Future BAM Challenges: Keeping Momentum in the Right Direction

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.

We asked a group of BAM leaders:

Looking back on the development of the BAM movement globally over the last one to two decades, do you think that a shared understanding created by the BAM Manifesto – and similar materials or opportunities for dialogue – have created growth/momentum in your region, network or sphere?

If yes, please share a little of the ‘how, why and what’ of that development. If no, please share what you feel has helped or what is still needed.

From the responses we’ve ‘charted’ the impact of the Manifesto on the BAM movement over the last few decades – read Part 1 ‘Pioneering Practitioners’ for a fuller introduction.

 

GRAPPLING WITH FUTURE CHALLENGES 2020s Onwards

At various times in the past twenty or so years, groups of BAM leaders have asked, ‘Where are the gaps, where are the pitfalls, what are we still wrestling with?’ These have been recurring questions in the past few years in particular, as we have contemplated ‘BAM 2.0’ two decades into intentional BAM collaboration – and especially as we prepared to come together at the BAM Global Congress in 2020 (though eventually disrupted by Covid).

The journey continues! We are still a relatively young movement and there is still much work to do and dangers to avoid for the future. One of the things we asked the twenty BAM leaders for this series was, ‘What are our current and future challenges? What is still needed to maximise future BAM growth and acceleration?’   Read more

Global BAM Ecosystem Growth and Multiplication

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.

We asked a group of BAM leaders:

Looking back on the development of the BAM movement globally over the last one to two decades, do you think that a shared understanding created by the BAM Manifesto – and similar materials or opportunities for dialogue – have created growth/momentum in your region, network or sphere?

If yes, please share a little of the ‘how, why and what’ of that development. If no, please share what you feel has helped.

From the responses we’ve ‘charted’ the impact of the Manifesto on the BAM movement over the last few decades – read Part 1 ‘Pioneering Practitioners’ for a fuller introduction.

 

BAM ECOSYSTEM GROWTH & MULTIPLICATION Late 2000s & 2010s

The initial burst of BAM networking, advocacy and resource development in the early 2000s – including the publishing of the Lausanne Occasional Paper on BAM and the BAM Manifesto – helped to lay the foundation for a multiplication of regional networks and BAM initiatives over the following 10-15 years and resulted in the greater mobilisation of new BAM practitioners.

Ecosystem builders began to intentionally support and connect BAM companies and helped the identification and spread of fruitful practices. And while business people and companies are the central constituency in the BAM movement, there was also growing acceptance and understanding among the other key BAM constituencies of mission, church and academia. Read more

Creed or Conversation Starter? Creating a Shared BAM Understanding

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.

We asked a group of BAM leaders:

Looking back on the development of the BAM movement globally over the last one to two decades, do you think that a shared understanding created by the BAM Manifesto – and similar materials or opportunities for dialogue – have created growth/momentum in your region, network or sphere?

If yes, please share a little of the ‘how, why and what’ of that development. If no, please share what you feel has helped.

From the responses we’ve ‘charted’ the impact of the Manifesto on the BAM movement over the last few decades – read Part 1 ‘Pioneering Practitioners’ for a fuller introduction.

 

CREATING SHARED UNDERSTANDING Late 1990s & Early 2000s

The late 1990s saw some early conversation and collaborative efforts among a small network of pioneer BAM practitioners and mission thinkers, with a couple of first books published and the term business as mission emerging through early dialogue. This led to a sudden acceleration of activity globally in the early 2000s which can only have been instigated by the Holy Spirit! Within a few short years from 2000 to 2005, the first full BAM conferences took place, networking/advocacy teams were established, the first websites launched, training courses pioneered, the first BAM investment fund began, key regional consultations started, and a small wave of further books were published.

In 2002 and 2003 the first ‘think tank’ effort for BAM was initiated, convening under the auspices of the Lausanne Movement, and a direct predecessor of BAM Global. This was the first attempt to gather a significant number of practitioners, as well as mission, church and academic leaders, to bring some consensus around the concept and practice of business as mission. In total over 90 individuals worked virtually together and around 70 convened face-to-face in November 2004, to produce the Lausanne Occasional Paper on Business as Mission (2004), a landmark collaborative effort – of which the BAM Manifesto was a concluding one-page call to action. Read more

Charting the Course of the BAM Movement: Pioneering Practitioners

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 BAM Manifesto was conceived twenty years ago this year. To celebrate this milestone, we asked twenty BAM leaders whether, in their view, the Manifesto had impacted the business as mission movement, and if so how. These included practitioners, capacity builders and network leaders, representing different regions and constituencies.

