The Power of Business to Take Good Care of our Planet

This month we are exploring different motives a missional entrepreneur may have for pursuing business as mission as their strategy of choice. In this fourth post, we are exploring the power of business to have a positive environmental impact and care for creation.

ALL businesses are environmental businesses and we need the BAM community to be leading the way in recognising this! That was the conclusion of the first published report from the BAM and Creation Care report series and the first major theme of the recent BAM and Creation Care Consultation:

That every BAM entity has the opportunity to grow in their care of creation.

While all BAM companies can become better environmental stewards, there has been a second major theme to the BAM and Creation Care Consultation:

The opportunity for some Christian entrepreneurs and investors to create new BAM companies that address critical environmental problems with innovative business solutions and new technologies.

Acute environmental damage and degradation is often to be found in places suffering dire poverty and in places relatively unreached with the gospel. This presents BAM practitioners and investors with the challenge and opportunity to respond holistically with environmental solutions at the heart of their business model.

This second theme will be the focus of the soon to be published third paper in the BAM and Creation Care series, ‘Challenge and Hope‘. This blog is an advance excerpt from this new paper, but if you can’t wait to read it, you can watch a video presentation of this content right now – see video below!

A New Perspective on God’s Good Earth

We want to take you on a journey of challenge and hope on God’s good Earth. And to do that we are going to start at the moon…

It has been 52 years since the crew of Apollo 8 circled the moon and took the now famous picture of the Earth rising over the desolate lunar surface. It is estimated a quarter of the earth’s population saw the Apollo 8 broadcasts, and the photo itself was an inspiration for the first Earth Day in 1970.

The Earth from Apollo 8 (Anders & Weigang)

The photo still evokes a sense of wonder. This little blue jewel framed by the lifeless moon and the vastness of space. Our precious, fragile, home.

On Christmas Eve, 1968, as the Apollo 8 astronauts rounded the moon for the ninth time, they read the first ten verses from the Book of Genesis back to Earth. They ended their reading with, “God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”  Read more

The Power of Business to Lift Communities Out of Poverty

This month we are exploring different motives a missional entrepreneur may have for pursuing business as mission as their strategy of choice. In this fourth post, we are exploring the power of business in lifting individuals and communities out of poverty.

Business is uniquely positioned as an essential and sustainable solution to ending poverty. Current global economic shifts and technological advances are creating a unique opportunity at this point to bring this goal in reach. Business by its nature is a relational activity, and a potentially transformational activity. Business not only creates jobs, it is where networks and relationships are the norm, creating networks and relationships that are essential for community restoration and transformation.

I believe the only long-term solution to world poverty is business.  That is because business produces goods, and businesses produce jobs.  And businesses continue producing goods year after year, and continue providing jobs and paying wages year after year.  Therefore if we are ever going to see long-term solutions to world poverty, I believe it will come through starting and maintaining productive, profitable business. — Wayne Grudem, Business for the Glory of God


The role of businesses and job creation in ending poverty

Thriving businesses and job creation are vital for ending poverty. Kaushik Basu, the Chief Economist and Senior Vice President at World Bank states, “Jobs are the best insurance against poverty and vulnerability” (World Bank, 2013). John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, shares from his own business experience, “Business is the greatest creator of value in the world. It’s helped lift humanity out of poverty and into prosperity” (Fox News, 2013).

From the voices of the poor themselves (in a survey of over 60,000), jobs and businesses were cited as major paths out of poverty:

In a large set of qualitative studies in low-income countries, two of the main reasons that people gave for moving out of poverty were finding jobs and starting businesses. (Narayan, Pritchett, and Kapoor, 2009)

The development world has reached a similar conclusion, that aid alone is not the solution to poverty. Renowned books, from Dead Aid, to When Helping Hurts, and Toxic Charity warn us of the destructive tendency of “us to them” aid that wears away at the dignity and productive capacity of people and communities. Read more

The Power of Business to Bring Freedom to the Enslaved

This month we are exploring different motives a missional entrepreneur may have for pursuing business as mission as their strategy of choice. In this third post, we are exploring the power of business to bring economic solutions to human trafficking and freedom to the enslaved. Download the 2022 IMPACT Report from the Freedom Business Alliance below to learn much more.

by Freedom Business Alliance

Ghanaian diplomat and former Secretary-General of the UN Kofi Annan introduced the issue of human trafficking to the UN General Assembly in 2000 with this statement:

I believe the trafficking of persons, particularly women and children, for forced and exploitative labor, especially for sexual exploitation, is one of the most egregious violations of human rights which the United Nations now confronts.¹

Over twenty years later, this egregious violation not only still exists, but has increased. The International Labour Organization estimates that at any given time, 50 million people, predominantly women and girls, are trapped in modern slavery, an increase in 10 million compared to 2016 estimates.²

The Business of Human Trafficking

While awareness of this global crisis has grown in recent years, many still do not recognize the economic aspects of the issue, leaving a complete solution just out of grasp, until now. Freedom Businesses have been launched to address this gap, arising as a groundswell response from entrepreneurs operating in the anti-trafficking ecosystem, all of whom are on mission to create life-giving jobs for survivors of human trafficking and labor exploitation.

