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The A to Z of BAM: K to O – from Kingdom to Opportunity

by Mats Tunehag

K – Kingdom

Christ is Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all. The early Church confessed Christos Kyrios – Christ is Lord.[1] It was revolutionary when the greeting was supposed to be Kaiser Kyrios – the Emperor is Lord. [2]

So may God’s Kingdom come – may Christ the King be the ruler of our lives, business and the marketplace. BAM is recognizing the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and connecting Sunday with Monday. BAM is following Christ into the marketplace, among all peoples and to the ends of the world.

As the BAM Manifesto states: “We believe that God has called and equipped business people to make a Kingdom difference in and through their businesses.

Here’s a practical way to be Kingdom oriented in your daily life, and King Jesus-centered in your business: Pray St. Patrick’s BAM prayer. [3]

 

 


L – Lifestyle

BAM is not merely a superficial lifestyle choice, like the “flavor of the month”. BAM is rather a worldview and concept you internalize; it is like food you eat and water you drink – it becomes to some extent an integral part of you.

Ad fontes! Thus, we need to go back to the ancient sources, and drink from the deep wells of Judeo-Christian thought. We must internalize values and concepts found in the Holy Scriptures.  We must recognize our roots and understand our history, and acknowledge that we are standing on shoulders of giants who have gone before us.

Then – and only then – can BAM become a lifestyle, a natural expression of a Bible infused worldview. BAM will have a lasting impact if we are deeply rooted for the future. [4]

M – Mission

God so loved the world that he sent his Son. Christ sends us to the world, to all spheres of society – including the business world.

We are to make Christ known among all peoples on all continents, also through business. BAM means doing business in this global thrust: to all peoples!

Thus, we can never be satisfied with just local marketplace ministries, even though they are needed. We must venture beyond our default mode – which for most of us is to stay local, in our Jerusalem – as it were. But BAM is doing business with God and for people in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. BAM is a global mission – from everywhere to everywhere!

N – Needs

There is no shortage of needs around the world: physical, emotional, social, economic, spiritual, and environmental. There are needs related to poverty, slavery, corruption, environmental degradation and reaching the unreached peoples with the gospel.

Solving global issues – the world’s most pressing issues – with innovative BAM solutions is one of the Big Hairy Audacious Goals for business as mission championed by BAM Global. [5] The good news is that God cares for all of us in our totality.

Bishop Barron wrote: “When God came among us in Christ, he affected the work of repairing his broken and hurting creation. He is not interested simply in souls but in bodies as well.” [6] [7]

Business can and should be an integral part of addressing various needs. The BAM Manifesto states:

“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. …. Christians in business should therefore be a part of this holistic transformation through business. … 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.”

O – Opportunity

Some see needs, and others see opportunities. Some see businesses as problems, others see them as problem solvers. Yes, business can be bad – just think mafia and human trafficking, for example. But God’s intention is for businesses to create opportunities to develop products and services, opportunities to solve environmental challenges and opportunities to create flourishing communities. BAM is about seizing this God given opportunity.

It is an opportunity to serve people: customers, staff, suppliers, families, investors, competitors, the industry and nations. Business is a strategic opportunity to create different kinds of wealth for many stakeholders. This is a godly mission. And our mindset should be abundance, diversity and flourishing.

The Wealth Creation Manifesto, which is available in 17 languages, says: “Wealth creation is rooted in God the Creator, who created a world that flourishes with abundance and diversity.” [8]

Business is also an opportunity to glorify God! Both the BAM Manifesto and the Wealth Creation Manifesto conclude with: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam – For the greater glory of God.

Read more:

A-E – Avodah to Environmental

F-J – Freedom to Justice

K-O – Kingdom to Opportunity

BAM: A to Z graphic design by Tanner Germany

Footnotes

[1] “…the claim of the first Christians was Iesous Kyrios—Jesus is Lord. This was bound to annoy both Jews and Gentiles. The Jews would be massively put off by the use of the term Kyrios in describing an ordinary human being. … And for the Greeks, this claim was subversive, for a watchword of the time was Kaiser Kyrios—the emperor is lord. A new system of allegiance was being proposed, a new type of ordering and lordship—and this was indeed a threat to the regnant system. We Christians are not announcing a private or personal spirituality, but rather declaring a new King. Every aspect of life—business, family life, the arts, sexuality, and entertainment—must come properly under his headship.”  Daily Gospel Reflections, by Bishop Robert Barron, 19 Jan 2021

[2] To learn more how this relates to BAM, see BAM 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 & Beyond”: http://matstunehag.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/BAM-TALK-2.pdf

