Business as Mission: What Do We Mean by Success?

by Mats Tunehag

Most businesses are local, and daily problem solving often comes to the forefront. Understandably so. But from time to time, we need to review our mission, and remind ourselves about our greater vision.

BAM is about holistic transformation of people, businesses, industries and nations. This implies several things. We need to:

1. Have a macro perspective,

2. Take a long-term view,

3. Stay mission true, and

4. Employ intentional succession planning.

Let me briefly unpack these four.

1. Macro Perspective

We thank God for the exponential growth of the global BAM movement. We could not talk about a global movement 25 years ago, today we can. There are tens of thousands of BAM businesses in the SME sector and beyond. There is a growing ecosystem of incubators, training programs, investment groups, websites and YouTube channels – in over 20 languages. There are churches and denominations involved, most of the biggest and oldest evangelical mission agencies in the world engage in BAM, and BAM is also embraced by other Christian traditions. There are dozens of PhD’s on BAM and countless Master theses, creating intellectual capital and sharing best practices. I could go on and on. God is at work.

But if we are to see a macro transformation take place, we need to build a critical mass of BAM initiatives, to reach a tipping point. To that end the various BAM networks have a critical role to play.

BAM Global has identified this as an important goal, “to build on this growth and better ‘connect the dots’ of BAM to enable greater impact. …To create momentum for macro transformation we need to scale up, multiply and reach a critical mass of business as mission initiatives in cities, nations and industries.”

2. Long-term view

Transformation takes time, especially macro transformation. We know that from studying movements of societal transformation, like the abolitionist movement and the civil rights movement. We in the BAM movement are to some extent about setting the stage for generations to come. Read BAM & the Olive Tree , and Deeply Rooted for the Future, to learn more. Read more

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

by Mats Tunehag

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: Beyond Default Mode

by Mats Tunehag

There’s no place like home. The vast majority of all human beings prefer the familiar, to stay close to family, use our own language, eat familiar food, operate within our own culture and enjoy known surroundings. Home is our default. That is both natural and okay.

Using the language of the bible, we may call this our Jerusalem. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) This verse talks about a missional and centrifugal movement, from home – Jerusalem – to Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. But Jerusalem is a default mode, as it were.

There are countless marketplace ministries around the world, and many are older than the modern-day BAM movement. But almost all of them are local, focusing on ‘Jerusalem’. There is nothing wrong with a local focus. This is not a value judgement, just an observation.

Beyond Default Mode

Business as Mission, BAM, is not against doing godly business in ‘Jerusalem’, but we also focus on ‘Judea’, ‘Samaria’, and especially on ‘the ends of the earth’. And this is hardly ever a default mode for anyone.

You never have to encourage default mode, because default is default by default! Without a gentle push and an intentional effort, default mode – i.e. focusing on your Jerusalem, staying at home – will kick in.

BAM has from the very beginning included the so-called Great Commission in its foundational values, informing both how and where we should do business for God and people. Business as mission thus includes making Christ known among all peoples. Read more