by Tyler Brown
Should I raise financial support or should I work a job? This was the question I began to ask about two years ago when my family moved out to Utah as missionaries. Since I’m the kind of person that likes to try a little bit of everything, I did both. I raised some support and I started a window cleaning business. Along the way, I began to sense God calling me to wean myself off the financial support and launch my window cleaning business in an effort to work as a missionary with a tent-making type of trade. In this article, I’ll share the story of how God led me to start a business on mission.
My Introduction to Window Cleaning, and to Jesus
One of my first jobs when I started college was washing windows. I worked for a small company at Wrightsville Beach cleaning sand off the windows. It was at this company that I learned how to pull a squeegee across a pane, how to use a towel to dry the solution, and how to leave a streak free shine on the glass. It was also at this job that I didn’t wake up to work half the time, skipped windows on jobs and was a pretty bad employee. I wanted to party all the time and that desire led me to a lifestyle of brokeness. I lost my job, ended up in jail, got kicked out of college, and was on the streets smoking, drinking, and doing whatever I could to survive.
I lived this way for a few years until January of 2012. I was 22 years old and working for a small car wash at this point. After going to a Christian conference with my girlfriend Ellie (my now wife), God changed my life. He set me free from sin and called me into another lifestyle. I went that year to a different college and started to study the Bible. When my wife and I moved to this school we applied for a financial loan so that we could focus on our schooling. But, God had different plans for us. The loan was denied and we found ourselves looking at a bill for the first semester's tuition: thousands of dollars! I felt strongly that God wanted us at this school and was going to provide for us, so we went to work. I applied to a local window cleaning company and got the job. Ellie also had her cosmetology license so she went to work too. Through these jobs, we were able to pay our way through 5 years of school. I graduated from this college in 2017 with a degree, a more developed trade, our first son, a lot of new friends, and debt free.
The Call to Start a Business on Mission
After college, God called my family to Utah. When we landed on the field, I wrestled between two options: raising support and working a job. At first, I started to raise some financial support from our friends and family. We were blown away by God’s provision through generous givers to our ministry and are to this day still supported by some of these folks. At the same time, I started a window cleaning business. I applied for a business license, grabbed a $5 squeegee from home depot and decided to work one day a week. The rest of my time I was devoted to preaching the gospel, making disciples and training others. But the whole time I was conflicted. I didn’t know how much time I should spend on mission and how much time I should spend at work. I didn’t know if I should go raise more support and work less or go work more and raise less support.
I saw my work and my mission in opposition to one another until one day when I was praying and fasting. I was on the mountain praying to God and seeking his wisdom when he showed me that I didn’t have to see the two in opposition, but I could see them as one. That was it! God had given me one calling: to devote myself to the core missionary task of multiplying disciples and churches, and to do so, in this season, with a tent-making type of trade.
I began reflecting on Paul, and Priscilla and Aquila, and Luke, and others who were missionaries by calling and workers by trade. I was instantly fascinated with why Paul worked in some seasons of his ministry and how my wife and I could potentially have a church in our home like Priscilla and Aquila while also working a job. My journey as a Sentrepreneur (Sent entrepreneur) was launched. My financial supporters helped me invest in some professional equipment and I am now working at least 4 days a week on the business while serving a city-wide strategy to see disciples and churches multiplied across our region.
I am learning a ton as I go and plan to write a few more posts explaining some of the benefits to marketplace ministry, and some of the barriers I’m facing along the way. For now, I’m trusting God and am super excited to see how He continues to move here.
In Utah and beyond until there’s #NoPlaceLeft...