BAM and the Church: A Case Study from Ethiopia

This case study from the new BAM and the Church Report published by BAM Global showcases the process that one denomination in Ethiopia took to implement a workplace ministry throughout the denomination, following key leaders embracing the need to overcome theological challenges inherent in the church’s understanding of work.


The Ethiopia Kale Heywet Church (EKHC), with 10,000 churches and 10 million members is Ethiopia’s largest evangelical denomination. In 2017, Pastor Yoseph Bekele was appointed to be the ‘Business as Mission Director’ for the Kale Heywet Church. Yoseph had previously worked in youth ministries across the country, even while running several businesses of his own.

When he started, Yoseph shared that businesspeople were considered ‘sinful people’ in his setting. There was no understanding of the purpose of business from a godly or biblical perspective. He also shared that while Ethiopia has a rich heritage and culture, it is poor economically. Therefore, sharing about work as worship and business as mission would be critical for Ethiopian Christians to understand the biblical call to work and how to do business that honours God, which can allow them to grow economically and to flourish in God’s way.

Outcomes to date

In the first three years of the program, from 2018 to 2021, Yoseph and his team of BAM trainers reached nine of the eleven regions of Ethiopia with the message of church-based business as mission. There are teams of trainers who help pastors understand the call of the local church to equip their members for the work of the ministry from Monday to Saturday. The leadership of the headquarters church of the Kale Heywet denomination has agreed that every local church should have a workplace ministry, just as they have a youth and women’s ministry.

In addition to working through the local church leaders, BAM trainers are also bringing this message to youth leaders, women ministry leaders, children’s ministries, prison ministries, mission departments, and the many Kale Heywet Bible schools, while also passing on the teaching and training to other denominations. As part of the training, everyone learns that there are one or more critical outcomes from the three Great Directives—the Great Commitment, the Great Commandment, and the Great Commission.

The Great Commandment outcome is social. Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is about loving God whole-heartedly and loving our neighbour as ourselves. The Great Commission outcome is missional. Jesus tells us to go and make disciples, beginning in Jerusalem and reaching the whole world. But the outcomes of the Great Commitment, a universal call, is economic and ecological. For many Ethiopian Christians, this often comes as a surprise. Read more

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.

Read more

5 Principles Learned from a BAM Journey: Matt’s Story

by Larry Sharp

This past month we have been featuring stories from Larry Sharp. Larry’s new book ‘Mission Disrupted: From Professional Missionaries to Missionary Professionals’ tells 27 stories and is out now!

Matt lives in a crowded city in Asia’s largest country where his business demands a driver to take him from place to place. Naturally he has become close friends with the driver, Wang Wei who had plenty of opportunities to observe Matt’s family and he saw something quite different from what he was used to, and he wanted that for his family too. He kept watching and then began talking to Matt about what he was seeing. There were plenty of conversations before Wang Wei became a true follower of Jesus. Matt now is privileged to disciple him in his new life in Christ.

I had visited a mid-sized business in this same country some years ago and observed how God had used Matt to help a business flourish with clear Quadruple Bottom line results.  He returned to his home country to complete an MBA and renew his interest and experience in property sales and management. I knew that he would be a success in this new endeavor so my conversation with him turned to questions related to his journey, his driving passion, and how he got to where he was in his faith-work understanding and in the integration of his mission in life with workplace success.

During that conversation he shared five noteworthy principles:

1. Spend Time with God-Fearing People in Church, Family and Community

Matt is a multi-talented guy with various skills. He had learned another language and he had lived in another culture. And he wanted to make a difference for God in the world, so he asked people to pray with and for him. As he talked with family and friends, an opportunity opened to work overseas, and they advised him to move in that direction. And he did. Read more

Nguvu Dairy: A Trauma Informed Workplace in Northern Uganda

by Larry Sharp

This month we are featuring stories from Larry Sharp. Larry’s new book ‘Mission Disrupted: From Professional Missionaries to Missionary Professionals’ tells 27 stories and is out now!

Abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Gloria was forced to be a child soldier in northern Uganda. Although girls sometimes carried rifles on the front lines, they usually did the cooking for the boys involved in guerilla warfare and served the sexual wishes of the commanders. After eight years, she managed to escape the LRA and returned home. Life, however, continued to be hard. No one trusted her, not even her sisters. They thought she was a killer and to be avoided at all costs. She couldn’t find work and barely survived on the few things she could grow on a tiny subsistence plot of land. But then her life changed:

The moment I stepped inside the gates of Nguvu Dairy I felt a sense of peace. James was so kind and friendly, and he taught all of us victims how to make yogurt. He was patient and encouraging. Nguvu Dairy has changed my life. I have a job and can rent a little house in town and afford school fees for my son.

As a highly traumatized young woman, Gloria was forced to labor as an exploited, brain-washed, and hopeless child. But by God’s grace she was one of the few who found  hope of the more than one hundred thousand children worldwide forced to serve in state and non-state military organizations.

James Dirksen is a seasoned entrepreneur and business owner and while in northern Uganda asked himself the foundational question, “what happens to survivors when they finish a program of the NGO, mission or care organizations?” After plenty of research and planning he began to focus on starting real businesses to take the next critical step to bring healing to survivors and provide full-time employment.

Human trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar business, trading in people. Creating safe jobs is critical to ending the cycle of economic vulnerability at the root of this global crisis. Without safe employment 80% of those rescued return to trafficking or voluntary enslavement. Read more

Coffee at the Capital Roasting Company

by Larry Sharp

This month we are featuring stories from Larry Sharp. Larry’s new book ‘Mission Disrupted: From Professional Missionaries to Missionary Professionals’ tells 27 stories and is out now!

Some years ago, I found coffee in a tea-loving country in central Asia, which I will call Tealand, at the Capital Roasting Company (CRC).

Tea is a wonderful drink with a complex history of more than two thousand years dating back to China. But it is not coffee. As legend has it, coffee originated on the Ethiopian plateau and by the 16th century moved east to the Arabian peninsula where it was cultivated.

Coffee made its’ way to Europe where Pope Clement VIII finally gave his approval, and it no longer was considered the “invention of Satan”. By the mid-17th century, there were 300 coffee houses in London. Apparently, tea still dominated the American colonies until the Boston Tea Party, after which Thomas Jefferson called coffee, the “favorite drink of the civilized world.” Who wouldn’t want to switch from tea to coffee?

After the collapse of the Soviet Empire in 1991, the residents of the new Central Asia republics developed an intense interest in the rest of the world, and this included Tealand. However, Russia did not leave Tealand in the best of shape. When I arrived for my visit I discovered how much the citizens wanted to be like the western world and some of the young people even wanted to leave Tealand, hoping to migrate to the west. Women began to shed their head covering and other social customs began to change. The intense interest in the west included viewing television programs from the USA and western Europe, learning the English language and social customs formerly unknown.

The Capital Roasting Company began as the vision of a small group, all of whom had arrived in Tealand in 2008. As the startup team began to learn the language and make friends, they saw an opportunity in this milieu of social change. The Capital Roasting Company (CRC) began to build their business model around the current needs. Read more

Outland Denim: To God Be the Glory

by Larry Sharp

This month we are featuring stories from Larry Sharp. Larry’s new book ‘Mission Disrupted: From Professional Missionaries to Missionary Professionals’ tells 27 stories and is out now!

On October 18, 2018 Prince Harry and Meghan landed in the outback of Australia as the first stop in their royal visit to that country.  As is always the case, the media surveyed every aspect of the royal’s appearance including the black stove-pipe Hariett jeans the Duchess was wearing. Why those jeans?  Where were they fabricated? How much did they cost?  What was the brand?

