A Business as Mission Crisis: How Can We Pray?

by Larry Sharp

During these days of uncertainty due to the worldwide coronavirus, business startups are hurting, and many of them will fail due to the outbreak of COVID-19. This is particularly true of BAM startup businesses, which are affected in many ways.

Just today as I write this, I received an appeal from a Freedom Business in India to encourage others to buy their product on-line.  I also received a note from a person who works as an HR-disciple making person in a business in Cambodia. She is losing her visa and needs to return to the USA within 30-days due to new regulations connected to the virus.

Here are some ways to PRAY based on what we know right now:

1. For wisdom for business owners who have very little margin or capacity for downsizing and will ultimately need to make hard decisions.

2. For the poor who desperately need the jobs that BAM companies are providing, and now face job loss.

3. For innovative means of providing capital. Some of the ways may include increased donations or short-term low-interest loans to BAM businesses.

4. For God’s people in the west who have expertise and can provide a helpline; that they will make themselves available and know where their help can be best applied.

5. For innovators and inventors to have their creative juices unleashed to develop solutions which will help BAM businesses in this difficult time.

6. For leaders connected to many BAM/B4t businesses who are right now considering options for how to help – RN, PL, CS, MT, JP, RB and others.

7. That all believers will respond toward the most vulnerable in ways similar to how Christians responded in other pandemics. Check out this link.

 

Mats Tunehag has also adapted St. Patrick’s prayer to use during this time, either as a BAM company leader or to pray for others in the BAM community.

 

READ MORE FROM MATS TUNEHAG >> The Coronavirus Pandemic and BAM: Seven Things We Can Do

 

This post has been adapted from an article on the IBEC Ventures Blog, with kind permission of Larry Sharp.

larry sharpLarry Sharp is the Founder and current Director of Strategic Training and Partnerships of a Business for Transformation (BAM, B4t) consulting firm, International Business and Education Consultants (www.ibecventures.com). Larry served 21 years in Brazil and then 20 years as Crossworld VP of Operations and as Vice President of Business Partnerships. He is currently a VP Emeritus and consultant with Crossworld. Since 2007 he has devoted energies toward Business as Mission (BAM) and currently is a consultant on BAM and education themes. Larry travels within North America speaking and teaching in conferences, colleges and churches on themes related to Business As Mission (BAM, B4t) and missions.  His travels abroad relate to BAM, crisis preparation and management, and team building. 

 

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

The Coronavirus Pandemic and BAM: Seven Things We Can Do

by Mats Tunehag

The effects of the coronavirus are disruptive beyond comprehension. The situation is changing by the hour. The consequences vary from difficult to dire for billions of people, and nobody knows what the timeline is for this crisis.

Media across the world updates us constantly on the negative effects on businesses and on people’s lives, so this short article will have a different focus: what can we do?

But first let’s note that throughout history the Church has a track record of serving others in the midst of major plagues and catastrophes.

The sociologist Rodney Stark has written (in The Rise of Christianity) that one reason the church overcame hostility and grew so rapidly within the Roman empire traces back to how Christians responded to pandemics of the day, which probably included bubonic plague and smallpox.  When infection spread, Romans fled their cities and towns; Christians stayed behind to nurse and feed not only their relatives but their pagan neighbors.” (Living in Plague Times – Phillip Yancy)

Why has the Church done this for centuries and why should we do it now? One fundamental reason is that we are to love God and our neighbors, and the two are connected. As Bishop Barron says: “Why are the two commandments so tightly linked? Because of who Jesus is. Christ is not simply a human being, and he is not simply God; rather, he is the God-man, the one in whose person divinity and humanity meet. Therefore, it is impossible to love him as God without loving the humanity that he has embraced. The greatest commandment is, therefore, an indirect Christology.” [1]

Many businesses are facing challenges with cashflow, lockdown, sales, having to let staff go, supply chain disruptions, bankruptcies, et cetera. So, what can we do now?

Let me suggest seven areas for action as it relates to BAM businesses and the global BAM community. We also invite you to add your suggestions.

Please do share your thoughts and suggestions by responding to our Reader Survey

1. Pray

Seek God, listen to Him.

  • Pray for BAMers and BAM businesses.
  • Pray for divine wisdom and intervention.
  • Pray for creative thinking and innovative solutions.
  • Use St. Patrick’s BAM prayer, available in five languages.
  • Ask friends in business how you can pray for them!
  • Start or join online prayer groups for BAMers and businesses

Please check Larry Sharp’s helpful blog for some ideas on BAM-related prayer points.

How else can we pray for BAMers and BAM business?