[3] It is also available in Bahasa, Korean, Portuguese and Russian: http://matstunehag.com/2017/03/17/st-patricks-bam-prayer/

[4] In the article Deeply Rooted for the Future I elaborate on these deep wells; the wealth of Judeo-Christian heritage which we need to draw from so BAM can become a lifestyle. See

http://matstunehag.com/2020/12/23/deeply-rooted-for-the-future/ It is also available in Russian: https://businessasmission.ru/ukorenyatsya-radi-budushhego/ and Portuguese: https://bamglobal.com.br/blog/profundamente-enraizado-para-alcancar-o-futuro

[5] Learn more about BGlobal and the global needs and challenges that BAM Global has identified as BHAG’s: Big Hairy Audacious Goals at: https://bamglobal.org/about

[6] Advent Gospel Reflection, by Bishop Robert Barron, 16 Dec 2020.

[7] See short vignette in the Wealth Creation video series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJajgVcPyzo&list=PLYGxDL2dvuo5k-Uk8FGxZj1QYcBe70_Vx&index=2

[8] See another short video in the Wealth Creation series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJajgVcPyzo&list=PLYGxDL2dvuo5k-Uk8FGxZj1QYcBe70_Vx&index=2

 

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 21 languages.

 

 

 

WANT MORE CONTENT ON ESSENTIAL BAM CONCEPTS & PRACTICES?

JOIN US AT THE BAM GLOBAL CONGRESS

A GLOBAL MEETING POINT FOR THE BAM COMMUNITY

Join us at this innovative virtual main event framed by a lead-in series of monthly webinars and a follow-up series of workshops and meet-ups.

We will CELEBRATE what God is doing through business around the world, CONNECT you with a global network of people and initiatives, and CREATE momentum to multiply the BAM movement for greater impact.

PRE-CONGRESS WEBINARS: October 2020 to March 2021

CONGRESS MAIN EVENT: 28 – 30 April 2021

POST-CONGRESS WORKSHOPS: May 2021 to July 2021

REGISTER NOW: Pre-Series Pass – $50, Premium All Access Pass – $175

It is not too late to register for the Pre-Series Pass, all webinars have been recorded and will be available to ticket holders.

 

 

 

 

Banner photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

 

The A to Z of BAM: F to J – from Freedom to Justice

by Mats Tunehag

F – Freedom

Winston Churchill said: “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.

Today tens of millions of people around the world are held as slaves, they are victims of human trafficking. A root cause to is unemployment. About 80 percent who are rescued from trafficking are re-trafficked unless they find a job with dignity at the other end. Thus, jobs with dignity and transformational businesses are essential for true freedom. Freedom businesses exist to fight human trafficking, providing jobs for prevention and restoration. [1]

There is no quick fix to human trafficking. There is no ‘jump to freedom’; we have a long journey ahead. As Nelson Mandela said: “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere.” This is true for millions of slaves around the world, and also for the freedom business movement. [2]

 

 


G – God

We are not just Christians doing social enterprise. God is the owner of our businesses; our business praxis should be God-centered.

Let me mention two groups in Asia which are engaging with thousands of business owners and operators.

I have worked for over ten years with Julian Foe and his team, who lead the Kingdom Business Community, KBC in Indonesia. KBC have run camps for over ten thousand business people. It is an induction program, which always emphasizes – as number one: be God centered in your life and business.

Another group is The Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals in the Philippines. Their motto is to “Make Disciples of All Nations”, and their vision is “bringing Christ into the marketplace and winning the marketplace for Christ”. They are “are a community of business people and professionals committed to living out Christian values and being change agents in the marketplace”.

BAM is about being God-centered and making Christ known.


H – Holistic

BAM is not doing business with a touch of ‘churchianity’. It is not about doing some church-like activities in a business. BAM is about meeting needs, different kind of needs: economic, social, spiritual, and other needs – as we do business.

BAM is about having a holistic outlook and approach, just like Jesus. He never told anyone they had the wrong kind of need. He constantly and consistently met all kinds of needs; preaching and demonstrating the Kingdom of God. This is a guiding light in BAM. “Businesses that function in alignment with the core values of the Kingdom of God are playing an important role in holistic transformation of individuals, communities and societies.”  – Wheaton Declaration on Business as Integral Calling

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.” – BAM Manifesto

I – Integrated

BAM is taking our Sunday talk into a Monday walk. It is about integrating what we profess in church into a daily praxis – 24/7.

