Business Conference, March 2009
On March 11-12, 2009, about 1,000 pastors and business leaders received cutting edge teaching from 25 speakers in plenary and nine breakout sessions. In conjunction with the Luis Palau Festival in Guatemala City during the week of March 9, 2009, Dr. John Mulford, RCE Director, organized the first business conference portion of the Festival. Dr. Sergio Matviuk, assistant professor in the Regent School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, presented a breakout session on Regent’s work in Peru. Jason Benedict, RCE strategist, participated in the breakout session on community development in Northern Guatemala.
The teaching encouraged pastors to see their business leaders as God’s extension of the church into the marketplace. Many of the business leaders signed up for further training or activities; others volunteered to assist with a community development project or help develop a business incubator. The conference also blessed the speakers and their organizations, several of whom reported “divine connections” that will enable them to expand the impact of their ministries.
The Luis Palau organization held a festival the week of March 9, 2009 in Guatemala City. The festival addressed large groups of leaders from all sectors of the nation as well as huge mass audiences. For the first time, the festival week included a conference designed to mobilize the business leaders within established churches to impact the marketplace with the whole gospel.
The goal of this pastors and business leaders’ conference was two-fold:
- To change the mindset of pastors and the business leaders in their churches so they understand that they should work cooperatively to impact their communities and the whole nation through business activities in the marketplace.
- To equip business leaders with the tools to act on their changed mindset by providing in-depth explanations and demonstrations of training, coaching, and mentoring materials and programs and signing them up to use the programs that fit their needs.
In order to achieve the goals, we designed a conference with plenary sessions to provide the overall framework and share motivational testimonies, and nine breakout sessions to provide concrete tools and programs.
The Lord brought together a diverse group of outstanding presenters for the business conference. Plenary speakers included Luis Palau, Ken Eldred, entrepreneur, author and philanthropist, Robert Levy, CEO Jamaica Broiler Group, and Dr. Javier Comboni, former finance minister of Bolivia. Of the nine breakout leaders, three were already working in Guatemala, and three others were working in Latin America (Peru, Mexico, El Salvador), so the message had a context and flavor that Guatemalans could identify with.
All nine of the breakout session leaders reported that many people indicated interest in their offerings. Several key leaders–lawyers and business people–signed up to work on the community development project in the Northern part of Guatemala. The speakers from Mexico offered to help the host church develop a business incubator similar to theirs. Two of the speakers scheduled trips back to Guatemala in June to deliver their training, one in coaching and the other in biblical entrepreneurship.
There is a strong demand for this type of conference. Mulford talked with two leaders from El Salvador about doing a similar conference there in 2010.
Such a conference blesses both the attendees and the presenters. The teaching encouraged several pastors who have already been advocating marketplace ministry. It also opened the eyes of other pastors who had not thought about how God could use the business leaders in their congregations to expand the kingdom in the marketplace. The conference motivated many business leaders to sign up for training programs and to get involved in marketplace ministry. The conference also blessed the speakers and their organizations. Several reported “divine connections” that will enable them to expand the impact of their ministries. Many said that they developed strong relationships with their hosts which they expect will lead to future activities in Guatemala, as well as with one another.