2. Buy

We can help BAM businesses by engaging their services and buying their products:

  • Support local businesses by buying their products and services when possible.
  • Shop online.
  • Do your Christmas shopping now!
  • Buy gifts and give to neighbors, family and people in need.

How else can we help businesses, both local and far away?

3. Give

There is a need for financial, intellectual and social capital.

Loans:

Many businesses face issues with sales, revenue and cashflow, and could benefit from donations and loans. We need contingency funds.

Advice:

Can you help a business with advice, can you be a coach and mentor? You may be an experienced business person who has gone through tough times and learned important lessons.

Connections:

Can you help connect BAM business with people who can help? With sales? Marketing? Access to loans? To support peer groups?

Do you know of contingency funds? Mentors that are willing, qualified and available? Practical suggestions regarding helpful connections?

4. Remember the poor

The coronavirus crisis affects the poor more than most others. Millions of self-employed have lost their jobs and thus income. There are even more people who are day laborers who work in the informal economy, have no safety nets, and in a lockdown situation they may lose income day 1, and may be out of food soon after. And they have limited access to healthcare. [2]

The mantra many of us hear – “work from home, wash your hands frequently, and keep physical distance” – is not possible for millions of people.

Some headlines from India, Africa and Nepal:

India’s poorest ‘fear hunger may kill us before coronavirus’ 

In Africa, social distancing is a privilege few can afford

Daily wage workers are more worried about starving to death than Covid-19

One group in Thailand provides care packages of food to vulnerable women in the sex industry, who lost their daily earnings because of lockdown.

Another example is an African American woman in North Carolina, USA, who “feeds more than 100 families every day during the COVID-19 pandemic”, see report and video.

What other encouraging initiatives do you know of?

5. Learn

Many of us have to stay home, and this may open up opportunities to study. Being mindful that our present crisis is unique,  albeit not the first one, we should also study lessons learnt from previous significant world changing events. We should also – even now – try to draw lessons in and from the present crisis.

Let me give a few concrete suggestions:

  • In a time of “corona imposed monasticism”: let the Word of God come alive, learn from those who have gone before us, and enjoy God’s creation. See Bishop Barron’s reflections of these three things in this video.
  • Check the BAM Global Reports and study two foundational documents for the BAM Movement: The BAM Manifesto and the Wealth Creation Manifesto.
  • In a time with major dramatic changes we should remind ourselves about countries which have been transformed in our lifetime. It will give hope and inspiration during these stressful times. Learn from Israel, Singapore and Rwanda, which have succeeded against many odds. See four recommended books in footnote.[3]

I am just now reading a book which describes, analyses and compares 12 Church encyclicals from 1891 to 2009.[4] They deal with topics like business, wealth creation, profit, workers rights, private property, democracy, socialism, theology of work, human dignity, human rights, free markets, democratic capitalism – all from a Bible based perspective mindful of both historical roots and contexts.[5] One of the best is the John Paul II encyclical from 1991: Centesimus Annus.[6] I also warmly recommend the book!

What books, articles, videos, and podcasts do you recommend? What are you learning?

6. Regroup

This global crisis is bigger and more complex than we have ever experienced before in our generation. We are not just going through it and coming back to normal. Things are and will be changing. Thus, we need to review our business presuppositions, and possibly regroup even now. There are of course also new business opportunities during and after the crisis.

Praxis is “a creative engine for redemptive entrepreneurship, supporting founders, funders, and innovators motivated by their faith to renew culture and love their neighbors”. Three of Praxis’ leaders have written a thought-provoking essay dealing with these issues: “In this essay we will explain why we think that for most organizations — businesses, nonprofits, and even churches — this is a time to urgently redesign our work.” This is highly recommended reading!

What are you and your business and/or organization doing to regroup?

7. Don’t give up!

Why pursue BAM? God wants it, the world needs it and we are called to it! It is part of a greater godly plan which the Jews call tikkun olam: repairing the world.[7] We are living in the tension of the world that is and the world as it ought to be. Thus, we pray “may your Kingdom come, and may your will be done on earth as in heaven”.

Tikkun olam means co-creating with God, bridging the gap of the world which is to a world as it ought to be. During and after the corona crisis we are to repair and heal people’s lives and improve the world, bringing hope and healing to the world, also through business.

As the markets plunge due to the corona crisis, let us learn from Jeremiah: “The prospects were not good. Actually really bad, even disastrous. The city was under siege, and everything pointed towards a defeat. People would be assaulted, hurt and killed; houses burnt down and the remaining citizens of Jerusalem would be deported to a foreign land. In this doomsday context the prophet Jeremiah was told by God to make an investment – in the doomed city!