Make no mistake: human trafficking is a business. It is estimated that the total profits obtained from the use of forced labour in the private economy worldwide amount to US$150 billion per year. 3 While there are still legal and law enforcement issues to be improved, a major root cause of trafficking is economic vulnerability. Places with high unemployment and under-employment are high-risk areas, where traffickers lure vulnerable people, most of them women and girls. People are making money from the sale of those most economically vulnerable among us. This is business in its most evil form.   Read more

The Power of Business in Gospel Planting Among the Least Reached

This month we are exploring different motives a missional entrepreneur may have for pursuing business as mission as their strategy of choice. In this second post, we are exploring the power of business in sharing the gospel of Jesus and planting churches in the least reached places.

Jesus gave us the mandate to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28) and this ‘Great Commission’ will lead to us to the hardest places to reach with the gospel, where new believers may come to Christ in places where there isn’t already an expression of local church.  Many within the business as mission movement, especially those from church planting mission agencies, are hopeful that BAM can be a key strategy in starting new churches and transforming communities. Where these hard to reach places are often closed to traditional mission models, there are only a few places in the world that aren’t open for business!

Rationale for the integration of business and church planting

It is useful to consider some good reasons to combine business and church planting. Indeed, combining the two did not just begin when missionaries could not find visas to live in closed countries. Instead, there has been a natural merging of business, church planting and the presentation of the gospel throughout church history.

The apostle Paul himself was a tentmaker, or small business owner. He supported himself and saw this strategy as being beneficial for church planting. For example, among the Thessalonians, Paul “Worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while [he] preached the gospel of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:9). This example was needed to teach the Thessalonians that they also were to work and not be idle (2 Thessalonians 3:8-9). In Corinth, Paul did not accept payment from the people in order to clarify the message of the gospel, making it clear that the his preaching was not tied to financial gain (1 Corinthians 9, 2 Corinthians 12). Yet Paul’s tentmaking was not absolute; he would accept support and be “fully devoted” to preaching and teaching where there was support and when the context was appropriate (Acts 18:5).

Another significant example of God working through the marketplace is the Moravians, who were Christians that formed a spiritually and economically integrated community in Europe during the eighteenth century. The first Moravian missionaries, David Nitschmann and Leonhard Dober, were sent out by the Moravian community to Saint Thomas in the Caribbean to establish a mission to African slaves. One of the missionaries supported themselves through his carpentry skills. Other missionaries soon followed them. All missionaries “sent out” by the Moravians were expected to support themselves if they could and to provide any profit they earned from their endeavors to the mission itself, not for themselves personally. They sought ‘profit for the Lord’, as documented by William Danker in his book of the same name.

The Moravian missionaries in Suriname on the northern coast of South America started what would become very large commercial operation. While employing African slaves in a tailor shop, the missionaries found it easy to talk about the gospel while sitting together at a tailor’s bench. As they added a bakery and a watchmaker’s business they were able to employ more and more of the slaves and gave them not only work, but also a new way of life. This mission resulted in a permanent department store that had a great impact on the local area and thirteen thousand members worshipping in seven churches. The Moravians also went to Cape Town, South Africa where they combined evangelistic efforts with trade, industry and agriculture, not only providing their own financial support, but also financially helping the local people. A further benefit of the Moravian commercial activity was a boldness in setting the moral and ethical standards for business in their area. Read more

Compelling Reasons for Business as Mission That are Still Relevant Today

This month we are exploring different motives a missional entrepreneur may have for pursuing business as mission as their strategy of choice. To set the scene, here is a classic introduction to BAM as a strategy from the Lausanne Occasional Paper on Business as Mission. Published nearly 20 years ago, these arguments are as compelling and relevant today as we still seek ‘God’s Kingdom come’ — through business. 


A World in Need

The world holds fresh opportunities and challenges for the global Church.  In regions where Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are dominant and where 90% of the world’s unreached peoples live, you also find 80% of the world’s poorest populations. Unemployment in these countries ranges from 30% to 80% and it is even higher among Christian minorities. Furthermore many Christians and others in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin American are living in poverty because of lack of jobs and unjust economic systems.

Over the next 20 years, more than 2 billion people will enter societies where there are few churches and very few jobs.

What should be the response of the Church and particularly Christian business people to such challenges?

What the poor want is not aid, but jobs – real jobs, not subsidised ones. This is the dignity and self-reliance they deserve.


Business as Mission – a Renewed Call

There is a wave of thousands of Christian business people from all continents who are experiencing a dynamic move of God as part of a renewed call to His kingdom work. God is on the move in Latin America, Asia, Europe, North America, Africa and the Pacific regions, calling His global church to rediscover His heart and intention for business.

God established the institution and practice of business as a means of fulfilling His creation mandate to steward and care for all of creation. He is releasing the power of business to aid in the task of fulfilling the great commission making disciples of all nations. God longs to be glorified through our business activities.

Business people are being challenged to look anew at their business activities as an expression of their calling and service to God. They are being affirmed in their vocation as business people and used as instruments for extending God’s kingdom. God has led a growing number of business people to think strategically about how they can integrate their skills and experience in business with the task of world mission. God is calling many more business people, from all nations to go to all nations, in this new paradigm of mission. Read more