7 Creative Ways Practitioners Integrate Business and Mission


Our goal is to provide the BAM Community with the best content and resources available. Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting various articles and resources which have stood out above the rest. Below is the “Most Popular Post” for the spring of 2015.

Please enjoy and thanks for following!

We are launching a new series on the topic of ‘Integration of Mission and Business’. A defining characteristic of a BAM company is that it intentionally integrates mission with business. But what does that look like in practice? What are some creative ways that practitioners work out their goals for spiritual impact, alongside their commercial, social and environmental goals?

We asked a small group of practitioners to share what they do in the business context that moves them towards their missional goals and spiritual impact. This could be something they did when establishing the company, or practices they do on a regular basis in the day-to-day life of the business. The practitioners shared a diverse range of specific practices, but there were some common themes. These seven ways to integrate business and mission stood out:

Keep Purpose Front and Center

Keeping the purpose, vision and objectives of the company at the forefront emerged as a key principle. This is important all the way through the life of the company, from the planning stages and goal setting, to evaluating those goals and choosing measures, to on-boarding processes for new hires, to daily communication with employees. Read more

Business as Mission: Chronos and Kairos

by Mats Tunehag

Originally published on MatsTunehag.com, reposted with kind permission.

Business as Mission, BAM, is not a technique. It is a worldview and a lifestyle. It is about following Jesus in the marketplace – to the ends of the earth; loving God and serving people through business.

  • BAM is not doing business with a touch of ‘churchianity’
  • BAM is not Christians just doing social enterprise.
  • BAM always considers God as a stakeholder who has a vested interested in multiple bottom lines and multiple stakeholders.
  • BAM must be underpinned by a Biblical worldview, informing our planning, operations and evaluation.

One very important aspect of worldview is time. This has implications on what we can do and what God does. Read more

Good Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering a Business

Choosing a Business:

What do you like to do? If you are enthusiastic about a particular business, it will help keep you going in the tough times.

What do the local people need or want? Go to your proposed location and live there for a while.  Talk to people.  No business will succeed unless there is a felt-need in the potential customer base and you must understand that need, it may be different than you think.

Can you make money at this business? Look at how much you can sell your product or service for and how much it costs to produce or provide it.  Typically you have to sell something for twice what it costs you in order to stay in business. Don’t give your product and services away, you’ll go out of business quickly and it helps no one in the long-run.

This is not an easy process – 80% of all businesses fail before five years. Read more

The Story of a Business Plan [Audio]

How do others actually go about business planning? What does it look like in practice to integrate Kingdom and Business goals into a planning process? Listen to this 20 minute interview with business owner Steven Sauder as he shares his story of developing a business model in Thailand and mapping it out in a business plan.

Poppy Jasper interviewing Steven Sauder for The BAM Review



Don’t Miss This: Essential Preliminary Research for a BAM Company

We asked our team of BAM experts to give some practical advice for BAM practitioners in the beginning stages of business planning. For this post we asked them to share ideas about developing goals and vision.

Robert Andrews, Larry Sharp and Garry all actively mentor frontline BAM companies – as well as teach and write on BAM. Read more about them below.

What kinds of preliminary research or on-ground preparation would you emphasise as particularly important to someone planning a BAM company – especially in a cross-cultural context?

Robert Andrews

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. Read more

5 Resources to Jumpstart Your Business Planning Process

You may have a business idea but are feeling a bit lost on what to do next. Creating a business plan is a great way to get started. There are loads of useful tools and articles to read as you walk through this process. Here are a few to help you get started crafting a great plan:

The 6 Key Components Of Writing A Business Plan – Forbes
Sometimes entrepreneurs create business plans just to tell their investors they have one. Instead you need to think critically about how your business will work so you have good answers for yourself and your stakeholders.

A Standard Business Plan Outline – Bplans
It’s not exciting or flashy but this outline covers all the bases you need when putting your plan together. You can look at the brief descriptions as well as drill down into detailed explanation for each component.
Read more

Startup Planning Questions: Discovering your Business Model

by Larry Sharp

This is Part 2 of a two-part post, read Part 1.

What is the business model?

I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
– General Dwight Eisenhower

I am not a big fan of complex business plans in the early stages, but prefer to develop a business model typical of the lean start-up strategy.1 Don’t get me wrong – proper plans are necessary in time especially to qualify for a business loan or to record key research, but at an early stage I prefer modeling that is hypothesis driven. This mind-set should be intuitive to the entrepreneur and be at the heart of the consultant’s strategy.

Business founders should begin with a search for a business model which is driven by a hypothesis which can be tested in the marketplace of customer need. The model canvas contains a series of theories or good guesses which must be tested. These are sketches of how the company anticipates creating value for the customer. Read more

Business for Transformation: A New Book by Patrick Lai

B4T Patrick Lai

From the back cover

Business for Transformation focuses on answering the question: “How do you start a business that transforms communities of unreached peoples?” Starting a business cross-culturally involves thousands of decisions. Until now, BAM and B4T practitioners have been lacking a tool that explains how to start a business that engages unreached people for Jesus’ sake. This book draws on years of experience from scores of OPEN workers who are BAM/B4T practitioners. BAM/B4T are among the faster growing segments of the worldwide mission movement. It is written for new workers and coaches who need practical guidance in setting up and doing business in hard, church-less areas.

BAM is about shaping business for God and the common good; bringing solutions to global issues like human trafficking, poverty, creation care, and unreached peoples. Patrick Lai’s book is an important guide for those who are serious about transformational business, especially in areas where the name of Jesus is rarely heard. This book is very practical with tools, stories and resources. Read it, use it!

Mats Tunehag – Co-Chair, BAM Global Think Tank and Senior Associate of BAM, The Lausanne Movement Read more

BAM Job Opportunities in the Middle East and Asia

Job Opportunity

Managing Director – Training Company in the Middle East

We offer a unique kind of vocational training in one of the leading commercial centers of the Middle East. The Managing Director – preferably female – will drive the process of repositioning the company in the local market, as the two business units: academy and corporate seminars take center stage and contribute equal income streams for the company. Facilitating the development of corporate seminar offerings and arranging partnerships with established educational institutions will require negotiation skills and determination. Developing the corporate seminar business will requires both sales skills and people skills to empower our local facilitators. The MD position provides lots of space for your entrepreneurial ambitions, while you don’t have to start out from zero in completely unknown waters – since you will work with the the company’s experienced startup team.

Link to detailed job description Read more

Startup Planning Questions: What to Do Before the Launch

by Larry Sharp


What is the opportunity?

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
– Benjamin Franklin

IBEC’s first consultant and later CEO, Ken Leahy drilled into me, “You do not have a business if you do not have a customer”. Since then the key question for me is to identify a meaningful business opportunity early on. Vision is important, but it cannot be the key component at the beginning. Do you have a customer? What is the problem to be solved? The answer can be derived from research and counsel, but it is important to determine the need for the product before moving too far toward planning and product development. Some call this the value proposition and it articulates why customers need the product or service. With no need, customers will not pay, and without sales, there is no business.

A couple planning to start a business in a large Asian country came to us with an idea. They planned to make wedding dresses in the country at a low cost and market them in the USA for considerable profit. The idea sounded good to everyone they discussed the idea with. Fortunately, they retained a consultant who pushed them in the direction of robust research and analytics. The day when everyone realized there was no ‘business opportunity’ here, there was sadness and tears – it seemed to be the death of a dream! Read more