Sounds like bad advice, maybe like investing during the corona crisis. But God showed that the marketplace will be restored again one day, and God was engaged to that end, and He still is. See my earlier blog God Restores the Market Place.

As we pursue BAM and tikkun olam, we mustn’t lose hope or give up as we are facing tough times. Emmanuel – God is with us.

Mats Tunehag

PS. Please share your thoughts and suggestions here:

 

Now also available in Russian: Пандемия коронавируса и «Бизнес как Миссия»: семь вещей, которые мы можем делать

DutchDe Corona Pandemie & BAM; 7 dingen die we kunnen doen

SpanishLA PANDEMIA DE CORONAVIRUS Y BAM: 7 COSAS QUE PODEMOS HACER

And PortugueseA PANDEMIA DO CORONAVIRUS E O BAM: 7 COISAS QUE PODEMOS FAZER

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 19 languages.

 

 

 

 

Footnotes

1. Bishop Barron’s reflection on today’s gospel reading from Mark 12:28 – 34, on March 20, 2020. 

2. These are very vulnerable people who in some cases also are badly treated when they are just trying to survive these dire circumstances, see for example this report.

3. Israel is an example of a small nation with limited natural resources and with hostile neighbors, which has been transformed to a prosperous world-leading innovator. Singapore was poor and became independent in 1965. It looked at Israel as a model. Today it is another world-leading country; amazingly well functioning, green, safe, clean, and prosperous. Rwanda went from a genocide and devastated country in 1994, to become a beacon in many ways in sub-Saharan Africa. It gleaned on Israel and Singapore.

* Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, by Dan Senor &Saul Singer

* From Third World to First: The Singapore Story – 1965-2000, by Lee Kuan Yew

* Rwanda, Inc.: How a Devastated Nation Became an Economic Model for the Developing World, by Patricia Crisafulli and Andrea Redmond

* Beating the Odds Together: 50 Years of Singapore-Israel Ties, by Mattia Tomba. 2019

4. Papal Economics: The Catholic Church on democratic Capitalism, by Maciej Zieba. 2013

5. The world has gone through major changes in the last 150 years, sometimes through major wars and political upheavals. The industrialization, unbridled capitalism, the growth of dictatorial communism, the end of the cold war, and the greatest lift out of poverty in the history of mankind – which has happened through business. Significant Christian thinking has gone into analyzing these developments from Biblical and church related perspectives.

6. The context is the upheaval of the cold war, the collapse of communism, and a cataclysmic change for hundreds of millions of people. Read Encyclical here.

7. Learn more about the concept, and how Israel applies it. I also strongly recommend a lecture by Rabbi Sacks: To heal a fractured world.

 

 

 

50+ BAM Job Opportunities Around the World

Each quarter we post an updated list of BAM Job Opportunities on The BAM Review. Welcome to the March 2020 edition.

 

Senior Web Engineer – Equakecreative – Remote/Contract

Equakecreative is a branding and product development agency based in San Diego, California since 1999. We assist our partners by telling their incredible stories online and build products that fans love and deeply engage with. Our expertise has allowed us to work alongside many world-class partners and brands. We’d be thrilled for you to bring your skills and leadership to our team, accelerating our mission to impact businesses around the globe in the most positive way. The Senior Web Engineer will be responsible for designing, developing, and testing technical solutions and contributing to the team delivering a quality product that meets the client requirements. The engineer should also have a solid understanding of American major league sports including but not limited to NFL, NBA, and NHL. They will also act as a mentor within the overall team.

Download job description

 

Various Positions – IT Company in North India

Envision yourself as part of a team built on the foundation of servant leadership, where we intentionally support each other in growth as individuals and a company. Since 2001, we have been working in India providing businesses in the West affordable and quality IT resources to keep their companies growing, while creating local jobs that build team direction and personal growth.  We’d love for you to bring your skills and leadership to our team, accelerating our growth so that we can impact more lives globally.

Business Development: Acts as the lungs of our business, working strategically to qualify and turn prospects into long term clients. This person works from their home office (or co-working space) closing deals that will be delivered by our software teams in India. Download job description| Apply Online

Account Manager: Grows trustful relationship with our clients in order to create multi-project, mutually fruitful relationships. Focuses on staging the projects and coaching the delivery team toward success in our offices in India. Download job description | Apply Online

Technologist in India: Works closely with our development and testing teams in India to encourage continuous learning and quality products via strategic processes. Download job description | Apply Online

College Student Intern in India: Soaks up an immersive multicultural experience along with the most practical real-life education on the market—all while creating value and becoming an integral part of our team. Download job description | Apply Online

Gap Year Internship in India: Acts as a Jack-of-all-Trades by flexibly taking on different responsibilities and projects throughout the entire company, providing real value while also gaining multicultural experience in the many different components of business. Download job description | Apply Online

 

Various Positions – Khalibre, Software Development in Cambodia

Working with Khalibre means changing lives:

  • Locally- in Cambodia by providing discipleship opportunities, professional skills development and real jobs.
  • Globally- our enterprise software helps 1,000’s of missionaries spread the gospel around the world.

