The BAM Manifesto is about to celebrate a significant milestone! It was conceived 20 years ago this year, as we began work with the Business as Mission Consultation Group in 2003. This Consultation was commissioned by the Lausanne Movement, that was systematically looking at the most critical mission issues of the day. Business as mission was one of those issues and remains so.
This unique collaborative work on business as mission involved nearly 100 people working virtually together over the course of a year. This work culminated in a face-to-face meeting of 70 group members at the Lausanne Forum in 2004. The outcome was the first truly global conversation and a fledgling network for business as mission — and of course the Lausanne Occasional Paper on Business as Mission (BAM LOP).
The BAM Manifesto was the final chapter of the BAM LOP, designed to be a one-page foundational document and call to action for the growing movement. This Manifesto has subsequently taken on a life of its own and has been translated into at least 17 languages. Over the past two decades, it has had a significant part to play in building a shared understanding across the BAM community. Furthermore, it has been key in growing the business as mission movement globally and remains a foundational statement for us today. In this new blog series, we take the different parts of the BAM Manifesto as inspiration and explore them in the context of current BAM practice and the still-growing movement, twenty years on.
To kick off the series, here is the BAM Manifesto in full:
Business as Mission Manifesto
The Lausanne 2004 Forum Business as Mission Issue Group worked for a year, addressing issues relating to God’s purposes for work and business, the role of business people in church and missions, the needs of the world and the potential response of business. 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. These are some of our observations.
- We believe that God has created all men & women in His image with the ability to be creative, creating good things for themselves and for others – this includes business.
- We believe in following in the footsteps of Jesus, who constantly and consistently met the needs of the people he encountered, thus demonstrating the love of God and the rule of His kingdom.
- We believe that the Holy Spirit empowers all members of the Body of Christ to serve, to meet the real spiritual and physical needs of others, demonstrating the kingdom of God.
- We believe that God has called and equipped business people to make a Kingdom difference in and through their businesses.
- We believe that the Gospel has the power to transform individuals, communities and societies. Christians in business should therefore be a part of this holistic transformation through business.
- We recognise the fact that poverty and unemployment are often rampant in areas where the name of Jesus is rarely heard and understood.
- We recognise both the dire need for and the importance of business development. However, it is more than just business per se. Business as Mission is about business with a Kingdom of God perspective, purpose and impact.
- We recognise that there is a need for job creation and for multiplication of businesses all over the world, aiming at the quadruple bottom line: spiritual, economical, social and environmental transformation.
- We recognise the fact that the church has a huge and largely untapped resource in the Christian business community to meet needs of the world – in and through business – and bring glory to God in the market place and beyond.
We call upon the Church world wide to identify, affirm, pray for, commission and release business people and entrepreneurs to exercise their gifts and calling as business people in the world – among all peoples and to the ends of the earth.
We call upon business people globally to receive this affirmation and to consider how their gifts and experience might be used to help meet the world’s most pressing spiritual and physical needs through Business as Mission.
The real bottom line of Business as Mission is AMDG – ad maiorem Dei gloriam – for the greater glory of God.
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.
Mats Tunehag is a senior global ambassador for BAM and has worked in over half the countries of the world. He is the chairman of BAM Global and contributes to TransformationalSME.org. Visit MatsTunehag.com for BAM resources in 23 languages.