Cape Town. That morning, I was enjoying their beautiful early fall weather. It is even better than the spring weather that we are having back in Oklahoma. As I walked down the pathway, I was thinking about the huge impact that business leaders here can have all over the continent.

Followers of Jesus, who are business owners and business leaders, are taking upon themselves not only to impact their company, their city, and their nation, but they are going to other nations and encouraging those leaders. These leaders face far more difficulties than we face in the USA. They are undaunted by these challenges as they are learning to rely on Christ. They are eager to learn how to apply the principles of God’s Word into their businesses. Many of them will be starting small groups in their cities in the coming weeks.

During the last ten days I have spoken to two marketplace conferences. One was sponsored by the Navigators in Johannesburg and the second was put on by Crown Companies here in Cape Town. In both places my simple messages were extremely well received, and the participants wanted to apply the concepts back in their workplaces. Crown Companies is our FCCI partnership that we operate with Crown Financial here in Africa, in Latin America and Europe. At this first ever African conference we had leaders from twelve African nations including Egypt. The enthusiasm was very high throughout the three days. The pre-conference tour on the first day was sold out with a bus load full of 52 leaders visiting three different companies. Dick Wynn, formerly of Crown and who has spoken at our FCCI conference, Jerry Forster, who owns a large financial advisory firm, Graham Power, of The Power Companies and who also started the Global Day of Prayer, were also on the platform. The teaching was solidly biblical and very practical. The questions and interaction in the workshops was perhaps the best that I have seen anywhere in the world. The participation by the women and spouses was also are high as I have seen anywhere in the world. Of course the worship and dancing and singing definitely went a step beyond our worship in the USA. And you should have seen our African leader, Mario Denton, trying to dance with the African praise team. I just wish that I had my camera!

This continent has perhaps the greatest reserve of natural resources of any continent in the world. The amount of mineral resources just here in South Africa alone of gold, silver, platinum, and diamonds is amazing. Yet, the entire continent of Africa produces only 1.9 percent of the global GNP. The reason for this disparity is that corruption in the leadership of government and business destroys the productivity and efficiency of commerce. This means that if there is anywhere in the world that our FCCI ministry to business leaders is needed, then it is here in South Africa and on this continent. Transforming the world…thru Christ…One company leader at a time. That is a vision for which these leaders can give their lives. Davidene and I first visited here in 2005, and since then the Crown leaders, Jan and Alet, have taken the Business by the Book seminar across South Africa and now to many other African nations. They have been building a base for this business ministry. Now with Mario leading the marketplace area, we have an opportunity to start groups and build a sold ministry here and up the continent. We need to pray that these efforts will move forward.

Africa will not be transformed by just evangelizing more people and planting more churches. Every nation needs companies to provide real jobs and stable income for their people. They do not need another handout but real models of Kingdom businesses that are run for Christ’s glory. My prayer is that we in FCCI along with many other workplace organizations and mission agencies and churches can serve our brothers and sisters in Africa by helping equip hundreds and thousands of models that others can look to as an example. Graham Power has a large construction company here in South Africa, and he is just one business leader. But, God has used him in a marvelous way to impact this nation and the world. I will tell Graham’s story in my next letter. Thanks for your prayers and support as we as the staff and volunteers of FCCI take this message to business leaders around the globe. May I encourage you to venture outside of our nation this next year to Africa or another continent. Give one week of your life to serve other business leaders, and you will be changed forever. Jesus told us to disciple the nations, and we are obeying His command.

Kent is the longtime leader of Fellowship of Companies for Christ International, a great group that is looking to connect business and ministry together. I encourage you to check out their website by clicking here.

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posted by Justin Forman | 6.30.2009 - 7:11 AM

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