We are looking for women and men with good technical skills and a desire for cross cultural missions.

Find out more about the company Khalibre and our product Crosswired.

Technology Coach and Mentor – Are you an experienced software engineer who is able to design and implement complex social network and enterprise solutions for a global audience?  Link to job description

Software Project Manager / Product Owner – Are you an experienced software project manager or product owner who is able to design enterprise web solutions for a global audience? Link to job description

Liferay Technical Architect – Looking for an experienced technical architect who is able to design and implement Liferay solutions and be an agent of transformation in peoples’ lives in Cambodia.  Link to job description

Business Analyst– Are you an experienced Business Analyst who is able to design enterprise web solutions for a global audience, creating impact through excellent work, sharing expertise and building friendships. Link to job description

Front End Web Developer – Are you an experienced front end web developer with good UX skills for enterprise web solutions? If you want to do excellent work, share expertise and build friendships then this cross-cultural mission challenge is for youContact here

Visual & Interaction Designer – Are you an experienced Visual and Interaction Designer who can take basic mock-ups and bring them to life in beautiful and creative ways? Then you can be an agent of transformation in peoples’ lives in Cambodia with Khalibre. Contact here

UX Designer – Are you an experienced UX Designer who is able to design enterprise web solutions for a global audience? Then you can transform lives in Cambodia and for 1,000’s of missionaries globally at Khalibre. Link to job description

Software Testing Lead – Do you have vast experience in software testing and have a desire to pass on your life and professional experience to young Khmer who are starting out in the technology industry? Contact here

Visit our Careers Page for More Information and to Apply

More Jobs at Khalibre

 

Practical Education Network – STEM Education in Ghana

Practical Education Network (PEN) is a social, mission-driven enterprise that promotes STEM education in Ghana. PEN trains STEM teachers to deploy hands-on activities using locally-available materials, so that students can learn experientially and develop problem-solving skills. With over 100 local trainers, 3,000+ teachers trained, and half a million students reached, PEN is making an impact in the Ghanaian education ecosystem, and has a vision of reaching all of West Africa within the next 5 years. We have recently completed our registration as a 501c3 nonprofit in the US and are seeking a volunteer to kickstart our fundraising efforts in the US. We seek core funding to help us transition from a startup into a well-structured organization. Please reach out if you are interested to join us and play a major role in this journey.

Contact Email

Read more

6 Ways BAM Practitioners Build Their Company Culture

We asked 12 BAM Practitioners how they have gone about developing their company culture and what values and behaviors they have intentionally tried to instill. Their responses showed six clear themes: 6 ways to build company culture.

1. Visible Values That Are Thoroughly Integrated into Operations

Having a set of clearly articulated values is a key to developing an intentionally-driven company culture. These values must then be woven through everything that happens in the company.

We try to integrate our core values into everything that we do. Our job applications are built with questions that try to assess these values in applicants. Our HR training is basically a series of lessons on these specific values. Most problems that arise can be answered by looking back at these core values and applying them to individual situations. However, it is sometimes tough to remember to take opportunities to teach values. Often our employees come to us with problems and we have tried to develop a habit of pointing them to the core values and asking them which ones apply to their particular problem. This means slowing down from the demands of the day and taking the time to walk through it with them. It is often tempting (because it is easier and faster) to just tell them what to do. However, we find that when we are intentional and take the time, it is a huge blessing to both parties and to the long-term effectiveness of our business. – Steven, Service Company, Thailand

The best opportunities to reinforce our values are the difficult ones, decisions that are made which cost the company contracts or money, but which we make because they are right. It’s easy to be honest when there’s lots of money being made, but much harder when the crunch comes! I have threatened to terminate employees for lying to customers and disciplined others for misleading suppliers. I’ve learned that my employees generally want me to treat them with honesty and integrity and to treat them with respect, but they don’t really want to have to treat others that way. Culturally they value strength over humility and consider a crafty deal to be good. I push them the other way and used to get push back from them for that. So difficult days do have their bright side; they test our commitment to our values and help us apply them. – Robert, Manufacturing and Consulting, Middle East  Read more

The 4 Cs of Developing BAM Company Culture

Company culture is vital to success in business as mission. In BAM we ‘show people around the Kingdom, and introduce them to the King’, as one practitioner expressed. Therefore, an important goal of a BAM company is to establish a ‘Kingdom of God’ culture in relationships and the business environment – influencing for God and for good inside the company and in the wider community, among all stakeholders.

