3 Hallmarks of a Maturing BAM Movement: Affirmed, Collaborative, Connected

In this new blog series on the BAM Manifesto we are taking the different parts of the Manifesto as inspiration and exploring them in the context of current BAM practice and the still-growing movement, twenty years on.


The opening of the BAM Manifesto explains the unique collaborative and global conversation that produced it:

The group consisted of more than 70 people from all continents. Most came from a business background but there were also church and mission leaders, educators, theologians, lawyers and researchers. The collaboration process included 60 papers, 25 case studies, several national and regional Business as Mission consultations and email-based discussions, culminating in a week of face-to-face dialogue and work.

It was vital then that different voices were represented in the process:

  • Both BAM practitioners and ecosystem builders
  • People from all regions of the world
  • Leaders representing our four main constituencies: business, mission, church and academia – and others.

Hearing global and representative voices is still vital today and remains a strong value.

The BAM Manifesto was conceived twenty years ago this year. To celebrate this milestone, we asked twenty BAM leaders to reflect on what they had seen developing in the last 5 years in the business as mission movement. These included practitioners, capacity builders and network leaders, representing different regions and constituencies.

We asked them:

What have you been most encouraged by, or you have seen accelerating the most, in the last 5 years in BAM in your sphere of influence, region or network?

The responses we got were comprehensive and deeply encouraging. Although there was overlap between different points, we identified 6 main themes; characteristics of a maturing BAM movement, if you like.

In this first post, we introduce the first three themes:

3 Hallmarks of a Maturing BAM Movement

These hallmarks are:

  • Affirmed – an increasing recognition and acceptance of BAM
  • Collaborative – a developing ecosystem that functions together to support BAM companies
  • Connected – that we are part of a wider move of God in the marketplace

Here are the responses of those we asked:


An increasing recognition and acceptance of business as mission as a valid model among businesspeople, mission and church leaders, educators, and wider stakeholders.

There’s no doubt that the movement has grown and is showing increasing maturity on so many fronts. From its early days that were largely characterised by a struggle over identity, doctrinal focus, and outcomes, there has emerged an encouraging, broad consensus as to what and where the guardrails are in terms of integrity and authenticity. Business is seen as more than simply a means of livelihood for a few employees, or only, really about “saving souls”, but as a comprehensive instrument of wholistic mission in the world with a gospel that is for the whole person, the whole community, the whole world, all the time. – PS, Canada, MENA & Asia

I’m encouraged by the validation of businesses as genuine expressions of mission, by the church, which previously perhaps caused suspicion. There is a building of credibility, not by all, but by many businesses. Locally, there has been a recognition by the government authorities of the work being done by our businesses. – DH, South Asia

Over the last five years, we have been most encouraged by the increasing interest and greater recognition of BAM as a valid model for reaching the lost. This recognition has given more people the confidence to use BAM as a method for impact, versus one that stifles their evangelism. That acceptance has grown in traditional mission sending organizations and churches which is an important shift, as it demonstrates that they are embracing innovative ways to share the gospel and fulfill the Great Commission which consequently gives their people freedom to explore other methods such as BAM. – CN&SK, Southeast Asia

We are no longer ‘little green men’ who speak an unintelligible language! I have spoken to many church people who acknowledge that BAM is necessary. Still they often do not know how to approach it and teach about it, one even confessed he is intimidated by business leaders in his church. Using Kent Humphreys’ metaphor in Shepherding Horses, business leaders are ‘horses’ in a church world of ‘shepherds and sheep’. However, as more business and church leaders acknowledge this, we can take more steps towards collaboration. – MN, Asia, Europe & USA

From the perspective of Christian business people in the marketplace, there is a growing awareness that they can repurpose their companies and vocational work to go beyond financial impact (the financial bottom line) and start investing their resources in ‘quadruple bottom lines’ – including social, environmental, spiritual, and other kinds of impact. – JF, Southeast Asia

Today as leader of the movement here in Brazil I can say that it has grown and strengthened and that there has never been a time when businessmen, entrepreneurs, and pastors are so aware of the importance of business for the Kingdom of God and for the Great Commission. – SB, Brazil

One encouraging development for me personally is that I will be teaching a BAM subject (Entrepreneurship, Business and Mission) in the Master of Leadership at a Christian institution this coming semester. Alphacrucis University College is genuinely interested in BAM now and approached me to teach the subject. I have high hopes that some BAM businesses will be established via the practical component of assessment in the subject. – RSH, Australia


A developing business as mission ecosystem, growing in size and functionality, that collaborates together to support BAM companies – including investment funds, incubation initiatives, and support networks of all kinds.

