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Business is on Mission Around the Globe

by João Mordomo

Recently, a friend of mine said, “It’ll be great when there are some BAM success stories to talk about.” I couldn’t conceal the shocked look in my eyes as I began to open up his eyes to the reality — yes, reality! — of current BAM successes. But it would have been much easier if I could have simply handed him a book and said, “Read this!” Or pointed him to a short, powerful video series on business and wealth creation. Or recommended some deeply thoughtful and biblical reports about how wealth creation is a key tool in bringing Gospel transformation to the poorest and least-reached people and peoples of the world. Or explained how an entire BAM ecosystem is developing in one of the largest countries in the world!

Now I can. (And so can you.) Over the past two years, the Lausanne Business as Mission Issue Network, together with BAM Global, has been busy producing and providing an assortment of resources related to BAM and wealth creation that are now available in multiple formats and languages. I want to share about a few of them.

Let’s start with a book called BAM Global Movement: Business as Mission Concepts & Stories, written by Gea Gort and Mats Tunehag. Gort is an author, journalist and missiologist who researches, speaks and writes about subjects such as BAM. Tunehag is a global ambassador for business as mission, a co-founder of BAM Global, and a former Lausanne Catalyst. Together they have done a tremendous service by assembling case studies that reflect all sorts of good and God-honoring BAM diversity, be it geographical, denominational, strategic, or in the sheer variety and scope of business activities and arenas. From Europe to Africa to Asia to the Americas, Gort and Tunehag take the reader on a global journey, stopping in on BAM practitioners and BAM activities that are bringing spiritual, economic, social and even environmental transformation to people and communities all over the world.

Throughout the journey Gort and Tunehag weave in some robust biblical underpinnings and teach BAM best practices (and even a few “not-so-best” ones!). They and their collaborators help the reader understand the importance of entrepreneurship and investing and incubating and accelerating, and that while BAM is not a one-size-fits-all solution, it nonetheless is a very real and relevant part of God’s plan to be glorified by engaging His whole Body — the “laity” as much or even more than the “clergy” —  to tackle and transform issues of poverty and justice and the lack of Gospel access. This book is an excellent introduction to BAM and useful both for personal benefit as well as teaching in the classroom.

And speaking of classrooms, Lausanne has launched an exciting initiative called the Lausanne Global Classroom. One of the first ‘Classrooms’ is on Wealth Creation, based on the Consultation on Wealth Creation for Holistic Transformation, which took place in March of 2017, with about 30 participants from 20 nations, primarily from the business world, and also from church, missions and academia.

Over one billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty since 1990 — more people in a shorter amount of time than ever before in history — due largely to job and wealth creation through small and medium sized businesses. We understand wealth creation to be a holy calling, a God-given gift, commended in the Bible, and a powerful means to eradicate poverty and transform lives, communities, societies and nations for the glory of God. The Wealth Creation Global Classroom is evidence and fruit of this belief. It consists of 13 video lessons, totalling about 45 minutes, based on teaching and interviews with the specialists who participated in the consultation.

Additional fruit from the Wealth Creation Consultation includes seven ground-breaking reports — including Wealth Creation and Justice, Wealth Creation and the Poor, and Wealth Creation and the Stewardship of Creation. You can also read the one page Wealth Creation Manifesto which: calls the church to embrace wealth creation as central to our mission of holistic transformation of peoples and societies; calls for fresh, ongoing efforts to equip and launch wealth creators to that end; and calls wealth creators to persevere and diligently use their God-given gifts to serve God and people.

Brazil is an excellent case in point, an example of what can happen when Christian business professionals begin to understand business as a calling and wealth creation as a godly gift. The BAM vision has been promoted in numerous ways in Brazil since 2001, and then plodded along for nearly 15 years. If we use the “diffusion of innovation” theory as our guide, BAM was solidly in the first phase (“innovators”) of the inverted bell curve, slowly becoming discovered and embraced by key leaders in business, education, mission agencies, and churches, but not by the church at large.

