Why We’re Passionate about Caring for God’s Creation: Photo Journal

Every BAM company is an environmental company. They are having an impact on the environment and the environment is having an impact on them. – Mark Polet

In December we ran a series on BAM and Creation Care on The BAM Review and on social media we asked readers to share their favourite photos of the environment to show us why creation care is at the heart of BAM!

This is why creation is worth caring for through our business as mission initiatives:

“The Tea garden I photographed means everything to me. It is where I started life as a school-going child, and my salvation experience came through in one such Tea garden. Moreover, I love mountains. I really love nature! I firmly believe they’re the best gift of God’s love and communication to us and to me in particular!! If we as humanity miss out on noticing and especially taking care of the good nature by protecting its habitat, we lose everything. I have done my best to engage in practices that encourage wildlife, for example a peacock, which is our national bird and of great importance roams around our house and we as a family notice them and even allow them the space they need in our premises too!!” – Callistus Read more

Restoring Barren Soils and Barren Hearts: Announcing [Re]Generation

Every BAM company is an environmental company. They are having an impact on the environment and the environment is having an impact on them. – Mark Polet

This month we are delighted to share a series on BAM and Creation Care on The BAM Review. While COP28 is focused on the crucial issue of climate in UAE right now, we know that creation care is much broader and that it’s God’s idea! As Christians in business, with a missional intention, we have a unique opportunity to be leaders creating positive environmental impact through enterprise. In their final post, Mark and Anugraha challenge us towards restoration and [Re]Generation.

By Mark Polet, with Anugraha Gaikwad

In our work, Challenge and Hope, we have made the link between regions with poor air quality and water stress to those who still need to hear the Good News.

Acute environmental damage and degradation is often to be found in places suffering dire poverty and in places relatively unreached with the gospel. This presents BAM practitioners and investors the challenge and opportunity to respond holistically with environmental solutions at the heart of their business model. Business as Mission companies serve people who face great environmental, even existential, challenges. BAM practitioners are on the ground already in many areas of the greatest need and are positioned to respond. [1]

Since then, Mark’s work in Central Asia has also shown that a similar link exists between barren soils and barren hearts, though, at this point the analysis is still qualitative.

Christ brings back flourishing to creation and to our hearts at the same time. All creation is restored through Him (see Colossians 1:15-20). Our passion is to restore barren lands even as we restore barren hearts.

In 2021, at the BAM Global Congress online, we celebrated those who have used their God-given talents to develop environmental technologies in the BAM space from Canada to Australia, and from Indonesia to India (watch Mark’s presentation from the Congress below). We called this the Environmental Technology Initiative.

Now, we are pleased to announce [Re]Generation: “Restoring the biome so generations can flourish.”  The flourishing is both spiritual and ecological. This new initiative will likely extend beyond business as mission in order to fulfill the restoration, but BAM is an important component.

Our goal is to integrate ecological restoration with the restoration of the heart. The exciting thing is that there are BAM companies already involved from micro-irrigation to regenerative agriculture, from soil science and ecological design. As well, interested professionals from related fields such as landscape architects and ecologists are ready to help. It is as if the Lord has already laid out the pieces there for us to assemble — to His Glory. Read more

How are We Doing? Integrating BAM and Creation Care

Every BAM company is an environmental company. They are having an impact on the environment and the environment is having an impact on them. – Mark Polet

This month we are delighted to share a series on BAM and Creation Care on The BAM Review. While COP28 is focused on the crucial issue of climate in UAE right now, we know that creation care is much broader and that it’s God’s idea! As Christians in business, with a missional intention, we have a unique opportunity to be leaders creating positive environmental impact through enterprise. In this second post, Mark and Anugraha explore how we are doing. 

By Anugraha Gaikwad with Mark Polet

It takes courage to start a business, especially in a new land among new people and culture. It takes even more courage to keep going and not pull down the shutter amidst the adversities and challenges. One does not necessarily have to hold a degree in business management or international relationships to start a business when the Lord asks you to. One must simply have a heart of compassion and humility and take the first steps. [1]

How are you doing?

Many of you are already doing that all over God’s good earth. Some of you are in areas prone to flash floods and landslides, while others are in areas stressed with depleting water levels, heavy smog, or poor soils. Some of you may lack the resources, institutions, or facilities to completely process your waste, while some may find it too expensive to change to more environmentally sustainable ways. So, how are you doing? In this blog, we will talk about the BAM journey to care for God’s creation, people and planet. We hope to provide some inspiration for those who are looking for ways to care for the garden God created, for us to work and tend.

In January 2020, BAM practitioners were polled about their environmental practices and the challenges therein. In the poll, 72% BAMers state that environmental stewardship is part of their business. However, a considerable 73% of the respondents have been unable to develop an Environmental Management System (EMS) in their organisation [2]. Where are you in your journey of environmental stewardship and what support do you need? Reach out to us in the comments via email to let us know.

