Staying Mission True: Business as Mission Looking Forward

by Mats Tunehag

Part 3 of a 3 part series on Business as Mission: Roots, Scope & Future. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

BHAGs: Big Hairy Audacious Goals

We have briefly reviewed the BAM concept’s historical roots, and painted a picture, albeit incomplete, of the scope and nature of the global BAM movement. Now, let’s look ahead. What are some of the challenges facing us?

Over the years and through the global conversations we’ve had, three major challenges have been identified. We call them BHAGs, these are major issues that can only be dealt with if we continue to stay on course and grow the strength of the movement. These are macro issues, which force us to think and act intergenerationally, and to intentionally build an eco-system to optimize holistic impact. They will not be achieved by one company, organization or network alone, but through collaborative effort.

Let me briefly describe them, in no particular order.

1. Align Views of Business with Biblical Principles

BAM is not a technique, but a worldview and a lifestyle. Or as BAM Global puts it: “Business as mission is not simply a method or strategy; it encompasses a worldview and business praxis based on biblical principles and the church’s teaching.”[1]

The sacred-secular divide has been an ongoing issue throughout the history of the church. But Pope John Paul II clearly states: “There cannot be two parallel lives in their existence: on the one hand, the so-called “spiritual” life, with its values and demands; and on the other, the so-called “secular” life, that is, life in a family, at work, in social relationships, in the responsibilities of public life and in culture. … This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age.”[2]

Back to BAM Global’s BHAG statement:

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The Present Movement: Business as Mission Today

by Mats Tunehag

Part 2 of a 3 part series on Business as Mission: Roots, Scope & Future. Read Part 1 here.

Why is There a BAM Movement?

Each generation has to review and highlight old-age concepts and truths and see how they apply to today’s context. That includes various arenas and constituencies, like business, church, and academia.

While acknowledging our roots, we also recognize the emergence of a global BAM movement in our generation. Today we can talk about a global BAM movement – we could not do that 25 years ago. Today there are tens of thousands of businesses on all continents on a BAM journey. Today there are churches and denominations embracing Business as Mission. Today most of the oldest and biggest Evangelical mission agencies in the world are pursuing BAM. Today there are many academic institutions teaching BAM and producing Master and Doctoral theses on Business as Mission. This was not the case just a few decades ago.

Thus, we may ask: why is there a global BAM movement? How did that come about? First and foremost, we recognize that God is the ultimate initiator and conductor of the movement. But allow me to also mention three essential building blocks: common language, communication and collaboration.

Without a common language you cannot communicate. If you cannot communicate you cannot collaborate, and it will lead to disconnected initiatives with limited impact.

BAM Global Think Tank

BAM Global has since 2002 focused on creating and sharing intellectual and social capital. What does that mean? An underlying principle is the belief that there is wisdom in the counsel of many. To that end we have been facilitating global listening processes, where voices from both history and today’s world could be heard, discussions were held, and documented.[1] These inclusive and participatory conversations created ownership of the concept, which continues to be discussed and shared in many languages and contexts. We have also brought people together to not only listen, share and learn, but also to connect and act. The BAM Manifesto and the Wealth Creation Manifesto are essential for establishing a common language for communication and collaboration, to create greater impact. See the BAM A – Z booklet which also expresses the common BAM language.[2]

The 2nd BAM Global Think Tank (2011 – 2013) started over 30 national, regional and international working groups, dealing with BAM in a particular country or region, or BAM related to issues like poverty, human trafficking, unreached peoples, metrics, funding and incubation. Many of these groups produced a report, but the ongoing conversations also catalyzed BAM initiatives around the world which further propelled the global movement. Today there is a growing number of BAM Global Ambassadors serving regions and issues.[3]

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Deeply Rooted: Business as Mission Looking Back

by Mats Tunehag

Part 1 of a 3 part series on Business as Mission: Roots, Scope & Future

She was amazed and perplexed at the same time. She was treated with respect and dignity. She was a woman challenged with disabilities. But her life had changed. With little or no prospect of ever getting a job, she was now working in a manufacturing company. She was creative, she had made friends, and she made money.

Women in this country and religious context were treated as second-class citizens. If they had mental or physical handicaps they were often further down.

But the company she worked for employed and offered jobs with dignity to women with disabilities. It was unheard of, and it made a huge difference not only in her life, but also for the other women who worked there. It even had a transformational impact on families and the community.

This woman asked herself: why is this workplace so different? It changes lives on many levels. She knew that the founder and CEO was a follower of Jesus. So she told herself: If that’s what it means to be a follower of Jesus, I will also follow him. It was a huge and risky step for a handicapped woman in a conservative Muslim environment.

What brought her to Christ? A gospel tract? A Jesus film? A bible study? No, it was human resource management informed by biblical values, underpinned with prayer. Ultimately, it was, of course, God’s doing.

BAM: Concept, Practice, Movement

This true story from the Middle East points towards three aspects of Business as Mission, BAM, which is about serving God and people in and through business, with a Great Commission perspective. BAM is a biblical concept, which is practiced and applied by people around the world with a wide variety of backgrounds, which together form a global movement.

BAM Global has since 2002 engaged around 500 significant leaders in business, church, missions & NGOs and academia, from about 50 countries, in global conversations about the concept and the practice. This has resulted in about 30 peer produced and peer reviewed think tank reports, and two manifestos which summarize our findings [1]. The global and participatory nature of the think tank processes have created an unprecedented spread and ownership of the BAM concept.[2]

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Helping BAM Practitioners Start Well and Endure for the Long-Term

by Jo Plummer

Recently I received a question about training resources and spiritual courses from a BAM practitioner who reads our blog. There already are lots of great resources on this site and elsewhere for helping BAMers start well and endure for the long-term. This post is designed to introduce some resources that BAM practitioners may find helpful for both preparing to launch into BAM and enduring long.

However, having asked advice from a few other business as mission leaders, we identified that there are relatively few dedicated, BAM-related resources for what the mission community calls ‘member care – that is helping ensure the personal, physical, relational and spiritual well-being of BAM practitioners. There are, however, many general member care and spiritual life resources that we can glean from in the wider Christian community, and a selection of these are also listed below.

Please get in touch if you would be interested in being part of a future task force on the specific topic of ‘Member Care for BAM Practitioners’.

Training & Preparation: Launching Well

How do people get from BAM vision to BAM reality? What training resources are there out there for BAM practitioners? What factors help launch BAMers out into stable, successful business as mission enterprises? What are the skills and characteristics that BAM companies are looking for as they recruit? How do potential BAMers best develop themselves and prepare for doing business as mission?

Here are some places to start:

  • Courses & Training Page – BAM Resource Library
    Looking for some BAM-related training? Start with the Courses & Training page in the Resource Library here on the BAM website for a list of training organisations and course providers related to BAM. Follow that up by browsing the Video & Audio Page which links to many Podcasts and Video Series which have great content and are all totally free to access. (And of course we have great Books and Papers listed too, as well as over 550 Blogs to read – see Blog Categories listed on this page!)

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