BAM and the Church: Unleashing the Power of the Congregation in the Global Marketplace

We believe the local church can effectively disciple and equip their members to have a positive influence on the marketplace – and especially the spheres of business and economics – with the complete understanding that God said it is ‘very good’.

While the modern business as mission movement has been growing and expanding globally for several decades, much of this growth has been outside of local church contexts. Yet the BAM Manifesto, published twenty years ago, thoroughly grounded this movement in the global Church when it ended with these recommendations:

We call upon the Church worldwide to identify, affirm, pray for, commission and release businesspeople and entrepreneurs to exercise their gifts and calling as businesspeople in the world – among all peoples and to the ends of the earth.

We call upon businesspeople 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.

In 2014, BAM Global further identified three major goals for the BAM movement, our ‘BAM BHAGs‘. The third of these goals is ‘Transform views of business in the Church worldwide’. To this end, we are committed:

…to change the thinking of the global church on business. BAM Global will positively engage with leaders in business, church, missions, and academia to influence attitudes about business, wealth creation, work, and economics and affirm business as a God-given gift and calling. Business as mission is about realizing this new paradigm in the marketplace.

The Church Gathered Empowering the Church Scattered

These recommendations and goals are powerful reminders of the vital role played by both the church gathered and the church scattered in business as mission.

The ‘church gathered’ is the gathering of the saints in specific geographical areas, that is believers joined together in their local institutional church congregation or assembly, be it part of a denomination or an independent assembly. The ‘church scattered’ is Christ’s disciples spread throughout society, living out their faith within the home, neighbourhood, community or workplace.

The newly published BAM Global Report on BAM and the Church aims to rediscover the power, potential and synergy that flows out of a strong relationship between the local church gathered and the church scattered in the marketplace.

The Church as God’s Strategic Mission Initiative

While salvation is an individual decision, its outworking happens in community. The individual becomes part of the body of Christ, part of the community (priesthood) of believers.

Thus God has brilliantly designed the local church as an organic and institutional entity that would be a faithful presence in a local community and have multi-generational continuity over time. [1] Indeed, the church as the body of believers is described as God’s temple (1 Cor 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16; Eph 2:21-22), beloved by Jesus (Eph 5:1-2,23; Rev 21:2), and part of God’s plan for human flourishing (Eph 3:8-11).

We could view the local church, perhaps especially in denominations, as a vast distribution system throughout the world, strategically placed for mission to their community and beyond. As Tom Nelson puts it in Whatever You Do: Six Foundations for an Integrated Life, ‘The local church is Plan A. We simply do not see a Plan B in the inspired pages of Scripture’ . [2]

Therefore, the global Church in itself is a strategic mission initiative, central to fulfilling ‘missio Dei’ – the mission of God. In that role, a priority for church leaders is to ‘equip the saints’ (Eph 4:11-12), to be the Church as it scatters during the work week, to be light to the world and leaven to permeate communities.

BAM and the Church: Consultation and New Report

In the past two years, BAM Global has supported a Consultation on the subject of BAM and the Church, continuing their call to the ‘Church worldwide’ regarding business as mission that began with the BAM Manifesto. A group of men and women from around the world met over a period of 14 months, with regular video calls to further discussion and to produce a BAM and the Church Report that will be a resource for the business as mission community and the global Church.

This work focused on exhorting the global Church and local church expressions to equip and disciple business people to do their business as unto the Lord, with the particular application to business as mission in mind. Church leaders are an important constituency within the BAM movement and the Consultation focused on their unique role in equipping, mobilising and supporting those business people in their congregations who will start and run BAM companies.

This resulting BAM Global BAM and the Church Report was published earlier this month, aiming to build a bridge between the leaders of local churches and those Christians called to be ‘marketplace ministers’—and to help them reengage and find common ground. To this end, the report focuses on four main areas:

1. Overcoming Theological Hindrances: Exploring some of the significant theological beliefs that have hindered the church from fulfilling its role as an equipper of disciples in the marketplace and how to overcome them.

2. Identifying Structural Obstacles: How the local church is structured has significant impact on what it does or does not do and the report examines the impact of structure on message and methods.

3. Recognising Cultural Challenges: Acknowledging the marvel of the Church in its international and ethnic variety, the report examines some of the unique cultural challenges that impact various national and ethnic environments from each continent.

4. Sharing Case Studies: Giving real examples to illustrate the positive impact when the church gathered and the church scattered reengage with each other.

The BAM and the Church Report also contains recommendations and resources, including a self-assessment tool for both pastors or church leaders, and church members.

A Workplace Parish…

Early mission expansion and Church growth through trade and business provides a template for us today to train and equip every disciple to be salt and light and leaven in every area of work and life – with the goal of fulfilling the Great Commission. We call for a return to recognising, understanding, and unleashing this ‘power in the pew’.

We seek to remember that, ‘Every priest has a parish, and the priests sitting in the pews are no different. Their parish, during the week, is their workplace. This is the place they have been called to live out their priestly calling.’ [3]

The Business as Mission (BAM) movement highlights the potential for every Christian in every marketplace to be ambassadors of the gospel – priests in their own parish – as they do their business as an act of worship, with the backing and covering of the local church.

Our prayer is that disciples of Jesus in the marketplace will be committed to making him known to the nations by word and deed. May the local church and the Church globally grow in its capacity to equip these disciples to be a light to the world in their companies and communities.


Adapted excerpts from the BAM and the Church Report. Download the full report free on the BAM Global website.

 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.



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[1] Bobo, Luke, Amy Sherman, Michael Goheen, Gary Black, Vincent Bacote, Greg Forster, Tom Nelson, and Matt Rusten. Whatever You Do: Six Foundations for an Integrated Life. Made to Flourish, 2018, p. 93.

[2] Tom Nelson quoted in Bobo et al (2018) p. 94. See [1].

[3] Kaemingk, Matthew, Cory B. Willson, and Nicholas Wolterstorff. Work and Worship. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2020, p55.