By Joyce Ahn
The following is a summary of a lecture given by Mats Tunehag at the BAM Conference 2017 in Dallas, TX. Mats is a widely-known scholar focused on BAM and developing research and materials for BAMers globally.
BAM is not a new concept. In fact, we stand upon a rich legacy of professionals who sought to glorify God through their business. We see entrepreneurs in the scripture and throughout history. We stand at a crossroads as we look at how the BAM movement has progressed, and where things are headed.
Here are some trends I have observed in recent years:
Faith and business are more integrated than ever before. We see more and more believers who understand the importance of integrating our faith into how we run our businesses all throughout the week. It’s becoming more natural for people to say “Of course God has called me to business” and seek ways to invite him into their values and company culture. It’s exciting to see the growing numbers of BAM companies in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, and an increasing number of BAM materials in dozens of languages.
We see a global connectedness about BAM among a variety of demographics. Whether academics, business people, church people, or missions agencies, there’s a growing synergy among all these groups around the globe. There’s a spirit of collaboration among these various groups and a desire to support one another in our unique callings.
There’s an agreement on common “BAM language.” Starting with the Lausanne BAM gatherings from 2002-2004, a growing number of materials have been published that solidify common language and definitions that the diverse demographics can understand. Developing these definitions and case studies have paved the way for greater collaboration and therefore greater impact.
In spite of exponential growth and development in the BAM movement, we need to address the following gaps I see in the BAM Movement:
How Business Can Effectively Fight Human Trafficking.
How do we use BAM to effectively address global issues like human trafficking? We need to strategize about offering jobs that give survivors dignity and prevent people from getting trafficked in the first place? Groups like the Freedom Business Alliance are an international network of business people and thought leaders trying to answer that question. We are stronger when we work together in fighting huge issues like human trafficking, and we need to keep collaborating on a global scale.
How Businesses Can Care for the Environment.
Though there is a general recognition that we as believers are called to “creation care,” there’s a gap in the BAM movement about how to implement it our companies. We are called to be good stewards of everything God has given us, which includes the materials we use, the buildings we have, and the products we create. We must prioritize this aspect of BAM’s multiple bottom lines.
Staying Christ-centered and Prayerful.
Though we are similar to many social enterprises, the BAM movement has a unique angle of honoring God and glorifying Jesus through what we do in order to see more people know and experience Him. We need to keep returning to the “why” of BAM: to see more people worshipping the Lord. May we emulate the prayer of St. Patrick, through our businesses:
A BAM Prayer
Christ with me, as I do business for him and people.
Christ before me, as I plan my business.
Christ behind me, as I review my business.
Christ in me, my guiding light in business.
Christ beneath me: he is the foundation.
Christ above me; he is the owner of my business.
Christ on my right, Christ on my left
He is the Lord of the marketplace.
Christ when I lie down and rest from my work.
Christ when I sit down in my office chair.
Christ when I arise, enthusiastic or weary.
Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me and my business.
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me and my business.
Christ in every eye that sees me: staff, suppliers, or competitors.
Christ in every ear of all who speak of me and my products and services.
May God use each of us in his call to BAM for his purposes around the world!
Joyce Ahn is a regular guest contributor for The BAM Review.