What are the Problems and Challenges of this project?
(don’t miss the Solutions below!)
- Sacred/Secular Divide, Missions Education, Discipleship
Spiritual understanding, growth and development is a need in every people group in the world. The basis of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission is knowing God and responding to that knowledge with a heart of worship in every area of life. The Footes have seen how that need is evident in Costa Rica, in the sleepy, comfortable churches of the United States and in the unreached world religions of the Middle and Far East. Those are the three contexts where they will be focusing their efforts.
In Costa Rica, Jordan & Marie’s focus will be on discipleship of the Costa Rican church. Specifically, they will be helping the church to understand its role of using business as a tool for evangelism and discipleship locally. Currently, this is a giant gap in understanding for the Costa Rican church. The sacred/secular divide is as strong, if not stronger, in Costa Rica as it is in the US. Culturally, there is a deeper authority-based system which is grounded in a respect for older generations of a family, but also extends to titled roles. This means that the Pastors of churches are seen to have great authority. Additionally, there is a cultural value of machismo in men. Therefore, that authority is sometimes taken too seriously, given more weight than it ought to have.
Finally, most evangelicals have come from Catholic families and the Catholic church, where all spiritual authority is given to the priest. The result of that mix is typically a church body that sees its only role as coming to church where the pastor fulfills his only role of teaching the people. This extends to some pastors being offended if lay leaders teach, or consider themselves “ministers of the gospel.” Some will say, “No, the pastor’s role is to feed the flock. You are stepping on his toes if you encroach on his territory.” Understandably that goes strongly against the biblical teaching of the priesthood of all believers and the mission of B4T (business for transformation) which is to bring the gospel and its transformational power out of the church walls into the marketplace, etc.
So part of the Footes’ work and the work of Café Feliz is to demonstrate, in gracious and loving ways, to the local church how the work of the gospel can be done in the marketplace by everyone, not just the clergy or those who serve in full-time ministry. It is also the mission of Café Feliz to send equipped workers/missionaries into the Middle and Far East to develop relationships that lead to evangelism and discipleship within the context of a business relationship.
Finally, the Footes will be doing this work in a transparent way before their partners and stakeholders in the U.S., so that they can be influenced to pursue the breakdown of the sacred/secular divide in the North American church culture. Jordan & Marie’s desire is to encourage and disciple the American church through action and education so that their “audience” can be part of the transforming work of God on the front lines of their own businesses, places of work and neighborhoods. The Footes believe that church members should not be limited to simply inviting their neighbors and co-workers to church so that their pastors can do the work of evangelism and discipleship. This is valuable, but is not the only one way of sharing the love of Christ with their unsaved friends and family. The Footes seek to model a life that is willing and empowered to have spiritual conversations directly with their “neighbors,” regardless of who they are, inside and outside the walls of the local American church.
2. Legitimate Mobilization Platform into the Middle and Far East
Accessing the unreached world is a God-sized problem and the statistics can be discouraging and overwhelming at times. However, the Footes are encouraged to see the many, creative access points to these regions. Costa Ricans need to have realistic, legitimate methods to gain entry into and establish a long-term presence within these regions. Some current methods, such as tourism and student visas, provide temporary status, but can also clearly identify an expat as a missionary and provide only short-term residency.
Another challenge to long-term sustainability of mobilizing global workers is having a platform for consistent financial provision. As is prevalent in much of the Christian missions world, maintaining financial support is a significant challenge, particularly once the worker is “out of sight, out of mind.” Finally, because of the volatility of many of the countries in the Middle and Far East, it is valuable to have long-term residency and financially sustainable structure that can be mobile, agile and flexible, should a worker be required to move without much notice. Café Feliz will work with the cross-cultural workers on a case-by-case basis to discern the best route for residency status and business visas, etc.
Proposed Solutions and Projects
- Sacred/Secular Divide, Discipleship & Missions Education
The specific programs of Café Feliz are not created yet, but Jordan & Marie are partnering with several individuals and organizations in Costa Rica who are already working actively in the Costa Rican church communities in discipleship and missions education. Jordan & Marie’s is to come alongside their efforts and to support them creatively through their business discipleship and training model. Also, many of these are pushing back the barriers of the sacred/secular divide by promoting Business as Missions and discipling in such a way to empower the church to reach its community and the world.
•Templo Bíblico Bautista de Barva – Jordan & Marie’s initial work is in supporting Isaac Santamaría and Roberto Matarrita in their efforts to grow a missions program in their church. Several of these church members are prime candidates to do business as missions in a context outside of Costa Rica.
•International Teams (IT) is a mission organization with a significant presence in Costa Rica. Jordan & Marie are working with several at their Costa Rican headquarters to help to disciple and train future missionaries who are being sent to the Middle and Far East. As Café Feliz moves into a place of seeking individuals to go for the purpose of selling coffee to the Middle and Far East, they will be working with IT to have them trained and properly prepared for cross-cultural business endeavors. Their partners at IT will have an ongoing relationship with these individuals, to support them on the field as missionaries, as Café Feliz has an ongoing relationship with them, discipling them from a biblical business perspective.
•There are several other individuals and organizations that we cannot list here either because of the nature and location of their work, or other considerations.
•Though writing and video Jordan & Marie personally and Café Feliz corporately will be sharing and educating the American church about B4T and encouraging them to get involved. The initial involvement can be through purchasing coffee though Club Café. The Footes anticipate that their business contacts in the U.S. church can participate in the “sending” process of their Costa Rican partners who go to the Middle & Far East by supporting this financially, praying with and for them, and, when needed, matching them with stateside Christian business men & women for ongoing business mentoring and consulting. This is a way to help business people who feel like Jordan used to feel in the church. They will now have an avenue to use their business skills to have an impact on the Global Kingdom of God in a foreign field. The Footes see these partnerships as having endless possibilities.
•An additional program that is already in the works in a business internship program where individuals can come to Costa Rica for a hands on experience in a B4T business. This program will be developed in more detail once the Footes are re-established in Costa Rica in 2017.
•Finally, Café Feliz will be actively involved in service to their partner churches to provide a B4T experience for those who come on short-term mission trips. They are not yet set up to handle these teams today. However, they can easily create a one-day experience where short-term teams and other visitors to Costa Rica can visit the Café Feliz operations, as well as the coffee farms, and hear about how business and missions are connected in real ways beginning summer 2018.
2. Legitimate Mobilization Platform into the Middle and Far East
•Costa Rican Missions Mobilization. This is the long-term strategy and is the main task for which the Footes were invited to serve in Costa Rica. They will, over the course of time, be able to hire individuals who can go as employees to the Middle and Far East, or to partner, franchise or be in some type of long-term relationship with Christians who are being sent to the unreached world. All of these methods provide the long-term residency and financial sustainability that is needed to influence and reach the unreached. The details will be fluid during the early phases of the business (and unique in each country and cultural context), but will start to solidify as individuals and countries are identified and targeted. To date Café Feliz has Costa Rican connections working or being sent to numerous areas around the world working with several different world religious groups.
One of the ways Jordan & Marie are actively living a life of impact before their U.S. community is by a LifeStream page on their family website, http://footetraffic.net, where their stories of living an intentional and public life of worship are published via videos and articles for their partners to follow. To date, the website has had over 308,000 hits since it first went live. Marie is also extremely active on social media and has been deeply involved in evangelizing and discipling, even counseling, many women for the past few years. Even though they are confident that the Lord is calling them back to Costa Rica at this time, they are grateful to be missionaries in an era in which staying connected with people around the world through technology is simple, accessible and cost-effective.