Thursday, November 19, 2009
multiplying talents through t-shirts
When Tabor Mennonite Church asked us whether they could take an offering for a special project in Mthatha, we wanted to find a use for it that would serve multiple purposes. The church gave us money that the kids raised at Vacation Bible School and we used it to buy t-shirts and get the BBS symbol printed on them. These t-shirts went on sale at our conference and graduation this past weekend and were received with joy.
BBS was begun in 1982 as a response to African Initiated Churches' (AIC) feeling that they were not respected by mainline mission-founded churches. Certain AIC leaders identified one of the reasons for this as their own lack of education and formal preparation for ministry. BBS arose as a way to address this issue - to better train AIC leaders for ministry and to give them confidence and credibility in the larger South African church scene. We know that students proudly display their BBS certificates each year and take pride in their school and what they gain there. The introduction of the t-shirts seemed to give them another way to express their loyalty.
We also hope that the shirts will serve as a way to bring in new members. As many people we work with do not read, written promotional materials are not very productive. However, a shirt on someone's body can create interest and begin discussion.
In addition to helping us raise funds for next year's BBS workshops and a future BBS building, the purchase of t-shirts has demonstrated the concept of multiplying resources as in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Instead of simply putting the money into the BBS budget, it has purchased something that will be sold at a profit. In a place with extremely high unemployment, most people rely on social grants to eke out a living. Taking a small portion of the money available to them and investing it can make a huge difference in their standard of living.