Secularisation and mission-drift are a very real threats to a BAM business as it grows larger. The faster a company grows, the greater the threat of culture dilution. The question of how to maintain and strengthen your company culture is something to seriously think about as you prepare to grow as a BAM company.

Culture Foundations

The decisions and policies that become norms for our company include any rules, laws, structures, relationship-norms, policies, guidelines etc. that we establish, whether those are informal or formal, intentional or unintentional. These decisions and policies grow out of our worldview, beliefs and values and manifest in typical behaviours, practices, actions and initiatives.

Cultural integrity means having a purpose, beliefs, values, principles and practices that flow together, and are aligned with each other and with the Word of God.

Since our worldview is developed by our experiences in the culture and family which we grew up in; we need to first ask ourselves how our own worldview needs to be transformed to align with a biblical worldview – one that is shaped by the Word of God. Then we need to recognise that the people we are working with may have a different set of values, beliefs, principles and practices, growing out of a different worldview to ours.

Any policy or structure that does not reinforce the purpose and values of the company should be scrapped or changed. Unless we can clearly see how our structures and policies are rooted in beliefs and values – and we can explain why they exist – it is very hard to align teams. Without aligned and passionate teams we are dead in the water.   Read more

Unleashing the Whole Body of Christ to Reach the Whole World

Matt was thrilled to finally share with his Southeast Asian neighbors all the opportunities to serve them through his social work. He described how he could dig wells for access to clean water, build schools, or hold food and clothing drives to bless their community. To his surprise, his friends told him he was wasting his time. They didn’t want any of that. Instead, they desired access to western markets through Matt’s connections. One friend said, “In this way we can produce a product, sell it to the West, and make money for ourselves. Then with our own money we can choose how to meet the needs of our community such as food, clothing, shelter, and education, instead of having you westerners tell us what we need.”

Matt took this curt response as a sign of genuine friendship and prayerfully considered their advice. Sensing this was the Lord’s will, Matt and his wife Amy left their social work behind and set up an essential oil distillery to harvest local Southeast Asian plant oil; a product highly sought after in the West. This small for-profit manufacturing business provided employment to many farmers throughout the rural countryside and as a result, positively impacted the lives of hundreds of indigenous unreached people. To date, nearly a thousand of these precious people have responded to Jesus Christ in an area that previously had not known His name!

Business for Transformation

God orchestrated this wonderful story of redemption through the dynamic combination of both spiritual and economic ambition. Matt had a background in agriculture, Amy knew chemical engineering, and they both longed for salvation to come to the unreached. All they needed was the candid response of a local friend to help them put all the pieces together into the beautiful concoction of what we at OPEN call Business for Transformation (B4T).

B4T is the strategic use of business and professional skills for the purpose of bringing economic and spiritual transformation to communities among least reached peoples. B4T is the glorious mixture of apostolic zeal to preach the gospel where Christ is not known (Romans 15:20) together with the ancient understanding of work (Genesis 2:15), a God-imaging activity that He receives as worship. (See more here, here, here, and here). 

Every day, nearly 60,000 people1,2 are born into cultures and nations around the world that have little or no access to the Gospel. The vast majority of these nations do not grant visas to Christian religious workers, and even if they did, traditional sending methods could only produce a tiny fraction of the workers needed for the task. Our current efforts to gather worshippers for Jesus from every tribe, tongue and nation must be seriously reevaluated, to include the 99% who do not relate well to the traditional missions approaches for proclaiming the Good News. God’s fame and the eternal destinies of the largest population of lost people in history hang in the balance. 

God is at Work!

Thankfully, with God there is always hope. The rise of many wonderful Faith, Work and Economics (FWE) networks3, Business as Mission (BAM) organizations4, and almost inexhaustible resource libraries and blogs5 on the orthodoxy and orthopraxy of work have greatly multiplied in the past decade.

As a result, many in the Church are being mobilized toward real, practical and spiritual initiatives to bring transformation to their local communities via the marketplace. 

Professionals and business people who have been trained to ask fundamental questions like, “What tangible needs in the market are being overlooked?”, “What are the possible solutions to these needs”, and “What resources, skills, and relationships do I have that could provide for those needs?” are now also starting to ask questions like, “How is God present in my work?”, “In what ways can I incorporate prayer for my co-workers while also modeling Christ’s love towards them?”, and “How should I operate my business so as to glorify God and bless my employees and community?” 

