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How They Got Started: 3 Different Routes into Business as Mission

AND THE AWARD GOES TO...

Our goal is to provide the BAM Community with the best content and resources available. As we wrap up the spring and head into summer we are highlighting various articles and resources which have stood out above the rest. Below is the “Most Popular Post” for the summer of 2016.

Please enjoy and thanks for following!

From Dream to Island Reality: Samantha

At the tender age of nine, rather than dreaming of make-believe castles and glass slippers, Samantha dreamed about living her life on a certain archipelago in Asia. After college Samantha spent a year in China teaching English then returned to the States to get her Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Upon graduating, she taught English for several years at high school level. Then one day God began stirring that dream from her childhood of living in Asia. After months of seeking wise counsel and pushing on doors, a plan began to take shape. True to His word, God did “more than she could ask or imagine”, doors opened for her to join an organisation that fit her youthfulness and passion. She raised long-term support, and took a survey trip. Within a short time Samantha had moved and begun studying the local language on a main island of the archipelago. She was open to God’s provision, setting no expectations on how long she would remain long-term in the country.

Three months into her language studies Samantha received a phone call from a certain small business ministering out in the islands asking if she would join them in their endeavor. Samantha had connected with this business months prior during her survey trip, hoping that God would open the door for her to join their business since their vision was the same as hers for the islands. With her teaching skills and a passion for the Islands, she immediately said, “Yes!” – believing she could do anything God called her to, including small business. Read more

13 BAMers Share: Why Engaging in Missional Business is Important for Southeast Asia

We ask BAM practitioners – both nationals and expats – all over Southeast Asia to share why they think missional business is vital for their nation, and why they are doing what they are doing. Here is what they told us:

 

Missional Business in Myanmar is very important because business opens so many doors where traditional missions doesn’t. I’ve shared my faith with non-believers more since doing business than when I was teaching youth ministry to local pastors. I think when you work in a country like Myanmar where there is no middle class there are huge opportunities for poverty alleviation through business and also engaging the rich in business as well. I’ve had amazing open opportunities to talk with the wealthy, government, and poor communities. Missional Business is so important for the gospel in a country like Myanmar.

Ryan – from the USA, doing business in Myanmar

 

Engaging in “Missional Businesses” in Myanmar is very needed for both aspects: mission and business. We have had social mission strategies before. But the fusion of business and mission is a new effective way to reach people in the workplace.

Sang Sang – from Myanmar, doing business in Myanmar Read more

The Opportunities and Challenges for BAM In and From China

China’s economic growth of eight to ten percent annually for the last twenty years, creates an ideal commercial environment for business as mission within China. There are many opportunities for doing business and large amounts of foreign investment available. At the same time, as one BAM practitioner in China has noted, “China has one of the largest unreached populations in the world, business is a significant channel for Christians to effectively impact countless people and help set them free from sin.”

In the BAM Global Think Tank Report the opportunities and challenges of doing business as mission both in and from China are shared. These observations from surveys, case studies and a SWOT analysis confirm great potential for BAM in and from China. However, the Chinese mission movement is still growing into maturity and experience of business as mission is very new. The Chinese church both inside mainland China and overseas has a long way to go to fully understand and embrace the strategy of business as mission. They must learn from their own difficult experiences and also connect with the wider BAM movement in order to be more effective for the future. Read more

BAM Job Opportunities in Nepal and Southeast Asia

BAM Company Jobs

Software Developer / Business Partner – IT Company in Nepal

We are looking for a software developer / business partner to join a company with 4 current shareholders. We produce a product that manages pharmaceutical supply chains in developing countries. We have an office in Kathmandu with about 10 Nepali staff, 5 of whom are regularly coding. Our sister company has an office in New Zealand, and we also have partners in the UK and Australia. The job would involve some software development work yourself, but with a greater focus on training, mentoring and managing the work of other staff.

Download detailed job description

Account Executive – Web Essentials in Cambodia

Passionate about developing software and developing people? We are looking for an experienced Account Executive to join our Switzerland or Phnom Penh based team. You will play an integral role in growing our sales within Switzerland, Germany and Europe and opening new markets for our services. We are pioneering fair trade software development and we are looking for like-minded people to come onboard. We know you will build life-long friendships and be a part of a rewarding vision to build up people to live out their God-given capacity within a fun and challenging environment. 

