The BAM Conference is a great first step to understand the vision and theology of Business as Missions and missional enterprise.
The BAM Conference will bring together hundreds of business professionals and leaders from around the world to learn how to reconcile their faith and work. With the theme “Bridging the Gap”, the three-day event will close the divide between where you are now and where you want to be, and equip you to use your God-given skills to make an impact through business.
Every mission agency wants to start up a new BAM program.
Why and what is Business As Mission (BAM)? What purpose can it serve in advancing the Gospel? Can transformational discipleship be espoused through practices commonly associated with a secular lifestyle?
These questions and more are ruminated in the Church and Christian ministries. What is now being introduced as utilizing business to promote missional evangelization is scrutinized by many and only fully understood by a few.
The Lausanne Occasional Paper No. 59 is the organized effort of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization to effectively explain, and endorse, the worldwide adoption of BAM practices. The paper identifies the misconceptions of BAM implementation, and the foundational principles necessary for effective discipleship through business practices.
At a meeting last summer, a question was raised, “Is it easier to turn a businessman into a Navigator, or a Navigator into a businessman?” The coordinators at the Lausanne Conference encountered the same question, and deduced the following response:
“It is easier to teach ministry to a businessperson than business to a mission person. They focus on good business practice and integrating ministry into the business rather than starting a mission and trying to posture it as a business. If the business thrives, so does ministry to its employees and community, all without foreign funding or donations.”
Business practices receive a bad rap due to their focus on monetary gain. Yet the focus of BAM is not to raise money purely for the dispersal of financial profits to existing Christian organizations. It is true that this is one of the goals, and is often a practice highly prioritized in BAM operations. However, the pursuit of BAM is to utilize the context of business as a powerful tool for evangelizing to the lost.
In the Navigators, the Global Enterprise Network (GEN) has a wide variety of BAM works and describe them as missional enterprises. A missional enterprise (also known as Business for Transformation – B4T) is a small subset of the BAM space but is distinguished by the triple bottom line.
Read more from Larry Sharp about the BAM Movement.
- GEN Desk Intern
For more information on the Lausanne Movement and BAM visit: http://businessasmission.com/library/articles-papers/
Tunehag, Mats, Wayne McGee, and Josie Plummer, eds. "Business Goals And Mission Analysis." Business As Mission (2008): 1-88. Lausane Occasional Paper No. 59. Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. Web. 24 July 2015.
"Business as Mission Research." Eden's Bridge. Eden's Bridge, 27 May 2012. Web. 24 July 2015.
“We were called here to serve.” Many overseas missionaries and domestic missionaries have used this phrase to explain where and why they are serving in a specific region or vocation. As powerful as this phrase is, it can also be a hidden challenge for missional entrepreneurs to confront.
Missional entrepreneurs face the hard test of serving as both business owners and missionaries. So what service comes first, their call to witness or their call to operate as business leaders?
The question of these priorities is a tough, but necessary, topic to address. A fine balance exists in the BAM world as missional entrepreneurs. A business may fail because it is not given proper time and attention. On the other hand, personal relationships may suffer at the expense pursuing a prosperous business.
So what is the answer?
Missional entrepreneurs are blessed with the unique opportunity to influence fellow co-workers and employees. With the guidance of Christ, the workplace is the missions field. Intentionally focusing on business operations, and seeking to serve employees as an involved leader, allows the real Mission to manifest itself into the daily lives of the lost.
A story in Mark L. Russell’s “The Missional Entrepreneur," is told about two small businesses that were both located in the same cultural context, supported by Christian missions, and run by faithful believers. One business excelled, the other failed. What was the difference between the two businesses? One owner became overwhelmed by the need to spread the gospel and run a full-time business, the other intertwined the gospel with daily business operations and devoted his missional efforts to reaching the lost and hurting who came to work at the company.
Discovering the balance between serving in the missions field and running a business is not an easy path to traverse. Have faith in where your heart is being led, and rest in the peace that the One who sent you has gifted you specifically with the desire to meet the needs of His children through the capacity of business. (Romans 8:28)
As you are called to serve as a missional entrepreneur, so His will and glory will be done. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
- GEN Desk Intern