Once a month, our panel of mentors answer your practical business questions. Send us your questions!
Dear BAM Mentor,
How and when do I go about my spiritual impact plan? Do I write this at the same time as my business plan? Any practical advice about writing an integrated plan?
~ Perplexed Planner
A business plan is intended to help you work through the key issues you will face in running your business and should include all of the factors that have critical importance. It should addresses the design of the product, distribution, manufacture, finance, marketing, purchasing, and capitalization. It should also address how all of these business functions fit in to the work God is doing.
The spiritual impact of the business is one of the key objectives for a BAM business and as such it ought to be integrated in planning right from the beginning. Much like marketing or distribution, you can’t possibly have all the answers when you start to plan, and likely you won’t have many of the right questions either, but as you flesh out your vision of the business you and your partners will see questions that need to be answered which drive you to find answers. And in finding those answers you will discover deeper questions. That’s the process that moves a good plan forward.
Spiritual planning is not that different from other types of planning. You should be praying about your market and finance. You should be praying too about the impact God is calling you to make. You start a marketing plan by understanding the local market – the people, the society, the culture, the economic circumstances and people’s needs. You start a spiritual plan similarly – the people, the society, the culture and the spiritual circumstances and needs of the people around you. What is the spiritual climate, both the Heavenly and the demonic? What are the identified needs and priorities of the local church? What are other Christian workers focused on and praying for? What are the major spiritual dynamics of the society? How open are people to Christians, to Christianity or to foreigners in general? Are you likely to have legal, social or spiritual attacks if you are very open with your faith?
Newcomers can’t answer these questions by themselves. You will need to research with local Christians and church leaders, with other BAMers in the community. By asking lots of questions and listening carefully you can start to see where the kingdom as a whole is headed and what the spiritual challenges are in your location. By looking and praying about this while understanding the collective gifting of the Christians in your business you can start to identify the intersecting point where your gifts and talents and the role of the business can contribute to the needs of the kingdom in your local context.
Spiritual impact comes through prayer and through relationships with people; the people who you work with and know, both inside and outside the company. Life-giving relationships don’t just happen; leaders build an atmosphere – consciously or unconsciously – that encourages relationships that are either positive or negative, constructive or destructive, cooperative or competitive, honest or deceptive. Leaders can intentionally set a tone through example and enforcement that builds a culture that honors God’s heart and that will continue to do so after the current management has changed.
And remember to look for the long-term. Companies outlive managers, or at least they should. Excellent businesses have been around over centuries. If you want your business to be thriving in 2120 you will need a strong foundation from the very beginning.
Finally, when the plan is done, follow it! Excellent plans that aren’t implemented are everywhere and are nothing but a waste of time. Make sure you do what you say you will do and tolerate nothing less from your staff!
More Responses on this topic:
I would be hesitant to create a separate plan that speaks to spiritual impact within my business, rather I would look at how every aspect of my business is structured and operated to provide the space for spiritual impact to occur. It’s my belief that corporate culture and how culture is articulated and modeled daily creates the opportunity for spiritual impact to occur within your organization. The Bible is clear in expressing that the world will know followers of Christ by our fruit – fruit is manifested through actions. When you think of spiritual impact within your business you are really speaking to the culture of the environment and how culture is lived out daily between management, employees, customers and vendors. At the core of culture are the values which drive your organization. […Read more]
Talking about having a Spiritual Impact Plan (SIP) can be a controversial topic. One response that comes back loud and clear when discussing this is, “How can you plan for the work of the Holy Spirit?” There is some truth in this – how can we know what the spiritual outcomes are going to be? We certainly have more control over the inputs. Jesus himself, in Matthew 28:19, told us to do several specific ‘input activities’: go, make disciples, baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and teach.
Before doing any of these things we are surely expected to use our heads and think about how best to do them based on our own and the company’s talents and abilities, our personal and corporate circumstances, the cultural situation we find ourselves in and the overall business goals the company has. Thinking about these things and writing them down is, in essence, a Spiritual Impact Plan. […Read more]
Submit a Question to the mentors panel via the Contact page, select ‘Ask a BAM Mentor – submit question’ as the subject.