Link to detailed job description

Read more

Business as Mission in Turkey: Opportunities and Challenges

Turkey is a country that defies easy classification. A famous (and cynical) British diplomat long ago said “Turkey is a country of enormous as yet unfulfilled potential. It always has been. It always will be.” As the country lurches toward authoritarianism this seem depressingly accurate. But while the challenges that underlie these observations call for sober reflection, they are also reminders of the need for BAM and for a clear and credible witness for the Kingdom in this remarkable and complex society.

Turkey is now the world’s 16th or 17th largest economy. It has grown enormously in the last 20 years and its trade with Europe, Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East are all significant. Turkey manufactures white goods, automobiles, textiles, glass and F16 engines and fighter jets. Turkish construction companies dominate throughout the Caucuses and Middle East and European trade shows now feature many Turkish brands and joint ventures. 

Turks generally view their country as an emerging powerhouse and have designed regulations accordingly. They want foreign investment, but they want it on their terms. The regulations for foreign investment here are designed around multi-million euro investments and intentionally build barriers for small scale foreign companies – see the Invest in Turkey website for the official guide for foreign investors. This is a great challenge for BAM by foreigners. Small scale startups are possible but difficult. Unfortunately, the current political and economic climate also makes large scale investments much more risky than they were just two years ago. So proceed with caution. Read more

Muslim Village Transformed Through Prayer, Business People and Owls

It was warm and humid. One may say almost too hot for a Swede. But the story that emerged was more than cool.

I listened to the mayor of a small Muslim village. We sat outside his house, drank tea and nibbled on fruit, nuts and sweets. He was enthusiastic and composed. As a devout Muslim he had come to appreciate Christian business people in a way that surprised him. There is a long and sometimes violent history of severe distrust and tension between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia.

The village used to be quite poor. Rats ate 40 percent of the crops every year. These creatures also spread disease. Collaboration for irrigation was non-existent. There was a lack of entrepreneurial spirit and seemingly no-one thought about praying for a difference.

But some good friends and colleagues of mine visited the mayor and his village. They are Christian business people, they wanted to help and they wanted to build bridges across a religious divide.

At first the mayor declined. Why did business people come, and not charity workers or government people? On top of that, these people were Christians – not Muslims. But one Christian businesswoman suggested that they at least could pray. She said that prayers make a difference; yes God can make a difference. It was agreed. Something happened and it became a turning point. The mayor invited them to come back and they did. Read more

Growing a Kingdom-Minded Business Community in Indonesia

Kingdom Business Community (KBC) is a network for Christian business people in Indonesia. Describing itself as a marketplace ministry movement with ‘business as mission’ concerns, it is one of the largest networks of mission-focused business people in the world.

KBC began in 2005 with six business friends from the same church who dreamed of catalyzing transformation on a national level through the practice of business. Ten years later, KBC has trained thousands of business people and hosts 30 training camps each year in five different regions around the country.

Kingdom Business Community adalah pelayanan marketplace di Indonesia yang aktif dan telah memiliki lebih dari 5.500 alumni beserta jaringannya dan memfokuskan pada pertumbuhan pemimpin usaha (GLORY LEADERS) serta membangun perusahaan yang didorong oleh tujuan yang baik.

KBC didirikan pada 14 Januari 2005, dipelopori oleh 10 pasang suami istri yang pada saat itu sedang menangani acara “Business As Mission” di Jakarta Sejak itu KBC terus berkembang hingga 6 kota (Jakarta, Surabaya, Semarang, Bali, Bandung dan Jogyakarta) dengan lebih dari 200 fasilitator dan mentor yang mendukung secara penuh kegerakan KBC.

Read more

The Final Frontier? BAM in Mongolia

Mongolia is seen as the “Final Frontier” for many people. It stirs up images of the horse herds that still run free across her open steppes. From the harsh arid climate of the Gobi Desert in the south, to the pristine lakes in the frozen north that border Russia’s Siberia, the climate has forged a hardy, resilient people who work hard, play hard, and practice a survivalist hospitality.

