[notice] A fortnightly column by Johannesburg Business Editor, Patrick Kuwana. In today’s Kingdom Business he sketches a surprising scenario in which churches literally become the key to controlling the food industry.[/notice]
In my article 2 weeks ago entitled Kingdom principles key to overcoming economic, financial turmoil I introduced the basic components of the economy and also painted the sad reality that we as the Body of Christ have become the tail instead of being the head in the economic system that is currently being led by the world.
A hot economic topic that has been widely discussed over the last two months is the issue of halaal trade and I want to continue using this as a ‘case study’ to analyse how we could influence the economy for Christ and bring about transformation that will see a Kingdom economy start to emerge.
Bold, Spirit-led action
Personally I don’t believe protest action, petitions, marches or complaining will make much difference. In the Bible I am yet to come across any of these methods being used. What I see in the Bible is cities being turned upside down (Acts 17:6), idol based businesses being shut down and economies being transformed through the bold action of the believers who were on fire with the Holy Spirit. I think we need the same today.
Let’s take a look at 3 simple facts –
- The most precious commodity in any economy is food. Whoever has influence over food has influence over the economy. Please refer back to last week’s article when I talked about Joseph and in particular Genesis 47:13-26.
- Right now the means of food production in this country and in fact in Africa is in the hands of Christian farmers. (I am yet to hear of a large scale Muslim commercial farmer).
- The Christian community makes up 78% of the population and hence we are the major consumers.
With these facts one would almost automatically think that the Christian community should control the food industry and hence the overall economy. But unfortunately that is not the case because we have allowed the distribution and retail sectors (the vital link between producer and consumer) to be under the control of 6% of the population. This 6% who own the distribution and retail sectors have managed to take such huge control that they even determine the prices farmers sell to them and also the price that consumers have to pay – ridiculous isn’t it!! Christians are indeed in economic bondage.
So what is the solution?
Influencing distribution and retail
If the body of Christ produces 90% of the food and also makes up 78% of the consumer population what we need now is to influence the distribution and retail aspect of this value chain.
It is essential that the body of Christ lays down individual, denominational and congregational agendas and focus on the strategic Kingdom agenda because that is the only way this situation will be addressed. We need to come together again as ONE Body as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.
The collective church in this country is one of the biggest urban area prime landowners with several churches on almost every street in our suburbs and townships. Here is a vision that might sound outrageous to the religious mind but exciting to the Kingdom mindset. Just imagine if half of the churches would lay down their own agendas for a bigger Kingdom agenda and converted their facilities into Kingdom retail shopping centres. These Kingdom retail shopping centres would receive produce from Kingdom farmers through Kingdom manufacturers and sell directly to the public, totally bypassing the current oppressive food value chain.
Just imagine top quality meat from a Christian cattle farmer being delivered directly to a Kingdom Butchery (converted church building that is on paid off land and has low overheads) which retails to the public at 40% cheaper than shopping mall based retailers. What if all believers in the area supported this Kingdom butchery and all other people in the area came to purchase from there because of their low meat prices? What if Kingdom butcheries (converted church buildings) could be set up in every suburb to create critical mass of distribution and retail power? Could the body of Christ bring the meat industry under the influence of the Kingdom again and stop us being forced to eat halaal certified meat and fund the halaal certification process? I think so, but it needs a united Kingdom agenda within the body, the implementation of which will need sacrificial leadership to give up ‘ownership’ of assets for the Owner’s sake so that the will of the Owner will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.
Is this too far-fetched a vision?