Loving others and caring for creation

The most successful businesses are those that fail a lot, as they keep trying something new that hasn’t been done before. Be the kind of business that does what others won’t and can’t do.  If your neighbours face food and nutritional insecurity or lack clean drinking water, you could be the company to step into the gap. That is exactly what will make your organisation distinguished and sought after in the marketplace! It will not only create opportunities to care for the resources the Lord has blessed you with around your company, but will also make an impact on the people you work with by giving them dignity in the work they do and will be an opportunity to act out the love of our Father for your neighbours. Read more

Flourishing Creation: Our Why for Environmental Impact through BAM

Every BAM company is an environmental company. They are having an impact on the environment and the environment is having an impact on them. – Mark Polet

This month we are delighted to share a series on BAM and Creation Care on The BAM Review. While COP28 is focused on the crucial issue of climate in UAE right now, we know that creation care is much broader and that it’s God’s idea! As Christians in business, with a missional intention, we have a unique opportunity to be leaders creating positive environmental impact through enterprise. In this first post, Mark and Anugraha share the WHY.

By Mark Polet, with Anugraha Gaikwad

 

He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. – Mark 16:15

In the busyness of business it is often easy to lose sight of how our salvation is intimately tied with the flourishing of creation. The integration of good environmental discipline into a thriving business is an act of worship.

 

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

    The skies display his craftsmanship.

Day after day they continue to speak;

    night after night they make him known.

They speak without a sound or word;

    their voice is never heard.

Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,

    and their words to all the world.” Psalm 19:1-4

 

Praise the Lord from the earth,

You sea monsters and all deeps;

Fire and hail, snow and clouds,

Stormy wind, fulfilling God’s word;

Mountains and all hills,

Fruit trees and all cedars;

Beasts and all cattle;

Creeping things and winged fowl…

Let them praise the name of the Lord,

For God’s name alone is exalted;

God’s glory is above earth and heaven.” Psalm 148: 7–10, 13

 

We worship. Creation worships. We are singing in the same choir!

Every raw material you use in your business comes from that creation. You share that fact with every living being. Read more

The Power of Business to Take Good Care of our Planet

This month we are exploring different motives a missional entrepreneur may have for pursuing business as mission as their strategy of choice. In this fourth post, we are exploring the power of business to have a positive environmental impact and care for creation.

ALL businesses are environmental businesses and we need the BAM community to be leading the way in recognising this! That was the conclusion of the first published report from the BAM and Creation Care report series and the first major theme of the recent BAM and Creation Care Consultation:

That every BAM entity has the opportunity to grow in their care of creation.

While all BAM companies can become better environmental stewards, there has been a second major theme to the BAM and Creation Care Consultation:

The opportunity for some Christian entrepreneurs and investors to create new BAM companies that address critical environmental problems with innovative business solutions and new technologies.

Acute environmental damage and degradation is often to be found in places suffering dire poverty and in places relatively unreached with the gospel. This presents BAM practitioners and investors with the challenge and opportunity to respond holistically with environmental solutions at the heart of their business model.

This second theme will be the focus of the soon to be published third paper in the BAM and Creation Care series, ‘Challenge and Hope‘. This blog is an advance excerpt from this new paper, but if you can’t wait to read it, you can watch a video presentation of this content right now – see video below!

A New Perspective on God’s Good Earth

We want to take you on a journey of challenge and hope on God’s good Earth. And to do that we are going to start at the moon…

It has been 52 years since the crew of Apollo 8 circled the moon and took the now famous picture of the Earth rising over the desolate lunar surface. It is estimated a quarter of the earth’s population saw the Apollo 8 broadcasts, and the photo itself was an inspiration for the first Earth Day in 1970.

The Earth from Apollo 8 (Anders & Weigang)

The photo still evokes a sense of wonder. This little blue jewel framed by the lifeless moon and the vastness of space. Our precious, fragile, home.

On Christmas Eve, 1968, as the Apollo 8 astronauts rounded the moon for the ninth time, they read the first ten verses from the Book of Genesis back to Earth. They ended their reading with, “God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”  Read more

Be Part of the Solution: All Businesses are an Environmental Business

All businesses are an environmental business; and we need BAM to lead the way in recognising this!

We can stimulate a new wave of creation care-oriented business owners and entrepreneurs to being part of the solution with a ‘Kingdom of God’ approach to sustainability issues. It is no accident that encouragement, generosity, leadership and mercy go hand in hand in Romans 12:8. If BAM businesses can show these virtues to their clients, suppliers and employees, they will surprise and delight all with whom they come in contact, building collaboration to address these health, humanitarian and environmental challenges and help build sustainable supply chains.

Some people view businesses as negatively impacting the environment. However, it does not have to be this way. For example, businesses can be solutions in the needed areas of clean energy, wastewater treatment plants, plastic waste recycling plants or modern agricultural practices. A good profitable business model and good environmental stewardship can go hand in hand as BAM companies meet the market need for environmental technologies and solutions. Affordable and accessible clean water, clean energy and clean air technologies should be a priority. BAM practitioners can thus be stewards of a sustainable livelihood and the planet for God’s people around the world.