However, in the past three years, we’ve seen a fairly quick uptick in interest, acceptance and utilization of BAM. In other words, it seems that BAM is now entering the second phase (“early adopters”) of innovation theory. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest this. So much, in fact, that a seminal BAM ecosystem is now clearly visible in Brazil:

From the “B” (of BAM) perspective, we can find events to encourage Kingdom and BAM entrepreneurship (similar to “startup weekends”), as well as recently founded BAM incubators, accelerators, and investment funds. There is a growing number of professional services — for example, legal and accounting — becoming available that have a Kingdom mindset and desire to serve BAM goals. There are dozens of Christian-owned businesses that are intentionally moving in the direction of becoming BAM businesses. There are at least two universities that are actively supporting Kingdom business and BAM projects.

From the historical “M” community side, there is a rapidly growing number of churches and mission agencies — as well as the Brazilian Association of Cross-Cultural Missions itself — that are embracing BAM and training and equipping BAM practitioners.

After many years of planting seeds, BAM Brasil was born – an extension of the BAM Global and Lausanne BAM networks – and the first-ever ‘congress’, the Congresso BAM Brasil took place in Maringá, Brazil from November 1st to 4th, 2018. With around 300 people present from all regions of Brazil, and representing four key spheres of interest (business, academia, mission agencies and churches), the congress was by all measures a resounding success. In the wake of the congress, BAM Brasil continues to work to invigorate the BAM movement in and from Brazil. 

If you are feeling envious of those who participated in the BAM Congress in Brazil a few months ago, I’ve got good news for you. The second Business as Mission Global Congress is scheduled to take place in Thailand from 29 April to 3 May, 2020. Mark your calendars!

In the words of Mike Baer, one of the early leaders in the modern Business as Mission movement, “We exist to support church planting among the unreached people groups of the 10/40 Window through the seamless integration of business as mission.” Today — two decades into a movement that truly has become global — we see that BAM is capable of being more than that, but it is never less than that. May God continue to bless and use business for the sake of His great name, in all areas of every society, and among all peoples of the world.

Joao Bio Pic 100Dr. João Mordomo is co-founder and president of CCI-Brasil, a global church planting movement among unreached peoples. João serves variously as owner, managing director and board member of several BAM companies, and serves in several BAM leadership roles including at COMIBAM, BAM Global and Lausanne.

 

 

Cover - BAM Global Movement“Thankfully, there are now many authors who have written on the theology of business and its importance in God’s kingdom. However, the variety of examples and stories in this book truly bring it to life in a way that is clear and compelling. It is time that God’s purpose for business becomes a global movement!” Bonnie P. Wurzbacher, Former Senior Vice President, The Coca-Cola Company, Chief Resource Development Officer, World Vision International

“This is BAM at its best, TED Talk style. Topics are discussed briefly and then followed by practical cases studies that most any church or organization can identify with. These stories show that there is not only one way of doing BAM or running one kind of BAM business. If you read the book just for the case studies, it would be worth the price. If anyone still questions the importance of business as mission in reaching the world and value of integrating faith and work, read this book!”Patrick Lai, OPEN Network

 

 

The Spirituality of Professional Skills and Business

AND THE AWARD GOES TO...

Our goal is to provide the BAM Community with great content and resources. As we start the new year, we are highlighting articles which have stood out in the past 6 months.

Below is the “Most Popular Post” for July to December 2018.

Please enjoy and thanks for following!

by Peter Shaukat

This short and surely inadequate article on the place of professional and business skills in spirituality and mission is essentially a plea for Christ-followers to demonstrate and proclaim a wholistic gospel and to pursue authentic whole-life discipleship. In many respects, it reflects one element of my own pilgrimage in mission, which might be described as a long pursuit of an answer to the question: “How do we integrate our Christian faith with our vocational talents and training in a life committed to the global mission enterprise of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?”

My journey thus far is still for me most memorably crystallized when, as a young engineer-in-training experiencing the breakout of Jesus in my personal world, I approached a mission agency leader with the question: “What should I do to serve Christ globally?” The answer I received then was to go to seminary for four years and then come back and see him. His answer may just possibly (but probably quite remotely) have had to do with his perception that perhaps I had certain “ministry gifts” needing development. However, with the passage of more than four decades since that conversation, I am inclined to believe that it had more to do with a pervasive, dichotomous, sacred-secular worldview rooted in Greek Platonic (and Buddhist/Hindu) thought than with the biblical, integrated notions of shalom, holiness, and service. Since then, by God’s grace, through observing the modeling of Christ’s virtues in the lives of hundreds of fellow-travelers, imbibing five decades of studying Scripture on a personal devotional level, embracing divinely appointed circumstances, and following personally chosen pathways on five continents, some progress in answering that question first posed in the 1970s is slowly being made.  Read more

Multiplication: Why the BAM Movement Needs You!

by Jo Plummer

December 2018 marks four full years of the new Business as Mission website and the launch of The BAM Review blog and today marks the 100th Edition of The BAM Review email, that has been going out to our subscriber list twice a month since January 2015!

