Anyone who studies world missions will find one of the most significant missions movement of all time was the Moravians. They were known for a deep spirituality (calling Jesus “the Savior”), praying around the clock and for sending many missionaries to foreign nations. However, the Moravians did not find a conflict between their deep spirituality and their fervor for making money to finance the mission of world evangelism. They called it “profit for the Lord”.
Prof. William J. Danker documented their passion for both world missions and business in his book, Profit for the Lord – Economic Activities in Moravian Missions and the Basel Mission Trading Company. The Moravians created an essential and honored role for the craftsman and especially the businessman in its worldwide mission. The latter was able to do more than keep the accounts of mission’s expenses. He was given free scope for what a businessman ultimately needs to do if he is to stay in business – make a profit.
Early on some Moravians urged that all profits could best advance the cause of the Lamb by being directly devoted to missionary activity, but other, more capitalistic, Moravians saw that if some of the profits were ploughed back into the business, they could then multiply financial support for missions in the future.
As well the Moravians felt that demonstration was as important as proclamation in world missions. The Christian businessman practicing “faith in love” in the daily affairs in the market place rather than hidden away in the monastery became a powerful audiovisual aid in their Christian missions. They felt every Christian is a missionary and should witness through their daily vocation. In the context of a Moravian missionary endeavor, a businessman was essentially elevated to the honored place of preacher, teacher and physician in world missions.
Danker says, “While faith and love for the Savior were the fuel, these business enterprises were the rockets that hoisted pioneer Moravian satellites in to the missionary heavens in an age when other Protestants were doing next to nothing.”
In later posts we will learn about the amazing Moravian mission funding engine – The Basil Mission Trading Company.