We asked them:

Looking back on the development of the BAM movement globally over the last one to two decades, do you think that a shared understanding created by the BAM Manifesto – and similar materials or opportunities for dialogue – have created growth/momentum in your region, network or sphere?

If yes, please share a little of the ‘how, why and what’ of that development. If no, please share what you feel has helped.

One of our contributors suggested the Manifesto could be a ‘map’ for BAM practitioners to help them achieve their goals. Inspired by that metaphor, we’ve ‘charted’ the impact of the Manifesto on the BAM movement over the last few decades. Over the next few posts, we’ll share the stages of BAM movement growth that we observed in the responses we received:

 

PIONEERING PRACTITIONERS 1980s & 1990s

Although the interweaving of business and mission is nothing new and has occurred at various points throughout church history, the emergence of the contemporary BAM movement can be traced back to the 1980s and 1990s. During those years a small number of early pioneers began to practice what would come to be known as ‘business as mission’ before any unifying term had been coined for it. Prior to that, during the 1970s and 1980s, the practice and concept of ‘tentmaking’ had become more familiar. In the late 1990s out of a number of small discussion groups and conferences, the name ‘business as mission’ began to emerge as a distinct label for a small, but growing wave of integrated business-mission models. Other terms such as transformational business, business for transformation (B4T), missional entrepreneurship, plus many more in other languages, have also been used. Much more important than the specific label was an emerging dialogue around the concept, plus early networking efforts, that came right at the end of the 1990s. Read more

3 Characteristics of a Growing BAM Movement: Diverse, Learning, Multiplying

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 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 a first post last week, we introduced the first three themes in, 3 Hallmarks of a Maturing BAM Movement.

In this second post, we will cover the second three themes that emerged from the responses:

3 Characteristics of a Growing BAM Movement

These characteristics are:

  • Diverse – growing in global depth and breadth
  • Learning – growing in understanding of fruitful BAM practice
  • Multiplying – growing in numbers

Here are the responses of those we asked:

1. DIVERSE

The business as mission movement is growing in terms of its diversity. BAM is a global, poly-centric movement. It is not a ‘west to the rest’ model, centered on a few places – it is already ‘anywhere to anywhere’ and is becoming ‘everywhere to everywhere’. BAM is innovating, evolving, and diversifying in terms of geographical spread, industry representation, and range of impact.

I’ve been involved in BAM since the early 1990s and, while the early days were pioneering and exciting, the developments of the last 5 years have been beyond encouraging. BAM has become (or perhaps has been revealed to be) a truly international movement of God. The national, ethnic, and strategic diversity – especially that came to light as the pandemic forced us to meet virtually – is astounding and proves this is a heavenly thing not an earthly, religious trend.  – MB, USA

Read more

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.

Introduction

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:

Read more

God’s Purposes for Work and Business: Our BAM Foundations

Every word of the BAM Manifesto is intentional and it begins like this:

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.

First Things First

Before we do anything else in BAM, we need to ask ourselves this question, “What are God’s purposes for work and business?” We can’t talk about ‘business as mission’ until we talk about ‘business’ – and what the Bible has to say about it.

Business is part of God’s good plan for human flourishing and has a God-designed power and role in human society. When we do business that is God-honouring, we are already responding to God’s mandate in Genesis 1 and 2 to steward the earth’s resources and enable human flourishing. That is because business has an innate God-given potential to create dignified jobs, multiply wealth and resources, provide for families and communities and push forward innovation and development in human society.

Business as mission then harnesses that God-given role and potential for human flourishing through business and applies it in God’s mission to the world, with greater intentionality and focus. That leads to us doing business in redemptive ways in our communities and across the globe, using the whole company as a response to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission: to love God and love others as ourselves, and to make disciples of all peoples, even to the ends of the earth. Read more

A Manifesto for Business as Mission

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.

Affirmations

  • 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.

Read more