Every person in the world spends the majority of time at their place of work.
Utilizing business as a method to effectively love and express the redemption of Christ through fair labor treatment and positive management correlates to increased personal contact with individuals out-of-touch with God’s calling for their life.
Additionally, business is applicable in virtually every part of the world. Many missional correspondents are realizing that impactful change is best initiated at a level that affects an individual’s bottom line.
One leader from Croatia explained that, “Sending us missionaries is good, but we'd prefer that you send us godly businessmen, who can teach us and help us to start businesses and create jobs in a Christ-like way."
An individual will know they are truly cared for when the evidence of love is displayed through how they are treated, and how their lives are changed. Impacting someone’s lifestyle and improving their quality of life is fundamental in tangibly illustrating genuine compassion.
The Lausanne Conference articulated the truth behind the difference that economical advancement can have in an individual’s life by outlining the following statistic, “… the richest 20% of the world’s population own approximately 80% of the world’s wealth; whilst the poorest 20% own approximately 1%. There is a tragic correlation between poverty, disease and unemployment.” It is difficult to explain to a financially disadvantaged fellow how important their life is, when they are faced with the belief that their current station in life determines their future. Employment and empowerment through financially profitable work reinvigorates those whose perspective of life is defined by scarcity.
In the western world and other developed nations, it is easy to focus on, “...personal holiness and individual transformation rather than social holiness and societal transformation.” Missional Enterprise however attempts to shift this concentration to envelop a broader perspective of improvement and growth. Business is, “especially good news for the materially and financially poor of this present world.” Those who look outward and see the breadth of impact business can make and who, “…live by biblical principles of work, stewardship, faithfulness and justice will alleviate most causes of human suffering and poverty.”
More and more missional enterprises are experiencing pushback from secular nations against the immersion of foreign ministries. This is largely based on the inability of a traditional missionary to effectively improve the economic climate of a country. Most missionaries are considered “unemployed” persons who fail to contribute to society at large. Business on the other hand, “is a recognized institution in society that brings credibility to relationships with the community as a whole. Thus business brings opportunities to influence and disciple the wider society through the relationships it brings.” This means that the missional entrepreneur, “becomes ‘salt and light’ to the community (or nation) in the marketplace.”
Business practices impact not only the financial climate of nations, but also the physical environment. Environmental stewardship (social impact bottom line) is practiced by BAM operations through, “the types and locations of products fabricated and services rendered, of production methods, of types of resources used, and of the disposal of waste.” In a time when scarce resources are being depleted faster than ever, it is critical to ensure long-term sustainability through cognitively sensitive environmental decisions.
At the core, human beings are relational creatures. This is true in any culture and in every part of the world. The fantastic mystery of the redeeming love of our Lord and Savior is His willingness to die for our sins, and take our burdens upon himself. As Christians, we know that we are fully loved, and ardently accepted. Many who are lost, and in need of The Good News, do not know these truths and fail to see how their lives could ever be worth the sacrifice of another. BAM offers a unique avenue to demonstrating the importance of each individual. “Business restores dignity through creating employment, through righteous and equal treatment in relationships and through empowerment.”
The truth is, the Lord’s Will is done according to His purpose. He does not need us, but He wants us. His burning desire for us transforms life and produces fruit of the heart. There are many ways to show His mercy, and to spread The Gospel. It is important to realize that changing times require changed tactics and revolutionized perspectives. Business was once seen as purely secular. No longer however, is business defined by this restrictive stereotype. In truth, “Business as mission looks beyond a financial bottom line to a ‘multiple bottom line’; taking into account financial, social, spiritual and environmental returns.”
As defined by the Lausanne Conference, and the practical application of BAM operations thriving throughout the world today, “The real bottom line of business as mission is AMDG - ad maiorem Dei gloriam – for the greater glory of God.”
- GEN Desk Intern
For more information on the Lausanne Movement and BAM visit:
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.
"What We Do." Transformational Ventures. Tranformational Ventures, n.d. Web. 24 July 2015.