H2O is hydrogen and oxygen. It can be compartmentalized and analyzed and it can manifest itself as water, ice and steam. But if you’re thirsty you don’t want a chemical formula but water, the integrated whole.

The Church teaches that God is triune; we can observe the three in one, and one in three in the holy Scriptures and throughout history. We can compartmentalize God; focus on the Son for example. But we mustn’t fail to see how the three divine persons overlap, interact and connect. Separate but never disconnected. It is a mystery, indeed, but nevertheless a truth to embrace. [3]

BAM is an expression of a holistic lifestyle, where godly values and good business practices are integrated. 

J – Justice

Business as mission is about embracing Biblical themes, narratives and values, and live them in the marketplace. [4]

God loves justice and hates injustice. God sent prophets again and again who spoke out against injustice, and they demanded change and correction. Injustice often manifested itself in the marketplace: it was corruption, labor exploitation and abuse of vulnerable people like immigrants. To pursue honest business and care for staff is business as justice. To treat customers and suppliers well is also a part of this God-honoring pursuit.

Business as justice includes fighting corruption, bribery, labor exploitation and human trafficking.

Read more:

A-E

 

BAM: A to Z graphic design by Tanner Germany

Footnotes

[1] To learn more, check Freedom Business Alliance, FBA: https://www.freedombusinessalliance.com/

[2] Read more at https://businessasmission.com/let-freedom-ring-fighting-slavery-with-business-solutions/

[3] Read more at https://thirdpathinitiative.com/holistic-integrated-bam-will-make-history/

[4] See article dealing with 12 such values: http://matstunehag.com/2012/09/29/business-as-mission-is-bigger-than-you-think/

 

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 21 languages.

 

 

 

WANT MORE CONTENT ON ESSENTIAL BAM CONCEPTS & PRACTICES?

JOIN US AT THE BAM GLOBAL CONGRESS

A GLOBAL MEETING POINT FOR THE BAM COMMUNITY

Join us at this innovative virtual main event framed by a lead-in series of monthly webinars and a follow-up series of workshops and meet-ups.

We will CELEBRATE what God is doing through business around the world, CONNECT you with a global network of people and initiatives, and CREATE momentum to multiply the BAM movement for greater impact.

PRE-CONGRESS WEBINARS: October 2020 to March 2021

CONGRESS MAIN EVENT: 28 – 30 April 2021

POST-CONGRESS WORKSHOPS: May 2021 to July 2021

REGISTER NOW: Pre-Series Pass – $50, Premium All Access Pass – $175

It is not too late to register for the Pre-Series Pass, all webinars have been recorded and will be available to ticket holders.

 

 

 

 

Banner photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

 

The A to Z of BAM: A to E – from Avodah to Environmental

by Mats Tunehag

A – Avodah

The Hebrew word avodah is used interchangeably for work, worship and service. Business as Mission, BAM, is a seamless integration of work, worship and service.

A few Bible references:

Six days you shall work (avodah). – Exodus 34:21

This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship (avodah) me. – Exodus 8:1

But as for me and my household, we will serve (avodah) the Lord. – Joshua 24:15

Worship in the temple is different from manual labor in the field. But both are connected to who we are, created in God’s image, with a purpose to both work and worship. Work can be worship! Avodah is a picture of an integrated faith.[1] It is a life where work and worship come from the same root. “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31)

 

B – Business

Professor Angelo Nicolaides observes: “The notion of business is recognized within the creation account where it is clear that man cannot work alone.” [2] John Paul II describes the essential community aspects of business, saying that a company is a “community of persons who in various ways are endeavouring to satisfy their basic needs, and who form a particular group at the service of the whole of society.” [3]

Businesses are not static – they start and develop; they can grow and change. But we should intentionally and professionally shape our business for God, people and planet. One can see the business as an instrument through which we develop our products and services, and also optimize our service of various stakeholders: God, staff, owners, customers, suppliers, community, competitors, and physical environment. Business is a God given instrument, which we fine-tune to serve people and glorify God. [4]

C – Create

For many people work is simply seen as an employment, a way to make some money. But that is too narrow a view, both historically and globally, of what work is and means. Furthermore, we need to be aligned with the Judeo-Christian tradition and its concept of work. [5]

God works! He is creative and He creates in community and for community. We are created in His image to work and be creative, for ourselves and also for others. Our work may be paid or non-paid, related to an employment or not. The Wealth Creation Manifesto states: “We are created in God’s image, to co-create with Him and for Him, to create products and services for the common good.” We can be creative in music, cooking a meal for the family, developing a software program, nursing a sick patient at a hospital, or farming rice. This is deeply divine and deeply human.