Those in the BAM community should not regard creation care as separate to financial sustainability or spiritual and social impact, but as a cross-cutting theme interwoven with the other three of these ‘bottom lines’ of business as mission. This intentionality of integrating creation care into the core of the business model and goals of the company can be vital in countries that are closed to traditional mission work, but where business is welcome. This is especially true if they are businesses that offer solutions to pressing environmental problems. Read more

Waste Not: Environmental Stewardship for BAM Practitioners

by Mark Polet

“And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” John 6:12-14

I want to focus on the text above of ‘so that nothing may be lost, (wasted)’. Jesus is following a tradition in central and west Asia of not wasting any food. To throw away food here in central Asia, even today, is a singularly bad thing.

Terri making Samanak

Terri and I just returned from working for a like-minded cleaning company that employs almost 150 people; the cleaning staff is mostly women. Lately in this capital city, shopping centres have opened up, bringing a western norm into contact with an Eurasian sensibility. These centres include food courts of which some of you are familiar. The company we serve has the contract to clean the shopping centre, which includes cleaning up the food court and the wasted food left on the plates.

Some of the cleaning women just cannot throw away this food; they break down in tears when they see it wasted. They are following Jesus’ command to the letter. Even when our colleague Enova tells them it is not their fault, that it is the customer that has to answer to God, the cleaning women just cannot dispose of the food. In some cases, they have had to be moved to other duties.

This waste, so new to this culture, is even more offensive when you consider the challenge it is to make a living here, now exacerbated by: poor wheat harvests in Eurasia last year; the inability to plant wheat in the midst of a war in Eurasia’s bread basket, the Ukraine; the lower value of the ruble, which has dragged down the local currency as well; and the loss of remittances sent home by the local men working in Russia and the Ukraine.

Perhaps we can learn from our central Asian colleagues in applying the principle of “Waste Not” to our BAM enterprises as part of our environmental commitment. The first step is to quantify you inputs and your outputs (including those outputs currently classified as waste).  Read more

Challenge and Hope: How Business Can Help the Planet and Its People Flourish [Video]

Video Presentation by Mark Polet

The people we want to reach are facing the greatest environmental, even existential challenges. BAMers are on the ground already in the areas of greatest need. This presentation explores how to meet these challenges with the Hope we share and the technical capabilities we can access.

>>More on Creation Care on The BAM Review blog here

Read more

Colonising Earth with the Life of Heaven: Creation Care & Mission

by Caroline Pomeroy

Last month I visited a lively Anglican church in my local town. It was ‘Mission Sunday’ and to illustrate this to the children, the leader stuck post-it notes onto a giant inflatable globe, each yellow note signifying one of the church’s mission partners. He then asked people to remind him what Mark 16:15 says. ‘Go and evangelise all the people in the world’ was the first response…

These few minutes highlighted two things for me – first, a popular misconception about what the Good News means; and secondly the challenges of doing global mission in a climate crisis.

Good News to All Creation

At the end of Mark’s gospel, Jesus calls the first disciples to ‘… go and preach the good news to all creation.’ Although opinions differ on the exact interpretation of this phrase, a reading of other versions of the Great Commission – and indeed the whole of the bible – implies that there is more to the Good News than just saving human souls. In Matthew 28:19 the disciples are told to ‘… go and make disciples…’. A disciple is someone who loves God and loves their neighbour. So the process of disciple-making must include the practical outworking of loving God and neighbour. But how can we say we love our neighbours if, as a result of the way we live and do business, our global neighbours’ crops are failing due to climate change; our future neighbours’ homes will be under water by the end of the century; and our non-human neighbours’ habitat is disappearing due our demand for palm oil or coffee?

In Genesis chapters 1 and 2, Adam and Eve, made in God’s likeness, are given authority to ‘rule over’ creation on God’s behalf.  But just as Jesus, the Servant King, exercises loving dominion over His kingdom, this first Great Commission in Genesis 1-2 is about dominion, not domination. Humankind is called to serve and preserve the earth and all its creatures, not to dominate and exploit them.  Read more

Why Should We Care About Creation Care?

by Mats Tunehag

We know we are to be good stewards of creation. Those are God’s instructions to humans in Genesis 1 & 2 – especially Gen.1:28, often known as the ‘creation mandate’ (also ‘cultural mandate).

In the Business as Mission (BAM) movement we typically talk about the quadruple bottom line of social, spiritual, environmental and economic impact:

In and through business we want to:

  • serve people,
  • align with God’s purposes,
  • be good stewards of the planet,
  • and make a profit.

But how are we doing in the BAM community with stewardship of the planet? How are BAM companies leading the way in positive environmental change?

We know from our work in the BAM Global Network that creation care and environmental stewardship is a relatively weak area for BAM companies, and and that BAM practitioners feel under-resourced and overwhelmed by this challenge. Creation care is a topic in much need of further exploration in the BAM movement, which is why we are focusing on BAM and Creation Care again on The BAM Review this month. Read more