Church leaders are increasingly calling out the unbiblical cultural norm that teaches us to segregate the “sacred” parts of our lives from the “secular” parts. They are commissioning their marketplace congregants as they would their global workers. They are teaching about the priesthood of all believers and expecting them to actually make disciples in their workplaces. Once staunch denominational boundary lines are being traversed as a result of faith and work partnerships.   

Unleashing the Whole Church

Through the increased activity of the faith and work movement across many streams of the Body of Christ, the latent potential of the faithful, job-working, church-volunteering, financially-sustaining majority is slowly being realized. This move of God is laying the groundwork for an enormous and unprecedented surge in potential cross-cultural workers. In this way, God has provided the perfect solution to meet the needs of the world who are not only starving for relationship with God through Jesus, but are often just as impoverished materially as they are spiritually6

In God’s wisdom, He has equipped the Church with virtually every skill, resource, and relationship required to bring both spiritual renewal and economic flourishing to the world through a growing number of men and women who know how to intentionally live out their faith in the marketplace. 

There’s just one problem, at least in the Western Church, most of the faith and work efforts have yet to crossover to the global marketplace, focusing instead on the flourishing of communities where the church already exists. The understanding and application of faith and work as a means for discipling all nations has barely scratched the surface of where it could go. There are various reasons for this but none of them are due to the lack of a working model. 

How OPEN Seeks to Multiply the Impact

Speaking in business terms, the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) has already been established and it is effective! B4T stories like Matt and Amy’s in Southeast Asia are happening in many places. Throughout the OPEN Network – a network comprised of faith-filled professionals and business owners living and working in almost every Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist country – there are many successful B4T initiatives resulting in economic and spirtual transformation. B4T as a model in the Church simply needs to be scaled. 

As far as OPEN is concerned, we believe we are strategically positioned to serve the Body of Christ for this purpose, not for the sake and name of OPEN, but to steward the gifts God has given us for His glory. For the last 20 years, B4T practitioners in the OPEN Network have been learning from Jesus how to live this out and help others who desire to do the same. Experienced OPEN Mentors are caring for the next generation of workers through holistic discipling in submission to local sending churches. Yearly gatherings of B4T workers on the field enable field relationships to deepen, establishing community, equipping and sharpening professionals while at the same time enabling the longevity of the work. 

OPEN also serves local churches as they send their professionals to the ends of the earth. OPEN provides internship and apprenticeship opportunities, investment capital, business coaching, cross-cultural discipleship training, networking, and hosts B4T Expos around the world. 

Want to know more? Contact us so we can build a relationship and find ways to serve you and your church as you engage in B4T. Together, let’s be the generation that unleashes the whole body of Christ to reach the whole world. 

For more information about OPEN go to:

www.OPENworldwide.net

OPEN is a network of 300+ people starting businesses and working for both local and international companies in least reached areas. B4T is a growing movement within the BAM world that stresses the two bottom lines of financial success and spiritual impact. OPEN prioritizes the following things:

1. Least-reached people: We establish in areas and with people where there are no or few churches.

2. Profitable and sustainable businesses: Our business owners and all employees draw a salary/paycheck, and bigger businesses have a bigger impact.

3. Jesus’ name: If the authorities, co-workers and community do not know that we love Jesus, then why are we there?

4. Holistic transformation: We impact our local communities in reproducible and measurable ways—first spiritually and economically; then socially and environmentally.

 

 

1 Andrew Scott, Scatter (Moody Publishers, 2016), 11

2 Some global statistics show a world average of 220,000 new births per day.  Joshua Project estimates the populations of all unreached peoples make up 41.6% of the world population, resulting in greater than 90,000 new people added each day to unreached populations.

3 Made to Flourish, Acton Institute, Denver Institute for Faith and Work, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics, At Work On Purpose, Center for Faith and Work

4 Business as Mission, Transform Our World, Scatter Global, OPEN

5 Theology of Work Project, B4T Blog, Faith Driven Entrepreneur

6  What is the 10/40 Window? Joshua Project

 

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

 

 

Making a Positive Impact on the World Through Business: Where to Start?!

Have you ever felt an urgency to make a positive impact on the world, but not known where to start? On the one hand, the Scriptures confront us with eternal realities; yet on the other hand, the news is packed with statistics and updates, challenging us to be global citizens. It is easy to be overcome by the amount of information there is to digest. Do we choose to rescue the damned from hell? Or the slaves from Boko Haram? Should we focus on eliminating poverty? Or educating the under-educated? The problems can seem daunting; the deluge of options overwhelming.