D – Dignity

Rabbis Sacks contrasts animals and human beings: “Work, in other words, has spiritual value, because earning our food is part of the essential dignity of the human condition. Animals find sustenance; only mankind creates it.” [6]

Jobs are not just a matter of income or survival; they reflect who God is, and who we are as people made in His image. Work is an issue of human dignity. Creating jobs with dignity is godly. Businesses can be a place for dignifying work and creativity, for community and service.

Work and business are reflections of the trinitarian God, and also reflections of God’s trinitarian nature. God is love and collaboration. [7] So, being a diligent worker individually, and being creative collectively – also in business – reflects true human dignity!

E – Environment

In BAM we talk about the quadruple bottom line: financial, social, environmental and spiritual. We can and should at times compartmentalize for planning, operation and evaluation. But we also need to recognize that they overlap, interact and connect; they form a greater whole.

We must avoid playing one important entity against the other. It is not work versus worship, or financial bottom-line versus a spiritual impact. They are not same, but they belong together. [8]

We mustn’t forget or neglect to be good stewards of creation, and develop business solutions for environmental challenges. “Along with the spiritual, financial, and social bottom lines, the environmental bottom line is an integral measure of a God-centered successful business.” [9]

 

Read more:

F-J

BAM: A to Z graphic design by Tanner Germany

 

Footnotes

[1] Read more at http://matstunehag.com/2018/08/13/lets-avodah/

[2] Ethics and the dignity of work: An Orthodox Christian perspective, by Angelo Nicolaides, see [7]

Pharos Journal of Theology ISSN 2414-3324 online Volume 101 – (2020)

[3] Centesimus Annus, 1991

[4] See short video about business as an instrument for God and people: https://vimeo.com/152713982

[5] See ‘Deeply Rooted for the Future’: http://matstunehag.com/2020/12/23/deeply-rooted-for-the-future/

[6] Market and Morals, by Jonathan Sacks. Aug 2020

[7] The trinitarian reciprocal love, interdependence and collaboration, have bearings on our relationships and responsibilities, also for the planet: “Relational human existence involves interdependence and interaction simultaneously between human beings themselves and the nature they commonly share and companies need to be clear on this. … They should also endeavour to serve environmentally friendly planetary needs so that future generations may also enjoy God’s creation.” Ethics and the dignity of work: An Orthodox Christian perspective, by Angelo Nicolaides.

Pharos Journal of Theology ISSN 2414-3324 online Volume 101 – (2020)

[8] See https://thirdpathinitiative.com/holistic-integrated-bam-will-make-history/

[9] Wealth Creation and the Stewardship of Creation. https://bamglobal.org/wealth-creation-stewardship/

 

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 21 languages.

 

 

 

WANT MORE CONTENT ON ESSENTIAL BAM CONCEPTS & PRACTICES?

JOIN US AT THE BAM GLOBAL CONGRESS

A GLOBAL MEETING POINT FOR THE BAM COMMUNITY

Join us at this innovative virtual main event framed by a lead-in series of monthly webinars and a follow-up series of workshops and meet-ups.

We will CELEBRATE what God is doing through business around the world, CONNECT you with a global network of people and initiatives, and CREATE momentum to multiply the BAM movement for greater impact.

PRE-CONGRESS WEBINARS: October 2020 to March 2021

CONGRESS MAIN EVENT: 28 – 30 April 2021

POST-CONGRESS WORKSHOPS: May 2021 to July 2021

REGISTER NOW: Pre-Series Pass – $50, Premium All Access Pass – $175

It is not too late to register for the Pre-Series Pass, all webinars have been recorded and will be available to ticket holders.

 

 

 

 

Banner image by Olga Serjantu on Unsplash

 

Editor’s Pick 2020: Making a Positive Impact on the World Through Business – Where to Start?!

EDITORʼS PICK 2020

Our goal is to provide the BAM Community with regular content and resources. As we come to the end of what has been a very challenging year, we are highlighting your and our favourite articles of the past year. Below is the “Editor’s Pick” for January to December 2020.

We hope it inspires you for all the ways Christ-centred business can make a difference in the world as we look forward to 2021. Thanks for reading this year!

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

 

 

How We Integrate Business and Mission: In Planning and Daily Operations

During our October Webinars this week, Mats Tunehag had the privilege of interviewing six BAM leaders in a series of three Fireside Chats, on the themes of each day: Start-up BAM, Fruitful BAM and Long BAM.

