12 Ways that Business as Mission is Bigger Than You Think 

As we start the new year, we are revisiting some foundational material on what business as mission means. Here’s a classic article from Mats to expand our thinking about BAM.

By Mats Tunehag

 

Business as Mission is a growing global movement of Christians in the marketplace asking: How can we shape business to serve people, align with God’s purposes, be good stewards of the planet and make a profit?

We are on a mission in and through business. It is for example a mission of justice. One could even say ‘Business as Justice’. This and other terms may help us understand the holistic and transformational nature of Business as Mission.

Let me give 12 brief examples. The list could be made longer, but these 12 will hopefully show that Business as Mission is not just doing business with a touch of “churchianity”.

1. Business as Justice

God loves justice and hates injustice. God sent prophets again and again who spoke out against injustice, and they demanded change and correction. Injustice often manifested itself in the marketplace: it was corruption, labor exploitation and abuse of vulnerable people like immigrants. To pursue honest business and care for staff is Business as Justice. To treat customers and suppliers well is also a part of this God honoring pursuit. Business as Justice includes fighting corruption and bribery.

2. Business as True Religion

True worship is to take care of widows and orphans (James 1:27). These are two vulnerable groups, who often are exploited in the marketplace today. Human traffickers often target lonely children. Circumstances and cunning people may force widows into prostitution. These are realities in many parts of the world. Who will offer orphans and widows a future; give them jobs with dignity, so they can support themselves and others? That would be Business as True Religion.

 3. Business as Shalom

Shalom is a Biblical concept of good and harmonious relationships. But relationships were damaged and broken through the fall in Genesis chapter 3. Through Christ there is a way to restored relationship with God, with one another, and with creation. Business is so much about relationships, with staff, colleagues, peers, customers, clients, suppliers, family, community, tax authorities, and so forth. How can we as Christians in business strive towards Shalom; Business as Shalom?

4. Business as Stewardship

Every human being has been entrusted with gifts and talents. In business we also talk about assets. Stewardship is another important Biblical concept. How can we use what we have to serve? What does stewardship mean when we own and / or run a business? God has given some people strong entrepreneurial gifts. They can be used for God and for the common good through business. It is the same with managerial gifts or gifts of bookkeeping or sales. We should encourage people with business skills to be good stewards of their gifts – Business as Stewardship.

5. Business as Servant Leadership

Jesus came to serve. He was an example of good and godly leadership. Many books are written on this topic and it indicates the importance of the very concept of servant leadership. Doing business as unto the Lord means that we also explore what servant leadership means in the business context. It is not a simple formula or a cookie cutter approach. It may look differently in different industries and cultures. But the key underlying principle is to serve people, communities, nations, and God. We are too often reminded about the lack of good leadership in the business world. Business as Servant Leadership is more than needed. Read more

What is Business as Mission? A Short Introduction

As we start the new year, we are revisiting some foundational material on what business as mission means. Here’s the introduction to business as mission from our Start Here page.

What is Business as Mission?

Business as mission, simply put, is the seamless integration of excellent business with intentional mission. It is doing business for God’s glory, the gospel, and the common good.

Business is a God-given vocation and institution in society, with the potential to bring multiple benefits to people, communities and nations. Business as mission intentionally leverages this intrinsic power of business to address spiritual needs, hand in hand with social, economic and environmental needs. Business as mission is strategic today because it is often best placed to meet a wide range of needs in communities around the world.

Let’s start with business

Dallas Willard once said, “Business is a primary moving force of the love of God in human history.” Business, done well, is glorifying to God. Period. We see in the Bible and throughout history that business is able to create dignified jobs,  multiply resources, provide for families and communities, push forward innovation, and, in short, do good in society. A company does not need a business as mission strategy to justify its purpose or to somehow make it more ‘holy’. Business professionals following Jesus in the marketplace already have a sacred vocation. Business is a good idea that comes from God.

