What is your passion?
Are you looking for a way to shine gospel light through your unique skills? Do you want to connect with a cross-cultural community in ways you’ve never dreamed possible? Would you like to create jobs for the poor and oppressed?
Consider Serge’s worldwide work in small business start-up. We call it Business for Transformation, establishing businesses in order to support local livelihoods and develop thriving relationships—often in closed-access communities and countries. To engage in Business for Transformation you may be a Business Starter (a.k.a. entrepreneur) or a Business Builder (who builds and strengthens an existing business). That’s good to keep in mind because there are roles for all kinds of people.
Why Business for Transformation?
Business is an expression of God’s grace, love, and Kingdom reign: Just as Adam and Eve were called to cultivate the earth, we believe businesses are a worthy God-given venture in and of themselves. Businesses are part of our culture-making role in the world.
Business can be a salty, light-filled gospel proclamation: Through a small business, the amount of time you spend with members of your local community is monumental. Relationships often trust build. Grace is exhibited. People see the light of Jesus and ask who He is.
Businesses operate in areas closed to traditional Christian missionaries: Serge has a strong emphasis on creating and sustaining businesses in areas closed to traditional Christian outreach work. While we support Business for Transformation in “open” contexts also, we see small business as critical pathway for reaching and supporting networks of people in “closed” countries.
Businesses under the rule of Christ are avenues to bring justice: Under Christ’s leadership, businesses serve the marginalized as they provide employment and break cycles of poverty, which in many cases are a repercussion of systemic injustice.
- Offer needed products or services.
- Are led by people who are engaged with and committed to the local church.
- Exist in secure, semi-secure and open access (to Christian missionaries) countries.
- Strive to be locally profitable and to do good in the local community.
- Generate profits that are reinvested in the business, local workers, and communities.
How the Work Gets Done
We work in teams: Serge prioritizes sending workers as teams. Teams provide workers with a supportive social life, shared prayer and worship, and the shared strength of working cross-culturally together. Whether members of a team are focused on a single business or engaged in multiple ventures, we seek to create teams with shared vision so that each individual’s work is strengthened by others’ gifts and efforts.
When needed, security for our workers is paramount: In regions that are traditionally hostile to Christianity, we take precautions to ensure that our workers are not explicitly or publicly affiliated with Serge. At the same time, these workers are absolutely supported and cared for by Serge as any other worker in the organization.
We provide ample training and support: While not all Serge staff start new businesses, those who do are mentored. A business consultant walks with Business Starters to provide counsel on structure, strategies, hiring, and more. We also have legal counsel ready to be engaged as needed. This means that Business Starters don’t need to have a business plan fully formed before coming to Serge—and you don’t need serious business experience. We will provide the business training and help you create a plan.
Workers are not required to be paid from business proceeds: Serge workers who run businesses are not required to be paid through their businesses and, at this point, no Serge staff are paid through business profits. Rather profits being generated by these businesses are going back into the business to better benefit the local economy. Since Serge workers are currently not relying on business’s profits for their livelihood, they are freed up from the pressure of finances to focus both on developing the business and participating in team life and ministry. This model also gives these workers a wide support network (of both prayer and finances) not tied primarily to the business’s success.