On day one, on the theme of Start-Up BAM, Mats interviewed Annie and Peter.* Annie is the CEO of a manufacturing business in Southeast Asia and Peter is the CEO and Co-Founder of a BAM Investment Company, with experience mentoring and investing in scores of BAM businesses over 20+ years.

Here are some excerpts from their Fireside Chat Interview:

Mats: Peter, in Business as Mission we talk about having a positive impact on multiple bottom lines, for multiple stakeholders. When should you start planning for impact on the four bottom lines, financial, social, environmental and spiritual?

Peter: Think of a number line with negative numbers to the left and zero in the middle, which marks that day, the fateful day when you open your doors for business. Then the positive numbers are to the right that mark the years as time passes. I would say that you start planning for this quadruple bottom line impact at minus 3 or minus 2 years on that number line. In other words you have to start doing that, before you start trading. Once you start trading, all sorts of pressures will overtake everything else in the business.

Now planning for that doesn’t mean it will play out the way you thought it would. Being able to adjust and pivot is the reality of BAM, so you are going to need to modify those quadruple bottom line impacts, but start early.

Mats: And, how do you monitor progress towards that integrated impact?

Peter: How do you measure it? Realise that not everything can be measured quantifiably or numerically. A lot of measurement in BAM companies is qualitative, especially the relational side of things. I know many might think in terms of hard numbers when it comes to things like numbers of people that have come to know the Lord, or various other spiritual impact metrics. However, that’s very hard to do, and runs the risk of taking things into your hands and out of the hands of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t mean you don’t focus on those things. You can plan for and document activities that may lead to that impact. But in terms of the progress of the Kingdom in people’s lives from a spiritual point of view, largely that is out of our hands. The other thing I think you can measure is what I call redemptive impacts, on things like poverty and justice issues… We advise people to develop a very rigorous commercial plan, and also a very rigorous spiritual impact plan.  Read more

The Seamless Integration of Business as Mission: The Nucleus of BAM

by Mike Baer

In the early to mid 1990’s, as BAM was beginning to be rediscovered in Scripture and the world of missions activity, there was a phrase floating around to describe what we were thinking and doing. Our company, The Jholdas Group, for example, actually built it into our mission statement. “Our purpose,” we wrote, “is to support church planting among the unreached people groups of the 10/40 Window through the seamless integration of Business as Mission.” I believe that this phrase, the seamless integration of Business as Mission, was and still is at the core of the modern BAM movements, it is the nucleus around which all other particles orbit.

Let’s quickly parse the phrase in reverse. There is not an “s.” in mission, It’s not “business as missions.” That would limit it to missionary activity. It’s bigger and more encompassing. The word mission refers to the purpose of God in the world. It’s much more than saving souls, although that is vital. The purpose of God, His mission, is to glorify Himself and His grace In Jesus Christ in this broken world by redeeming, restoring, and transforming people, communities, societies, institutions, and the environment affected by the fall. In the words of Isaac Watts, “He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found…”

What Business as Mission does in the term “seamless integration” is to simply ask every Christian to bring every aspect of his or her existence and constantly ask, “Lord Jesus, how might this glorify you?”

Business is God’s institution for producing wealth through the profitable exchange of ideas, labor, products, services, etc. It is His engine of wealth creation from before the fall and now after the fall; I, for one, believe that work and business will exist in the fully manifested Kingdom of God. Wealth creation is God’s means of blessing humanity, providing our daily bread, and enabling us to improve our lives and the lives of our neighbors.

Seamless integration means perfected unity. It is recognizing that when God created all things they worked together perfectly, they were aligned, they were integrated. Sin brought disintegration and fractured living. Grace brings wholeness, reintegration, and holism. Life under the Lordship of Christ knows no boundaries, no compartments, no hierarchies. Life and the life of the Body is a unified, free-flowing experience and expression of the glory of God.  Read more

Difficult Days and Easter Promises

by Patrick Lai

Easter is easily my favorite time of the year. I am sure this Easter will be meaningful too, but unlike all previous Easters – like many of you – I will be at home as our city is in lockdown. For the first time since Easter 1886 our church, which I dearly love, will be empty on Easter Sunday as we are all meeting online. These are difficult days, but nothing compared to what Jesus endured for us 2000 years ago. In Romans 8 verses 28 to 39 God speaks to us concerning such difficult times as these…

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

The phrase, all things, appears three times here. In each case it refers to the difficulties Paul is facing. Consider the difficulties he was facing: trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and sword, and even death.

In mentioning this phrase “all things” it speaks to what God will do IN and THROUGH us as we face difficulties.

Remember Easter, and in the midst of these difficulties remember that God, through Easter, promises us three things:

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 spiritual 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