Yet you want to make a difference, so where does an eager change-maker start? And in starting, which of the issues – spiritual or worldly – are the most urgent to address? Can one person, really, truly make a difference?

Working to solve both Gospel and global issues doesn’t have to be that confusing or complicated. Business, the workplace, offers solutions and can impact each of these issues and answer most of the questions.

Consider:

The number of hungry people in the world has actually increased the last few years. One in nine people in the world habitually go hungry. Food security is the biggest threat to the overall health of the human race – more so than malaria, tuberculosis, or HIV. But it’s 2020. Are people really still going hungry? The problem is not that we aren’t producing enough food; rather, people lack access to food.  Many people simply do not have enough money to purchase food or the seeds and fertilizers to grow their own. OPEN workers are creating jobs in 43 countries. We are not a charity that gives things away for free. We don’t give people food, medicine or an education; we give them a job—the empowerment to earn their own living. With a job comes dignity, and with dignity follows questioning, as they seek out the purposes behind our willingness to come and meet most of their basic needs. In that questioning, that seeking, we are invited to tell them the reason – Jesus.

Business moves us beyond talking about issues with people to engaging people with the issues. Through business, we are providing real, impactful solutions.

Consider:

Over the past decade, there’s been a huge upsurge in conflicts which have greatly increased the number of refugees in the world. Farmers need to abandon their land to save themselves and their families. Then once these farmers reach a safer location, they have no land rights, which means they can’t grow crops. These refugees then need to purchase high-priced imported foods. When they don’t have enough funds to do so, families don’t eat. OPEN businesses that create jobs are meeting basic human needs. When OPEN workers fulfill people’s needs via the workplace, the people respect not only what we do, but who we are. This respect readily transfers over to questions seeking to understand the motives behind our lives and work – Jesus.

Consider:

Poor sanitation is a major factor in the spread of transferable diseases. OPEN businesses are modeling good sanitation practices in their workplace as well as in the streets and neighborhoods of their surrounding communities. This modeling is not only showing the community there is a better way to dispose of garbage and maintain good health, it is also giving people examples and tools to improve their own health, hygiene, and physical well-being. OPEN workers are transforming their neighborhoods, impressing on locals a concern for their outward living conditions. This concern regularly leads to a questioning and a seeking out from us what inward motivation leads us to do these things, resulting in their asking us to tell them about Jesus.

Consider:

Children are key to our future success, yet many across the world do not have some of their most basic needs met. OPEN businesses have built orphanages and shelters for abused women and enslaved people. OPEN workers have established numerous schools which are creating hope and new opportunities for better jobs, which lead to better futures. Even more fundamental than food and water is the basic human need for hope.  Hope, not a handout, often leads people to seek out the reason for our caring for impoverished children—Jesus.

Creating jobs, living and working 40+ hours a week with people is a solid solution for reaching the least-reached peoples of the world for Jesus and solving the problems of the world.

Consider:

Women make up roughly half of the world’s population, yet historically there have been social barriers to economic and personal freedom for women. Often women are disempowered from a young age; they are held back from attending school because of financial reasons or because of the perception that their education does not matter. Globally, women earn less than men, and women with children earn even less. [1] Empowering women has far-reaching benefits for communities. For example, the United Nations estimates that if women farmers could be given the same resources as men, 150 million more people could be fed, effectively achieving the goal of zero hunger. [2]  Women across the world are often the caretakers of household health, which means that if all women are taught effective healthcare practices, global well-being statistics could be altered dramatically. OPEN businesses are creating thousands of jobs for under-educated, under-empowered women, and previously-enslaved women. These jobs provide income for needed food and healthcare and expand opportunities for children to receive a good education. OPEN businesses are learning ways of supporting women in achieving their goals. When women are given opportunities to excel and experience God’s touch on their lives, they come to us yearning to know “Why?” Why do we do these things? Of course, the answer directs them to Jesus.

Business moves us beyond talking about issues with people to engaging people with the issues. Through business, we are providing real, impactful solutions. OPEN businesses are moving local thinking forward on key issues including corruption, upholding the law, paying taxes, and general human rights. Business levels the playing field. Business forces people to come together. Business enables people no matter their race, nationality, religion, or gender to face one another and experience each other’s differences. Business empowers and provides resources and opportunities to support people to learn more about their own rights, including the right to worship the King of Kings – Jesus.

Business for Transformation (B4T) – creating jobs, living and working 40+ hours a week with people – is a solid solution for reaching the least-reached peoples of the world for Jesus and solving the problems of the world. Business done for the glory of Jesus adds real and lasting value to the communities and the individuals’ lives.