Yet, God has called us, His Church, to partner with him in the work of mission. To love our neighbour as ourselves, to care for the poor and vulnerable, and to share the gospel and make disciples in every part of the world. And business people, along with their skills and experiences, are some of the most needed in the work of global mission today. Alongside more traditional forms of mission, the world is crying out for for-profit, business solutions to some of its most pressing issues. These issues include job scarcity, human trafficking, economic exploitation, corruption, environmental degradation, dire poverty, and the challenge of sharing the love of God and His good news with those who haven’t yet heard it.

Business as Mission

In the global marketplace today, we have an opportunity to harness the God-given power of business to address these pressing spiritual, social, environmental, and economic issues. Business as mission is a movement of business professionals – alongside mission leaders, church leaders and academics – who are doing just that. They are taking the instrument of business, with its innate, God-given ability and power, and intentionally using that power in the work of mission. They are using their professional know-how and the gifts of entrepreneurship and good management to bring creative and long-term, sustainable solutions to local and global challenges. They are making a positive impact through for-profit business, along the ‘four bottom lines’: social, environmental, financial and spiritual. We sometimes refer to these as the 4Ps: people, planet, profit, and eternal purpose. Read more

Business as Mission: Working Together for God’s Glory [Infographic]

As we start the new year, we are revisiting some foundational material on what business as mission means. Here’s a helpful summary infographic.

 

Click to Download

 

Created by the Lausanne Movement and BAM Global for our Lausanne Business as Mission Network page.

 

Business With a Mission: Go With God and the Flow

A New Year message from BAM Global leader Mats Tunehag, with a reminder to go with God and the flow this year.

By Mats Tunehag

God called Abraham to leave his hometown and go to another country. The direction was clear, but it was a journey with few, if any, details sketched out.

Moses wanted to help his enslaved fellow Jews, but he acted violently and prematurely. He was sent on a cool down period which lasted for decades. But then God appeared to him and called him on a defined mission: Freedom!

Again, it involved a journey, but little did he and the others know that it would take 40 years. The mission was clear, but it was not a detailed five-year strategic plan that steered them. God guided Moses and the people of Israel on their long journey. They repeatedly had to problem-solve as they faced new issues and entered uncharted territories.

Called to a mission with no plan?

There’s a long list of people in the Old Testament who God called to a mission, but they were not given a plan. They tended to doubt their ability to fulfill their roles and missions. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks observes about Moses and others:

“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” said Moses to God. “And how can I possibly get the Israelites out of Egypt?” Ex. 3:11 … “…people who turn out to be the most worthy are the ones who deny they are worthy at all. The Prophet Isaiah, when charged with his mission, said, ‘I am a man of unclean lips’ (Is. 6:5). Jeremiah said, ‘I cannot speak, for I am a child’ (Jer. 1:6). David, Israel’s greatest king, echoed Moses’ words, ‘Who am I?’ (2 Samuel 7:18). Jonah, sent on a mission by God, tried to run away.

They were people who doubted their own abilities. There were times when they felt like giving up. Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah and Jonah reached points of such despair that they prayed to die. … It is almost as if a sense of smallness is a sign of greatness.[1]

Caught between a rock and a hard place

Moses had left the royal court and he was no longer one of them. And his people of birth initially rejected him as a leader. Now he was to talk to two groups which didn’t trust him, and he really wasn’t deeply connected with either one. And the demands Moses presented to Pharaoh did not reveal a comprehensive plan.

We may sometimes feel like Moses, caught between a rock and a hard place, pursuing business with a mission. Not quite accepted by the church, and not fully understood by the business community. At times it may not be easy to convey our mission, as not everything can be quantified and put in a strategic plan. Also, things may progress a lot slower than we anticipate.

It is also worth noting that encounters with God were followed by a mission, people were given an assignment. It was not just a moment of bliss for their own edification. Rather, it often meant hardships coming up, and a life with many unknowns. They were to be true to God and their God-given mission, but they didn’t have a detailed plan, nor could they fully comprehend the implications of the journeys they started. Read more