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African Avocados

Innovation in cultivation to support church multiplication across Africa.

Using trellises rather than free-standing trees, Paul Simpson’s innovative and proven approach to avocado growing delivers a 700% increase in yield, compared with conventional growing. This gives church planters across Africa the opportunity to use relatively small parcels of land to fund their work. sixteen32 will invest in the land, licence the IP and equip the farms – freeing up productive time for making disciples while also creating employment for church members.

Paul Simpson is a South African disciple maker, with real zeal and passion for Kingdom building and church planting. He has catalysed between more than 250 churches in seven African countries, including Zambia, Tanzania, Angola and Kenya. Crucially, Paul is also a well-respected commercial and entrepreneurial farmer.

Paul has developed this highly productive new model for avocado growing on his own land. Because the trellises maximise direct sunlight, his avocados are very large export-quality fruit – making this the kind of economic activity that governments are keen to encourage.

With these levels of yield, productivity and market demand, a local church-planting family will need only 2-3 hectares of land to produce crops capable of supporting them and their DMM work. Importantly, an orchard this size requires on a few hours of labour per week.

The model is also scalable, so that larger plots of land can be used to generate employment for more church planters and disciples. With a larger farm, like Paul’s own land, a manager can run the farm, setting church planters completely free to focus fully on making disciples.

There also appears to be potential for using the trellis technology to diversify into other crops.

The first stage of sixteen32’s investment will be to fund Paul’s full conversion of his own farm to full trellis-based growing. This requires an investment of around $200,000.

This will facilitate a major increase in the proportion of time Paul can devote to his DMM activities: from currently 40% of his time, to 80% of his time. Conversely, the amount of effort spent on avocado activities will fall from 60% to just 20% of his time.

This is exactly why sixteen32 exists: to achieve an immediate and sustainable impact on Kingdom work.

In time, we want to grow and expand our investment: to support more leaders, employ more people and buy more licences to the technology, so that these opportunities can be shared with churches and church planters outside Paul’s network.

Starting with the initial investment of $200,000, we envisage growing our investment to up to $10 million, across many countries and on a large scale.

This excites us, greatly. By Western standards, the capital requirements are small; the level of return makes it financially sustainable; and the spiritual potential is huge:

  • to underpin DMM
  • to impact communities
  • to bolster the fledgling economic activity that appears when lives are transformed by God, and
  • to establish sustainable churches that can be completely independent of outside funding.

In each of the seven countries where Paul has been so active and effective in planting churches, he faces the same barriers to church growth and multiplication:

  • his local team of DMM leaders are struggling to find sustainable funding for their work
  • where they do have donors, this support often comes with donor demands that clash with local norms, while creating a culture of dependency and vulnerability to donor whims
  • their large local churches include many people who do not have jobs
  • local people may have land, but it is not productive enough to support them
  • they are surrounded by human hunger – both physical and spiritual.

Paul’s Simpson’s new model for avocado growing provides secure, stable, sustainable answers to all these needs. sixteen32 is very excited about this as an ideal investment for supporting DMM.

Asian City School

Building an urban base for church planting, by offering high quality teaching.

A prestigious school offering excellent education for the urban elite, while also acting as a hub for Kingdom growth, in a central city building, owned by sixteen32: this is a concept that solves the economic problems facing city church planters in an increasingly urbanised world. By offering education for wealthy families, church planters can be set free to share the Gospel with everyone in the 21st century city.

In a generation from now, by 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be urbanised. Church planters need to be in cities – but city ministry is extremely expensive. That is why missional models almost exclusively focus on rural outreach. This needs to change.

In a major Asian city in a major Asian country, a local married couple – both teachers – want to devote their lives to church planting and disciple making. This is not possible on teachers’ salaries. So, they have started their own school, aimed at upper income families, to fund their DMM activities.

Wealthy families are sending their children to these teachers, because the education is excellent and the teachers, as Christians, have an excellent and growing reputation for their values, standards and faith.

Already they are starting to sow the Gospel with their existing students, who are taking the good news home to their families, who are becoming involved in Discovery groups.

This is how multiplication happens, but it can happen much faster and it should include people from all parts of the city’s social spectrum.

To that end, having started small, the teachers and their ministry mentors have approached sixteen32 to acquire an identified site and expand their school. They want to create more jobs for Christian teachers, in a school that can become a safe site for church planting activities.

With an investment of $2-3 million, they will be able to triple their school roll and triple their DMM activities. sixteen32 will own their building and the school will pay commercial rent. They will have a base that provides income and ministry opportunities, while sixteen32 have a substantial asset that pays for itself.

This is what sixteen32 is trying to do: achieving Kingdom growth in ways that are sustainable for church planters and DMM catalysers, while protecting the capital of our investors.

Township Retail

Funding Kingdom growth by financing growth of Africa’s leading township retailer.

Southern Africa is experiencing phenomenal disciple making multiplication in its townships. Church planters and disciple makers need sustainable funding so they can respond to such overwhelming openness to the Gospel.

Townships in South Africa range from informal settler camps to increasingly middle class stable and growing communities. In these stable and relatively prosperous townships, Boxer is a market leader in community retailing. As of June 2023, Boxer has a total of 449 stores across South Africa and Eswatini, including 282 big box superstores.

Despite these substantial numbers, Boxer faces a growth constraint. Its focus is retailing. It does not want to be a landlord or property developers. Potential landlords and developers exist, but because of the informal nature of townships, they struggle to find financing for the big box sites that are most profitable for Boxer.

This is the gap sixteen32 can fill, rather uniquely. Rather than be a landlord, property owner or developer ourselves, we can act as financer and first mortgage holder for the property developers. Their finance payments will repay our investment while also providing a funding stream for local church planters and disciple markets. In addition, because of our relationship with Boxer, which is run by believers, there is scope for Boxer to support local mission activity through jobs, services and facility-sharing.

The key to this opportunity is township relationships. Townships are attractive investments, because they combine low property and labour costs, with the spending power of a growing middle class. However, it is virtually impossible for outsiders to enter and operate within townships without a relationship with community leaders. Our Boxer connection provides this relationship. The door to the townships has opened for us and presents an opportunity for excellent returns from an established retail operation, with a risk profile that matches our policies. This is the ideal sixteen32 investment: an exciting match-up for the Kingdom, to support and sustain Disciple Making Movements in South Africa.