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    Business permeates business community with the Gospel

    About 5,000 business and professional men and women attended the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce’s 8th annual Business to Business Expo ’97 on June 11 at the San Diego Convention Center. The theme of one of Southern California’s largest trade shows was “The Key to Success.” Bottom Line Ministries was one of the 400 exhibitors at the Expo this year.

    Bottom Line Ministries is a unique new ministry with a mission to permeate the business and professional community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Their goal is to equip churches, businesses and individuals with evangelism training and materials aimed at reaching career men and women.

    The marketplace ministry was born more than a year ago when Douglas Spada, president of Utili-Tech, Inc. in La Mesa, shared with his pastor, the Rev. Tony Crisp of First Southern Baptist Church of San Diego, about reaching people in the business world for Christ. They prayed and decided to join the Chamber of Commerce and evangelize at the Business to Business Expo held last year. “The ministry started with a step of obedience,” Spada said, “and God did the rest.” Spada and Crisp are co-founders of the ministry; Spada is its president.

    At their first expo last year, they did a take-off on the expo’s theme, “Passport to Eternity.” Christian business leaders asked the attendees if they had their passport. This question opened the door to dynamic interactions concerning their “passport to eternity” — Jesus Christ.

    At the expo this year, Christian business people talked with more than 1,000 men and women at the ministry’s booth, which displayed only a large banner, “The Key to Success,” and a four-foot key with the words, “What is real success?” Using a survey type format as an icebreaker, the people in the booth asked the attendees their definition of success and then shared the real success gospel using their specially-prepared booklet, “What is the Key to Success?” Handouts included the “Key to Success” tract, Chuck Colson’s testimony, and free testimony tapes of Colson and former football coach Joe Gibbs.

    Spada reported that most of the business people they talked with were open and receptive. “Often there would be five or six conversations going on at the same time with people sharing Christ,” he said. “When people responded that success to them was ‘having the things I want, doing the things I want, having inner peace, happiness,’ then we had the opportunity to share with them what real success is — a relationship with Jesus Christ. After talking with one woman about the vanity of (worldly) success, she finally said, ‘so tell me, how do I know God.'”

    The ministry’s name causes people to think about the bottom line in life. “In the business world, after all the revenue and expense, what you have left over is the bottom line,” Spada said. “Draw an analogy to life. After all the frills, what is bottom line to life?”

    This is a ministry which encourages people to carry out the Great Commission in the business community. “Lost people don’t come to church anymore,” Spada said. “We need to go into the marketplace like Jesus did. An important question we ask Christians in the business community is, ‘Jesus confronted the marketplace of His timeÉ2000 years later, what are we doing to reach the marketplace?’ We’re here to show them how to do that and to help pastors mobilize the business men and women in their church to accomplish this goal.”

    Bottom Line Ministries helps churches with evangelism training and resources. Spada said they are designing a training manual to help churches utilize business people in the church and reach out to community through trade shows and other venues. They also provide materials like the “Passport to Eternity,” “What is the Key to Success?” and other tracts to help churches and the Christian business world share the Gospel with their peers in the workplace.

    “Discipleship and follow-up are very important,” Spada said. “We are not trying to take the place of the local church. Our resource for discipling and follow-up for new believers is connecting them with a Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church.”

    Spada sees part of their vision as uniting with other ministries to form an evangelical front to the lost world. People from other ministries joined Bottom Line Ministries in manning the booth at the expo this year. There were three men from the Christian Business Men’s Committee along with leaders of other evangelical ministries: Peter Barnes of Equippers Ministry, Bill McKeever of Mormonism Research Ministry, and Jerry Kuiper of Save A Friend Ministries.

    Kuiper, who interviewed Spada and Crisp on his KPRZ radio show in January, commented about the people he shared Christ with at the expo. “I saw a lot of people who have no concept of eternal successÉ I found the people surprisingly open, they just haven’t been approachedÉ Peers are needed to go into the business world — they can have an influence.”

    Dr. Morris H. Chapman, president and CEO, Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, calls Bottom Line Ministries “a refreshing, ingenious approach to witnessing to business men and women.” Other people have called the ministry “a golden nuggetÉuniqueÉvery provocative!”

    “We would like to take the ministry beyond San Diego County to cities and states across America,” Spada said. Ministry information distributed at national conferences held in San Diego have gone out to other parts of the country. “We want to do more of what we are already doing — encouraging, equipping, providing resources, and most importantly, winning souls. We plan to pick strategic venues such as trade shows to share the ‘Key to Success’ with professionals and teach the churches how to do the same.”

    For more information about the ministry, contact Doug Spada at Bottom Line Ministries, 3835 Avocado Blvd., Suite 260, La Mesa, CA 91941, telephone 660-3336 or 800-455-7903, fax 670-0250. The ministry’s e-mail address, [email protected], reflects their message to the lost world, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?”

    Lorraine Espinosa of Bonita is a freelance writer.

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