Facing Challenges in Missional Enterprise
In a recent M3Weekly article, we featured the first part of an interview with Pete1, who together with a team of expats and locals, leads a hospitality business in the developing world among people groups unreached by the gospel of Jesus. This week, we pick up where we left off in our conversation, as Pete shares some challenges their team has faced on their journey. The transcript has been lightly edited for clarity and length.
M3Weekly: Can you share some of the challenges your team has faced as you’ve pursued this approach of missional enterprise?
The Challenge of Busyness
There are always going to be challenges doing business as a missional entrepreneur and those will differ depending on the kind of industry you are in or the type of business you are doing. As a hospitality business, we are in a 24/7 industry, so theoretically you are never off the clock. Hopefully, you can build a good enough team to manage those time requirements and give each other time off. Nevertheless, the “never-off” nature of the work has been a challenge for us over the years. It tends toward being too busy and a high-energy, high-movement environment that’s not always healthy. It’s probably not true of every missional enterprise, but I think that it will be true more often than not.
The Challenge of Corruption
In addition, we’re in a country that still has a lot of corruption issues. Especially as your business gets a bit bigger you tend to get on radar screens, and you have to deal with more and more government issues. They never go away. I think that dealing with corrupt individuals or corrupt officials in the government is an ongoing challenge for many of us in Missional Enterprise. At times, it can feel like those are almost existential threats.
M3Weekly: Can you give us a story from your experiences that would illustrate just how hard it can be to deal with these corruption issues?
Pete: I can give you a quick story. We had a conflict with an official which we eventually had to take to court. Up until the night before the decision, our lawyer was contacting us saying, “The judge is calling me; he’s wondering how much you’re going to pay him.” We said, “We’re not paying a thing.” And the lawyer said, “Then, I think we might lose.” Well, God intervened and the judge ruled in our favor for now. The situation is still ongoing and, even if it works out in our favor in the end, this will probably end up costing us a lot of money in legal fees. That’s just one example of the kind of corrupt things that we face.
M3Weekly: Amid all these challenges, can you share a situation where God has pleasantly surprised you?
Pete: There are so many things that have been incredibly encouraging that it’s hard to pick just one. We’ve had situations at least twice when fires were miraculously put out. We’ve seen people healed in the local villages. We’ve had times when contracts came through completely unexpected, right at the moment when we were a month away from not being able to make payroll.
COVID was especially challenging for us, with business dropping to 3-5% of what it had been and staying that way for two years. Yet, we were able to secure the funding to be able to keep about 50% of our staff. And almost all the people we did not keep decided on their own to go somewhere else; we only had to ask two or three to resign. And now, we’ve even seen a few of the people who had left come back. So, considering all that we faced, we’ve done really well, by God’s grace.
In a future M3 Weekly article, we will share the last part of our interview with Pete, where he shares some advice he and his team would give to new and aspiring missonal entrepreneurs. Stay tuned.
Verse of the Week:
As we reflect this week on the challenges that Jesus promised would come, let’s also take heart as we meditate on his promise to overcome the world!