- United Methodists use WhatsApp business group to promote each other’s companies and services and offer other support.
- The platform affords members space to trade and work with people they can trust due to shared Christian values.
- Over 1,200 members from Zimbabwe and mission areas across the world are benefiting from the initiative.
In a bid to promote unity, collaboration and economic empowerment among its members, The United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe has created a dedicated WhatsApp business platform.
The group serves as a virtual meeting space where United Methodist members can connect, collaborate and explore various business opportunities.
The Rev. Vienna Mutezo, Zimbabwe West Conference connectional ministries director, said the initiative offers several benefits.
“The UMC business platform is a way of showcasing businesses and supporting each other as Christians of the same faith and doctrine. It is another way of empowering and encouraging each other to work hard and support our families, churches and the community at large.”
Tendai Kativhu, Harare East District associate communications chairperson, emphasized the importance of supporting each other's businesses and sharing expertise among church members. She said the initiative was inspired by the desire to spread the spirit of oneness and combat poverty within the United Methodist community.
“We realized there were significant opportunities for members to network, share business ideas and support each other,” said Kativhu. “By operating collectively, we can ensure that the church is not poor, and we can leverage our collective strengths.”
The WhatsApp group facilitates connections between members from different churches and locations, creating a dynamic marketplace within the United Methodist community.
“The group allows buyers and sellers to meet, fostering relationships and creating business opportunities,” explained Kativhu. “It's not just limited to members within Zimbabwe but also extends to United Methodists based in the U.K., UAE (United Arab Emirates), U.S. and beyond, who seek services and products from their fellow members back home.”
Willard Maisera, the administrator of the group, highlighted the benefits of joining the platform.
“Members of this group share common beliefs and goals, which foster an environment of trust and transparency,” he said. “When members provide services to their Christian peers, they do so with integrity and fairness, ensuring that no harm is done to one another.”
By joining the group, members can tap into a supportive network that encourages ethical business practices. The platform enables them to advertise their products and services to a targeted audience, generating potential sales leads and expanding their customer base.
Munashe Bhero, a member of Maximum Salvation United Methodist Church, recently installed a solar system at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Harare, Zimbabwe. He said he has secured seven contracts for solar installations since joining The United Methodist Church’s WhatsApp business group.
“It is a useful tool for business, bringing (the) advantage of engaging with fellow UMC members. We need to keep on encouraging and supporting each other,” Bhero said.
Currently, the platform boasts over 1,232 participants, providing members with a vast market to showcase their offerings, Maisera said.
“The group's active nature ensures that transactions are moving smoothly every day, and businesses are growing as a result.”
In addition to its role as a marketplace, the WhatsApp business platform also serves as a valuable source of insights and information.
“The platform benefits from business trends, including information on government regulations and monetary policies,” said Kativhu. “Members share this information to educate and raise awareness within the business community.”
Moving forward, Maisera said, the church’s WhatsApp business group aims to further promote member businesses and explore opportunities for growth and development.
“We envision organizing business expos and meetings to showcase our talents and discuss ways to enhance our businesses within the church,” he said.
Kativhu said these events will serve as catalysts for economic progress and further strengthen the bonds of unity and support within the United Methodist business community.
Mutezo said it is her prayer for the church to one day come up with a United Methodist business directory.
“Jesus Christ said to start in Jerusalem and go beyond,” she said, adding that the same could be true for business-minded church members today. “Buy from Jerusalem (United Methodists) first.”
The United Methodist WhatsApp business group stands as a testament to the church's commitment to its members' economic well-being, unity and the principles of fair trade, said Maisera.
“Together, we flourish, embodying the spirit of thriving as one while uplifting each individual on this meaningful journey," he said.
Muzerengwa is a communicator in the Zimbabwe East Conference.
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