For more information about OPEN go to:

www.OPENworldwide.net

OPEN is a network of 300+ people starting businesses and working for both local and international companies in least reached areas. B4T is a growing movement within the BAM world that stresses the two bottom lines of financial success and spiritual impact. OPEN prioritizes the following things:

1. Least-reached people: We establish in areas and with people where there are no or few churches.

2. Profitable and sustainable businesses: Our business owners and all employees draw a salary/paycheck, and bigger businesses have a bigger impact.

3. Jesus’ name: If the authorities, co-workers and community do not know that we love Jesus, then why are we there?

4. Holistic transformation: We impact our local communities in reproducible and measurable ways—first spiritually and economically; then socially and environmentally.

 

 

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_pay_gap

2 https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/hunger/

 

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

 

 

9 Keys for Successful BAM Deployment

As we count down to the BAM Global Congress in April 2020, we revisit some of the key issues that we want to address when we gather together. These 9 keys are all themes, workshops and practical steps that we are intentionally focusing on at the Congress 2020 and we invite you to join us!

Here are 9 Keys for Successful BAM Deployment that have been themes shared over and over by experienced BAM practitioners and mentors. These are principles and practices observed over years of listening to BAM pioneers, writing BAM stories and collecting information about how to do BAM. Many of these Keys have been shared by BAMers and BAM leaders over the last few weeks as we have explored the topic ‘Launching Out and Landing Well’ – they come out in the stories, snippets, and teaching we’ve shared, as well as in the BAM Think Tank research we’ve been drawing on.

1. Walk with God

Abide in Christ. It’s essential to be connected to the Vine, a growing disciple of Jesus, if we are to bear fruit! That means spending time listening and talking to God in prayer and being attentive to His calling and direction for your life. It means growing in Godly character as you are rooted in His word, and opening up to spiritual input from others. Prayer is mentioned over and over by BAMers as a foundation stone for BAM in practice, at all stages: preparation, launch and continued growth. Having a sense of call and leading from God is another often cited core driver for BAMers. Spiritual formation through discipleship and teaching is a life-long pursuit – whether through books, sermons, devotional materials, courses, retreats or intentional relationships. Making yourself accountable to peers or elders that will challenge you to grow in Christ-like character is another way to keep soft and open to the refining work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Read more

10 Things That Will Help or Hinder BAM Multiplication

As we count down to the BAM Global Congress in April 2020, we revisit some of the key issues that we want to address when we gather together. These 10 topics are all on the agenda for the Congress 2020 and we invite you to join us!

How do we multiply and scale the number of fruitful BAM companies around the world? One of our key tasks must be to envision and mobilise a new wave of would-be business as mission practitioners from every country on the planet. Some of those will come from a corporate or small business background, envisioned with a broader perspective on their skills, experiences or companies. Others will come from a non-profit or mission agency context after seeing the need for business as mission firsthand. Still others will be the next generation coming through schools and colleges, growing up with an integrated passion for business and God’s work in the nations.

There are many strategies and models for mobilising and equipping future BAMers. Whatever your strategy, here are 10 things that will help or hinder BAM multiplication:

1. God is at work

Perhaps our most important opportunity is that God is on the move in the global marketplace. God is at work among business people and business people are hungry for this message. Christ-followers in the marketplace around the globe are sensing God’s call to impact the world in and through their vocation. Our message must affirm business professionals and exhort them to use their vocational experience and expertise for God’s Kingdom work. Since we are co-workers with the Holy Spirit in the work of mobilisation, prayer must be considered vital work in the BAM community. We cannot have fruitful advocacy and mobilisation without this partnership between our efforts and God’s work in people’s lives. This is not another program for us to deliver, but a movement of God. Read more

What is Business as Mission?

TOP 5 BLOGS IN 5 YEARS

This month we are celebrating 5 years of publishing weekly blogs on The BAM Review and sending out bi-weekly emails!  To celebrate, we are re-posting the TOP 5 most read blogs from the past 5 years for your reading enjoyment.

Business is a God-given vocation and institution in society, with the potential to bring multiple benefits to people, communities and nations. Business as mission intentionally leverages this intrinsic power of business to address spiritual needs, hand in hand with social, economic and environmental needs.

Business as mission is demonstrating what the Kingdom of God is like in the context of business – and as we do so, engaging with the world’s more pressing social, economic, environmental and spiritual issues.

There is a growing consensus around this idea, although other terms are also used for the same concept. Many prefer alternative terms such as: Kingdom business, missional entrepreneurship, transformational business, missional business or business for transformation (B4T), among others. Business as mission, or BAM, is just one widely used term in the English language, other terms have developed in other languages. Read more