As it turned out Meghan was making a statement in support of those fighting human slavery and trafficking.  Her jeans were manufactured by Outland Denim, a BAM company owned by a kingdom minded Australian couple with a factory in Kampong Cham, Cambodia.

As a new board member of the Freedom Business Alliance in 2017 I realized I had much to learn so planned a trip to visit seven freedom businesses in Cambodia.  Outland Denim was one of those businesses.  Later it was a delight to interview one of the founders in preparation for telling the story in the book Missions Disrupted:  From Professional Missionaries to Missional Professionals.

Human trafficking is a lucrative multi-national 150 billion dollar per year illegal industry of exploitation and enslavement; and two-thirds of that total comes from sexual slavery.  Estimates indicate that up to 40 million people are trapped in modern slavery and most are women and children – a crisis of epic proportions.  It is something demanding the involvement of anyone sensitive to the plight of hurting people.

I learned that there are three phases in the efforts to bring change to the lives of those who have been traumatized and now desire to be transformed into successful survivors:  1) rescue, 2) restore; 3) reintegrate.  Most activity for those giving aid is concentrated in the first two phases of rescuing victims and working to restore them.  It is the third phase which is largely ignored – reintegration into the workplace so they can be gainfully employed.  This is where the need is for freedom businesses which provide employment with managers that understand their journey and have a plan for helping them learn a skill and live a post-trauma life. Read more

Poultry, Profit and Proclamation: A BAM Story

by Larry Sharp

This month we are featuring stories from Larry Sharp. Larry’s new book ‘Mission Disrupted: From Professional Missionaries to Missionary Professionals’ tells 27 stories and is out now!

It started 45 years ago when Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham, living near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe gave 50 newly hatched chicks to their seven-year-old son, Peter.  “See what you can do with them,” they said.  By the time he was 17 years, he was raising 10,000 chicks a week and was on his way to a successful and colorful missional business career.

Today Peter is a visionary, entrepreneurial, God-fearing, faith driven guy and the CEO of Hamara and Heartland Foods in Zimbabwe.  The heart of the business is the poultry industry – including hatching, broilers, and layers.  He explains it in its simplest iteration:  30 birds will lay 22 eggs daily; the farmer can save five for his family and sell seventeen.  This provides more income than half of the poor families in the country.

Hamara’s influence extends to one-stop distributors in 13 cities making them one of the largest chicken distributors in the country.  One of the genius components is their outgrower program with over 300 small scale farmers since 2002 growing an average of 20,000 chickens a week each.  They are propelled by an incentive “model farmers” program by which farmers can move from the Bronze stage to Silver, Gold and then to Platinum, and be part of something bigger than themselves.

In a country where one third are extremely poor, there is opportunity (market pull) to break the yoke of poverty.  Peter cites David Livingstone as an example, who was the first European to reach the area in the 19th century and was motivated to break the yoke of slavery.  But while working hard to reduce poverty, Peter never misses an opportunity to link his work and company to the grand eternal purposes of God – that more and more people come to worship and follow Him.  And he does so by daily reminding himself and his staff of the amazing life and grace of Jesus.  Says Peter, “Jesus chooses ordinary people like us and wants us to live in relationship with him as he gives the favor to share his amazing life with others.” Read more

Grand Openings and Grand Opportunities: A BAM Story

We’re so excited to be open! After 3 years of planning, preparation, cutting through swathes or red tape, remodelling, investment-raising and long days of hard work, the day of our café grand opening was nearly perfect. Lots of customers showed up, neighbors congratulated and welcomed us, and we received lots of positive feedback.

Everyone who walks in says nearly the same thing; some version of, “Wow, this place is beautiful, and so comfortable and relaxing. I might not leave!”

It is gratifying to see people come in and enjoy our products and our service, and then come back again. We have already noticed how this business is giving us greater inroads to be able to share Jesus with people.

