“Restoration” and “obedience” might not be the first words that spring to mind when thinking about the values that underpin the business/economics Sphere, but as YWAM gathered together in Kansas City and collaborated, using the scriptures as our starting point, these were two of the words that stood out to us.
This process of exploring the values that underpin the “Spheres of Society” and how we as YWAM engage in a new way with the Spheres, was one of the two main themes of the YWAM Together 2016 event held in September. The other, was how we partner to end Bible Poverty; making the Bible accessible to every home.
Although Loren Cunningham first brought the message of the Spheres in the 1970s, it is finding new application as YWAM moves away from seeing itself as an organisation and towards being a global family. The implications of that are that we have a new freedom to convene our wider YWAM family, which includes everyone that shares our vision and values, and is connected relationally to us.
As a result, the five thousand people that came to Kansas City for YWAM Together, were a mix of full-time YWAMers, alumni, and many that are simply journeying with us. Of these, around 300 people participated in the Business and Economics Sphere track. As we went through the week, there was a sense that as a missions movement we needed to repent for where we have seen business as a resource for furthering our agendas, and for not recognising the inherent value and contribution that business makes to furthering the Kingdom. There was also a recognition that as YWAM, we are called to serve and equip the business community to play an active role and fulfil its calling to be a part of discipling the nations. As Lynn Green said, “Nearly seven years ago, we began to receive confirmed prophecies that 10-fold growth is just ahead of us. That is not about raising the profile of YWAM, rather it is because ‘the harvest is ripe and the labourers are few.’ Crossing this threshold to welcome our family members in all the spheres will be part of the fulfilment of that word”.
One of the tools that theBusiness and Economics track used to explore the values that underpin the sphere, was the SourceView app. Hundreds of contributors and many thousands of man hours have gone into the first truly digital bible (as opposed to the Bible simply being put on a digital platform). This revolutionary tool enabled us to begin the process of studying Scripture to discover much more about what the Bible says about each sphere and how they relate to one another.
During the Business and Economics track, we together studied fifty-two key verses highlighted by the app, to draw out some key values (see word cloud above). This is not a definitive list, but was a very thought provoking exercise for us all. It left us wondering what it would look like to go through the process with a group of business practitioners? Or how it would vary if carried out in an African or Asian context? There is much exploring to be done, but there was a very real sense that theology was being “deregulated” and made accessible to everyone, in much the same way that the missions world was deregulated some fifty years ago.
We also broke up into a number of sub-groups focused on areas such as health, agriculture, impact investing, business as mission and even chicken farming! With such a wealth of experience in the room, many contacts were made, and ideas exchanged. However, with such a limited amount of time available, we recognised that we were just scratching the surface. Now we hope and pray that YWAM gatherings everywhere, whether local, national, regional or otherwise will convene those who consider themselves to be part of the family from across all spheres.