With these milestones to celebrate and the end of another year approaching, I thought I would take some time to reflect on Business as Mission – read Part 1 here

Part 2

Aha Moments

I remember reading an email from a businessman a few years ago in response to a previous suggestion by Mats that the ‘as mission’ in business as mission could eventually be dropped. This person had recently connected with the global BAM community and was newly inspired by the ‘as mission’, and thus he strongly lamented the suggestion that it could be abandoned in the future. ‘Business as mission’ could never, in his view, be condensed back down to mere ‘business’ because for him that meant old ways of thinking about his vocation that had nothing to do with his faith or God’s kingdom work.  Read more

Reflections on Business as Mission: For the 100th Edition of The BAM Review

by Jo Plummer

December 2018 marks four full years of the new Business as Mission website and the launch of The BAM Review blog. We have now been posting one or two BAM blogs weekly for almost 208 weeks, and with the addition of a few posts from our old website catalogue, we have now posted a total of 461 blogs on this site!

In addition, Tuesday 18th December will mark the 100th Edition of The BAM Review email, that has been going out to our subscriber list twice a month since January 2015!

With these milestones to celebrate and the end of another year approaching, I thought I would take some time to reflect on Business as Mission with an additional response to the article by Mats Tunehag ‘Why We Need the Term Business as Mission, But Maybe Not Forever!’ – continuing on from Ross O’Brien’s response of last week.

I will round out this two-part article with the suggestion that the business as mission movement is like the bricks and mortar in a wall – and that we will need more of both in order to grow to full strength in the future.  Read more

Still Hot? The Hottest Issues in Business as Mission Revisited

Six years ago, as part of the work of the BAM Think Tank and the lead in to the 2013 BAM Global Congress, we surveyed 200 people engaged with business as mission in some way and asked them the question: ‘What is the hottest topic in the BAM movement today?’ Or in other words, what is the one question they would most like to see answered in business as mission?

The wide variety of responses were grouped into major themes to give a broad overview of some of the most important issues in the business as mission movement.

As we announce the dates for the next BAM Global Congress in 2020, we thought it would be worth revisiting this list. We have grown much as a movement since the last BAM Congress 5 1/2 years ago, though undoubtedly there is still work to do in all of these areas.

Here are the Top 10 ‘hottest topics’ from our 2012 Survey, in reverse order:

10. How do we mobilise more business people? How will business people embrace their calling and get involved?

9. How do we practice biblical, ethical business in the face of the face of hostile realities in the world? How do we maintain our values in the face of corruption and greed? Read more

10 Guiding Principles for Business as Mission

Read this classic blog from our Archives, an excerpt from the Lausanne Occasional Paper on Business as Mission.
___

A good business as mission business will, by definition, have many of the characteristics of any well-run business. A kingdom business must be profitable and sustainable just as any other business. Integrity, fairness and excellent customer service are characteristics of any good business, not just a business as mission venture. As such, while important, those characteristics will not by themselves necessarily point people to Christ. A kingdom business begins with the foundation of any good business, but takes its stewardship responsibilities even further.

What follows is a list of principles that should underpin a business as mission business. First we list the basic foundational principles that must exist in any good business. Following that are the principles that distinguish a good business as mission business.

Foundational Business Principles

1.  Strives to be profitable and sustainable in the long term

Profit is an indication that resources are being used wisely. It indicates that the product or service being produced and sold does so at a price that covers the cost of the resources, including the cost of capital. For most businesses, profits are fleeting, and never a sure thing. It is common for businesses to experience periods of low profit, and even negative profit. Thus it is important to take a long-term view of profitability. Occasional windfalls are often what will sustain a company through periods of financial losses. For that reason a well-managed business will use extreme care when considering whether and when to distribute profits. Profit, and its retention, is not necessarily an indication of greed. Read more

Four Essentials of a Working Spirituality

by Peter Shaukat

Having hazarded a comment on the global and ecclesiastical context of our time and offered a rough and ready theology of work, I’d like to outline few suggested essentials of a working spirituality with a missional worldview for the professional or business person.