New Connections

The most encouraging thing about the opening of our café is the greater openness and acceptance from people that it has provided. The next door neighbor to our shop, who we’ve waved at and attempted to engage with over the past three years, has become our most frequent customer. He brought his family over and introduced them, and has begun having client meetings at our cafe. And, new people are coming around as well. We recently met Lek who was walking buy, decided to stop in, and then asked if I could talk for a minute. We talked about the business and then about him for over an hour. In a couple of weeks, we’re going to meet at another coffee shop in town to work on his English and my Thai.  Read more

Business is on Mission Around the Globe

by João Mordomo

Recently, a friend of mine said, “It’ll be great when there are some BAM success stories to talk about.” I couldn’t conceal the shocked look in my eyes as I began to open up his eyes to the reality — yes, reality! — of current BAM successes. But it would have been much easier if I could have simply handed him a book and said, “Read this!” Or pointed him to a short, powerful video series on business and wealth creation. Or recommended some deeply thoughtful and biblical reports about how wealth creation is a key tool in bringing Gospel transformation to the poorest and least-reached people and peoples of the world. Or explained how an entire BAM ecosystem is developing in one of the largest countries in the world!

Now I can. (And so can you.) Over the past two years, the Lausanne Business as Mission Issue Network, together with BAM Global, has been busy producing and providing an assortment of resources related to BAM and wealth creation that are now available in multiple formats and languages. I want to share about a few of them.

Let’s start with a book called BAM Global Movement: Business as Mission Concepts & Stories, written by Gea Gort and Mats Tunehag. Gort is an author, journalist and missiologist who researches, speaks and writes about subjects such as BAM. Tunehag is a global ambassador for business as mission, a co-founder of BAM Global, and a former Lausanne Catalyst. Together they have done a tremendous service by assembling case studies that reflect all sorts of good and God-honoring BAM diversity, be it geographical, denominational, strategic, or in the sheer variety and scope of business activities and arenas. From Europe to Africa to Asia to the Americas, Gort and Tunehag take the reader on a global journey, stopping in on BAM practitioners and BAM activities that are bringing spiritual, economic, social and even environmental transformation to people and communities all over the world.  Read more

Turbocam India: A Stand Against Corruption

The Beginnings

Like many small business stories, the story of Turbocam India involves the spark of opportunity, mixed in with a great deal of perseverance and one or two major breakthroughs that have set the course of the company. But perhaps the most important ingredient of all has been a firmly held belief from its inception that Turbocam was to be a ‘Kingdom company’, existing as a business for the purpose of honouring God.

Turbocam International was founded by Indian Marian Noronha in New Hampshire, USA in 1985. Turbocam’s core business revolves around manufacturing specialised machine parts for turbines and turbochargers, using sophisticated software to machine very high-precision, delicately balanced parts. Right from its earliest days Marian envisioned the company would be used in the service of God. The ideas of creating jobs and generating wealth, supporting Christian service and manufacturing high quality turbo machinery products have all been integral to the mission of the company from the beginning.

An Opportunity

One day in 1984, Marian and his American wife, Suzie, were walking the streets of Bombay and heard singing. They liked what they heard and went in to what turned out to be a small church led by British-born Duncan Watkinson and his Indian wife, Vasanti. Having cross-cultural marriage in common, the couples struck up an immediate friendship that would later lead to business partnership.

In May 1989, Marian invited Duncan to consider using his background in engineering to take on the establishment of Turbocam in India. Marian was looking for an opportunity to expand Turbocam operations outside the USA and into his native India. Coupled with this was a mutual desire to provide greater stability for Duncan and Vasanti’s work amongst churches and helping the poor.

The invitation was accepted and Turbocam India Pvt. Ltd. was established later that year. As Managing Director, Duncan’s role has been to oversee the company operations from his office, originally in Bombay and for the last 13 years in Bangalore. The manufacturing plant, located in Goa, has been from the earliest days overseen by trusted General Manager, Savio Carvalho. Read more

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