I’ve been encouraged by the empowerment for those who are interested in serving through BAM. There has been a significant increase in the number of coaches, training systems, and networks available to help prepare individuals to be successful in both business and ministry. This is a crucial development, as it provides those involved in BAM to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively reach out to the lost and share the gospel while learning the tools to create viable thriving businesses with a greater chance of success in both realms. – CN&SK, Southeast Asia

Although we started our company over 20 years ago, as a practitioner much of that time I’ve been more focused on our family and running our business in a challenging context than on the wider network. That has made it challenging to see the broader picture beyond what’s happening in our company. I guess the biggest thing to me is just that there IS a BAM community now that understands, collaborates and encourages – that was non-existent back in the day and what a beautiful thing that is. As a human, it has truly been a giant helpful hug to be with like-hearted people but it’s also been a practical community. This community immediately started to get connected around our company and the practical issues of a restart after Covid and other challenging circumstances. – NC, South Asia

One encouraging development, which is of particular relevance to me, is the growth of BAM funding initiatives. This is still to a large degree in its infancy, but from earlier days when this was a completely pioneering concept, the movement now includes a lot more participants. I take this as a good thing on the whole. The movement obviously has a long way to go, and a lot of lessons to learn, but we’re making progress! – PS, Canada, MENA & Asia

The rise of BAM investors (Legacy Ventures Network, FDI, Talenton, Lions’ Den to name a few) is enabling BAM companies to dream big and to scale both their businesses and their kingdom impact. Professional standards and practices will serve to make BAM stronger and more enduring. – MB, USA

The development of online meetings under the auspices of BAM Global in 2021 has attracted attention from Australia and there is now interest in developing a ‘BAM Australia Network.’ At least one of those interested in this was a member of the Lausanne 2003 Consultation Group twenty years ago and has been active in BAM for many years, including in BAM businesses in southeast Asia and mezzanine finance for BAM businesses. I believe efforts will be ramped up in 2023. – RSH, Australia

Larger amounts of money are being released for investment into BAM. Thirty years ago, it was so difficult to even talk about it without sounding greedy or worldly. Investment is of two types: That which is at risk of loss (smaller) and that which is expected to be returned on time to the investor (larger). The maturing that is taking place is that investors know they may lose their money in some companies, and so are willing to part with some of it for the purposes of a kingdom gain.– MN, Asia, Europe & USA

One of the characteristics of the Korean BAM movement is integration. The International BAM Alliance (IBA) has been the biggest network for the BAM movement in Korea since 2008. When it started out, every year a group of 100 friends got together to share their experiences and to encourage one another. The leaders from three areas such as entrepreneurs, missionaries, and church pastors were carefully selected and invited so that they could cooperate. Over 15 years, the fellowship has become stronger and so are their interactions.  Under the leadership of Dr. Daniel Lee, who is the third person in this role, there is growing participation of young entrepreneurs, IT ventures, angel funding companies, and so on. I see this as very encouraging. – SC, Korea


That business as mission is not growing in isolation, but we are part of a wider move of God in the marketplace. We need to be aware of this broader development and the potential for partnership, even as we continue to call people to BAM and grow our own community of practice.

What encouraged me the most was seeing that even with little material on the BAM subject in our language and little visibility through churches and seminars, people who heard about BAM were impacted tremendously, as they testified that this vision was already something God was waking them up to. So our talks, social media posts, or online events brought clarity about what God was doing in the midst of business – and that it was real!  – SB, Brazil

There is a growing awareness from pastors and churches that the marketplace is a great mission field to serve and shaping their mission mindset to equip businessmen and professionals for Kingdom work in their own spheres of influence. – JF, Southeast Asia

Work is now recognised as an expression of worship rather than as a necessary evil. – PS, Canada, MENA & Asia

In Africa, the attitude towards business and business people has become more positive, particularly in Kenya, Uganda , Ethiopia and Nigeria. – DT, East Africa

In Australia it much of the discussion relating to BAM since about 2015 has been influenced strongly by theology of work. Theology of work has been taken up by some of the Christian higher education institutions (roughly equivalent to private universities) and incorporated into business, management and leadership programs. The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity has been a major influence. Thus, there has been an emphasis on work rather than broader issues of BAM as it is understood by BAM Global. – RSH, Australia

We usually try to train the marginalised people in their own communities – so the businesses started are not cross-cultural business but same-culture. The folks are generally not looking to leave their own communities but to stay and impact there. Many of the folks we train are not believers, but we still teach them biblical principles for running a business. We also seek for them to form community groups of the graduates where they can meet, encourage one another, get more training, and aim to impact their own community through their businesses. – LH, Africa, MENA, Europe & Asia

Look out for Part 2 next week on 3 Ways the BAM Movement is Growing: Diversifying, Learning & Multiplying

>> Read the BAM Manifesto in full

>> Read the Lausanne Occasional Paper on Business as Mission.

>> Download the BAM Manifesto in 17 languages here

>> Read next post: 3 Characteristics of a Growing BAM Movement: Diverse, Learning, Multiplying

 Jo Plummer is the co-chair of BAM Global and the author and editor of many business as mission papers and articles, including the BAM Global Think Tank Report series. She is a Lausanne Catalyst for Business as Mission and the co-editor of the Lausanne Occasional Paper on Business as Mission. She has been developing resources for BAM since 2001 and currently serves as Editor of this Business as Mission website and blog.



>> Watch short videos on the BAM Manifesto series here