Connections: Business as Usual
World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission
September 2009 — Connections Vol. 8,2
Mission becomes business when the main objective of evangelism or church activities focuses on finances and the enrichment of the institution and its leaders. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon, and is certainly one of the after-effects of a strong entrepreneurial emphasis given to mission in many religious circles.
This issue of Connections is about Business as Mission (BAM), something completely different from mission as business. The goal of BAM initiatives is primarily to build up sustainable structures for community development, empowering local efforts and contributing to the well-being of a group of people. Although it can, and many times will, and we would want it to, lead to a Christian testimony when BAM is done seriously by committed Christians, the main purpose is to do business in a way that is ethically and morally correct with a good profit that creates prosperity for investors and national context.
Business becomes mission when the economic activity glorifies God through good and biblical practices of commerce and production, favoring local people, regardless of race, religious beliefs or social background. It needs to be a serious business, based on a holistic understanding of the Gospel.
Mission is frequently done in stormy situations and the religious turbulence in our days is at many times frightening. Business as Mission has shown to be a magnificent way of establishing Christian witness in contexts where traditional missionary efforts would not work effectively. In rowing against the tide and often feeling that our “boat” is too small for the enormous challenge of sharing the Good News to all men, new and creative strategies of mission are certainly welcome.