A "Tentmaking" Mission

At Traverse we want to be tentmakers like the Apostle Paul. But not in the way you are thinking. The fact that Paul worked as a tentmaker is usually used as a metaphor for missionaries running a business to provide for or supplement their financial needs and build a platform in a new context. That is what “tentmaking” usually means in Christian circles. That’s not what I’m talking about today.  Let’s deconstruct this idiom! There is so much more metaphorical content here to work with!

At Traverse we want to be “tentmakers” like the Apostle Paul. We want to help your church to:

    1. Widen your influence.
      Like in Isaiah 54 we want to help you as a church to “enlarge the place your tent occupies, lengthen the cords and spread the stakes wide”. This is a metaphor for preparing to have a larger influence on the world around you. At Traverse we would love to help you see the potential mission that your church can be involved in. This is mission advocacy.

    2. Get outside of your confort zone.
      We want to help your church members both metaphorically and literally get out into the places where you can no longer depend on western comforts. We are tent-makers because we know there are places the gospel will take you that you will need a good tent with you. This is mission strategy. 

    3. Get Expert advice.
      We have years of experience in missions and have done research on top of that. Metaphorically we know the best ways to make tents that will last and serve you well. So, as you follow God’s leading we hope that you would consider learning with us first. We don’t send people out empty handed, we make sure they have a tent. That’s missions training. 

Idioms are frozen metaphors. When we hear “tentmaker” we generally think only of one financial model used in missions. But that doesn’t have to be the only meaning. Idioms can be broken, and wider meaning found.

The Apostle Paul was a servant of God that we would all do well to emulate. There is more than one metaphorical way to be a “tentmaker”. We do it through Missions Advocacy, Strategy and Training.

Photo by Michael Guite on Unsplash