Embrace the Incarnation of Christ

The first essential is to embrace the incarnation of Christ. Specifically, devotionally, prayerfully to remember and internalize the fact that Jesus walks the Holy Land of your country, your marketplace, your professional sphere through you. You are his hands and feet. You are his mind and word. You are a channel of his redemption and restoration. His promise that we would do greater works than he did in Palestine is surely supported by his promise to be with us and evidenced by the work and witness of practicing Christians in every profession, especially in places where it’s still highly unlikely that the majority have ever seen a Christian engineer, teacher, or businessman.  Read more

The Spirituality of Professional Skills and Business

by Peter Shaukat

This short and surely inadequate article on the place of professional and business skills in spirituality and mission is essentially a plea for Christ-followers to demonstrate and proclaim a wholistic gospel and to pursue authentic whole-life discipleship. In many respects, it reflects one element of my own pilgrimage in mission, which might be described as a long pursuit of an answer to the question: “How do we integrate our Christian faith with our vocational talents and training in a life committed to the global mission enterprise of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?”

My journey thus far is still for me most memorably crystallized when, as a young engineer-in-training experiencing the breakout of Jesus in my personal world, I approached a mission agency leader with the question: “What should I do to serve Christ globally?” The answer I received then was to go to seminary for four years and then come back and see him. His answer may just possibly (but probably quite remotely) have had to do with his perception that perhaps I had certain “ministry gifts” needing development. However, with the passage of more than four decades since that conversation, I am inclined to believe that it had more to do with a pervasive, dichotomous, sacred-secular worldview rooted in Greek Platonic (and Buddhist/Hindu) thought than with the biblical, integrated notions of shalom, holiness, and service. Since then, by God’s grace, through observing the modeling of Christ’s virtues in the lives of hundreds of fellow-travelers, imbibing five decades of studying Scripture on a personal devotional level, embracing divinely appointed circumstances, and following personally chosen pathways on five continents, some progress in answering that question first posed in the 1970s is slowly being made.  Read more

Why We Need the Term Business as Mission, But Maybe Not Forever!

I hope very few people will talk about Business as Mission (BAM) in the future. The term is like scaffolding; it is needed for a season as we build a new paradigm and praxis: businesses that glorify God and bring about holistic transformation of people and societies.

The term BAM has its merits in clarification of the concept. The term has been helpful in the affirmation of business people and the mobilization of resources. But the term is not important – the concept and the applications are.

Many Terms, Similar Concepts

In the general business world, there are also several terms for businesses that aim at multiple bottom-lines serving multiple stakeholders. Some examples are social enterprise, creative capitalism, conscious capitalism, corporate social responsibility, and inclusive business. Different terms, but very similar concept.

Some people dislike the term BAM or question its usefulness. Other phrases are used, such as business for transformation, Kingdom companies, missional business or business as integral calling.

Even this article highlights a limitation regarding terminology: it is in English. There are about 6,000 other languages in the world.  Read more

Business as Mission and the Three Mandates

We know that businesses can fail and hurt people (Enron) and harm nature (BP). But it is equally true that we all depend on businesses, and that they can do good. The woman in Proverbs 31 was an astute businesswoman whose ventures served individuals and her community.

The Quakers practiced a kind of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) long before academics developed the term. Their motto was ‘spiritual & solvent’. They served God and people in and through business.

Even Adam Smith, the author of The Wealth of Nations and sometimes called the “father of capitalism”, said that business should operate within a framework of fair play, justice and rule of law, and that businesses exist to serve the general welfare.

The computer pioneer Dave Packard said: “Many people assume, wrongly, that a company exists simply to make money. While this is an important result of a company’s existence, we have to go deeper and find the real reasons for our being. People get together and exist as a company so that they are able to accomplish something collectively that they could not accomplish separately – they make a contribution to society.” Read more

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