Into this climate, Mongolia in 1990 opened her borders to doing business and trade with the rest of the world. Freedom of religion was written into her new constitution. A free market economy emerged. People were asking for the tools to cope with a new and growing economy. From 2000 to 2012, Mongolia’s resource-rich countryside has fueled what is now reported to be one of the fastest growing economies of Asia.

Into this setting business as mission entrepreneurs are finding opportunities to work with Mongolians to help them build their country on the solid foundations of faith and the hope that does not disappoint. BAM workers seek to close the gap between rich and poor; to disciple Mongolia’s young population with values which will encourage them not to buy into the despotism of capitalism, but that will build a sustainable future.

Introduction to Mongolia

Mongolia is the little known country with the big influence. It became most well-known in history in the 1200s because of Genghis Khan (Chingis, as pronounced by most Mongolians). He was the ruler who united the tribes and conquered much of Asia, ruling the largest empire the world has ever known. His grandson Kublai Khan met Marco Polo and the West was introduced to this powerful nation.

Later the Chinese would take back not only their country from the Mongols, but Mongolia as well. In the 1920s Russia helped liberate Mongolia from Chinese rule. For the next 70 years Mongolia and the Soviet Union had strong political, economic and social ties. Read more

Navigating Legal and Tax Challenges in Southeast Asia

We interviewed the founders of a group of retail companies that started in 1999 and now operate in three countries across Southeast Asia. We asked them what their greatest legal and tax challenges have been and how they have overcome them.

One of our first and biggest challenges was figuring out how to set up and operate our businesses in Vietnam. Although the law has changed since we first started out, at the time it wasn’t possible for a retail business to be owned by a foreigner. We had a production company there which we fully owned, but for the retail side we had to be creative. We followed a well-used route at the time that involved setting up an agreement with a trusted Vietnamese partner to establish the company, with written contracts to back it up. Although this route was legal, it wasn’t clear cut and wasn’t always easy to know how to navigate the situation.

Each time we have registered a new company in one of the countries we’ve hired a local law firm or business consulting firm to help us go through the business registration process. This has been essential because where we operate, this is not something you want to do on your own. We use a lawyer and we check with consultants locally about the process. We got our Vietnam registration completed in six months, whereas others have taken years. Getting that expert input is essential – if you don’t have everything right, it can really come back to bite you.

In Vietnam it is difficult to process anything without paying extra ‘fees’. We don’t pay bribes (i.e. offering money to receive a service we are not entitled to), but we do occasionally get extorted for money (i.e. being forced to pay extra for a service we are entitled to). Although we do try and resist being extorted, it does happen from time to time. Read more

After the Tsunami: Business on the Edge

Little did James know just how strategically God had placed him fourteen years prior to the adversity that rocked multiple countries and millions of people when the 2004 tsunami hit Asia. As the ocean bulldozed its way through the coastline, sparing nothing in its path, so came a flood of both urgent and long-term needs. The physical destruction was almost incomprehensible, with hundreds of thousands of homes leveled and those that weren’t completely destroyed sustaining major water damage.

The area James lived in had long experienced government versus rebel conflict. Trust levels were at a low between people groups. Most things had ground to a complete halt as a result of years of unrest. The infrastructure was almost nonexistent, and what little infrastructure was there was almost completely dysfunctional. The civil unrest had already led to massive financial devastation. The additional destruction of the tsunami made for a completely corrupt situation where everyone grabbed for whatever money they could get their hands on.

For Such a Time as This

After the tsunami’s destruction of homes, multitudes lived in refugee camps which were a hotbed for the advancement of political unrest or conflict. The circumstances were ripe for anything but a successful BAM venture! Except that James and his wife and team knew they were called ‘for such a time as this’ and the Holy Spirit was leading them. James also had some ‘street smarts’ when it came to working in his location, which helped him move farther, faster. They hadn’t seen it coming, but along with the devastation of the tsunami came opportunities to start businesses that could help rebuild. Read more