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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

 

Most Read 2020: The Coronavirus Pandemic and BAM: Seven Things We Can Do

MOST READ POST 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 “Most Read Post” for January to December 2020.

Please enjoy and thanks for following!

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.  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

Business Is a Holy Calling That Should Be Affirmed by the Church

by Kara Martin

It is now three years since the Global Consultation on The Role of Wealth Creation for Holistic Transformation and subsequent publications. During August and September 2020 we will have a series of articles on wealth creation, reflecting on the eleven affirmations in the Wealth Creation Manifesto, which now exists in 17 languages.

Affirmations 3 and 4 of the Wealth Creation Manifesto focus on the fact that wealth creation – business – is a holy calling that should be affirmed by the Church:

3. Wealth creation is a holy calling, and a God-given gift, which is commended in the Bible.
4. Wealth creators should be affirmed by the Church, and equipped and deployed to serve in the marketplace among all peoples and nations.

The Wealth Creation Manifesto is a document the Faith–Work Movement (FWM) has needed. An example to illustrate… I was asked to speak at an august seminary in the United States during their Mission Week. There was a lunchtime seminar attended by 70 students and staff on the topic of business as mission, where I was joined by the second guest for the week, an experienced business missionary.

In his introduction, the head of the missions’ centre outlined the value of business as a platform for missionary activity, and that this was the only way to get into some areas of the world. He invited me to respond. I felt fear and trepidation as I rose to speak, wondering if I would have the courage to say what I needed to at this point.

I explained as gently as I could that the concept of business ‘as a platform’ for missionary activity was both an outdated concept, and a failed strategy. I talked about Mark L Russell’s excellent research into ‘fake’ businesses and their impact: loss of money, lacking credibility – reflecting poorly on local Christians, lacking integrity – suggesting Christians can’t be trusted, and creating suspicion – not just about Christians but about the gospel.

Thankfully the other speaker then explained how he had started out creating a business as a platform, had failed, cost money, and created suspicion. He had then realised that business is the mission, in its own right. He went on to build a successful business, creating networks and a good reputation, lauded by the local government, and with the opportunity to openly witness to staff, their families, customers and suppliers.

The Real Warning About Money

Part of the misunderstanding about the capacity of business to be mission, is a poor theology of money. Money is considered evil and many Christians are cautious about even bringing up the subject. However, it is the love of money that is evil; and wise stewarding of money is a Christian’s responsibility.

In seminaries, there is a reluctance to talk about money in leadership programs, and many church leaders outsource responsibility for finances to others in the congregation. A better understanding of the church as a workplace, and money as a tool to be used by God – just like buildings, programs and gifted people – would greatly enhance the ability for a pastor to lead well, and to equip others to influence well; and for both groups to escape the temptation to love money.  Read more

Creating Wealth for God’s Glory and the Common Good

by João Mordomo

It is now three years since the Global Consultation on The Role of Wealth Creation for Holistic Transformation and subsequent publications. During August and September 2020 we will have a series of articles on wealth creation, reflecting on the eleven affirmations in the Wealth Creation Manifesto, which now exists in 17 languages.

The first two affirmations of the Wealth Creation Manifesto focus on the fact that wealth creation is an overflow of God’s nature, and people are created in God’s image:

1) Wealth creation is rooted in God the Creator, who created a world that flourishes with abundance and diversity.
2) We are created in God’s image, to co-create with Him and for Him, to create products and services for the common good.

These affirmations dwell in the convergence zone between theology and economics, and they serve as the biblical-theological foundation for wealth creation. God is the creator (Gen. 1:1 – 2:4; Neh. 9:6; Ps. 104; Col. 1:16; Rev. 4:11) and owner (Gen. 14:19; 1 Chr. 29:11-12; Ps. 24:1; 1 Cor. 10:26) of the universe, and it is his desire, will, and plan that the world and the people therein flourish with abundance and diversity (Gen. 1:28; Ps. 72:1-7; Prov. 28:20; 2 Cor. 9:8; Rev. 7:9). This is the Old Testament concept of shalom, which theologian Cornelius Plantinga beautifully describes as

The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. We call it peace but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight – a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be. [1]  Read more

Shaping Our Views on Wealth, Wealth Creation and Wealth Creators

by Mats Tunehag

Wealth. That can be a tricky word. There are many connotations in English and the word ‘wealth’ is not always easy to translate into other languages. For many it is mainly about money. But that is only partly true. One can be financially wealthy and socially poor with no friends.

There are different kinds of wealth: financial, social, intellectual, cultural, and spiritual. Wealth can be created, shared, hoarded and destroyed. Hoarding is condemned, and destruction is certainly not commended!

Sharing is good and it is often encouraged. But there is never any wealth to be shared unless it has been created. Wealth creation is actually both a godly gift and a command. [1]

Our views on wealth, wealth creation and wealth creators are important.

Worldview matters and ideas have consequences. One can compare the health and wealth of people and nations with the same culture and language like South and North Korea, and West and East Germany. We can witness how a potentially rich country like Zimbabwe has gone from being a bread basket to a basket case in southern Africa. The oil rich Venezuela is another tragic example of how disregard for basic wealth creation principles has destroyed a country. [2]

We do not see wealth creation as simply a means to make some people rich. To the contrary, we ask, “what really helps the poor?” Instead of asking “what causes poverty, we ask “what causes different kinds of wealth to be created?’

It is a fact that aid – a form of wealth distribution – does not lift people and nations out of poverty long term. Wealth creation does. The biggest lift out of poverty in the history of mankind has happened in our generation. [3] This has been achieved not through aid but by trade; wealth creation through business. This is demonstrated by the escape of hundreds of millions from dire poverty in both India and China since the 1980s.

One cannot tackle poverty without a determined pursuit of wealth creation. [4]

So, what is the role of wealth creation when it comes to the holistic transformation of people and societies? What are biblical principles and the teaching of the church? What lessons have we learned throughout history and around the globe about wealth creation, especially through business? How is wealth creation related to justice, the poor, human trafficking and creation care?  Read more

Wealth Creation Manifesto: Affirming the Role of Business People in God’s Plan for the World

The Bible talks about wealth in three ways; one is bad and two are good. Hoarding of wealth is condemned. Sharing of wealth is encouraged. Wealth creation is both a godly gift and command, and there is no wealth to be shared unless it has been created. But all too often the issue of wealth creation is misunderstood, neglected, or even rejected. The same thing applies to wealth creators.

The Global Consultation on The Role of Wealth Creation for Holistic Transformation aimed at addressing that. During the Consultation process in 2016 and 2017 we discussed various aspects of wealth creation, including justice, poverty, biblical foundation, wealth creators, stewardship of creation and the role of the church.

The Wealth Creation Manifesto below conveys the essentials of our deliberations before and during the Consultation and is now available in 17 languages. It has been just over three years since the Manifesto was first published, with the aim of bringing a much needed affirmation for wealth creation within the global church. It also provides concise biblically-based principles for entrepreneurs and business people in their God-given role as wealth creators (that are then unpacked in 7 full papers on the topic).

This month and next, we are revisiting the Manifesto, with articles covering the eleven affirmations. To kick off this new series, below is a reminder of the Manifesto itself. You can also read a version with bible references here.

CWC Manifesto Cover 200
Background

The Lausanne Movement and BAM Global organized a Global Consultation on The Role of Wealth Creation for Holistic Transformation, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in March 2017. About 30 people from 20 nations participated, primarily from the business world, and also from church, missions and academia. The findings will be published in several papers and a book, as well as an educational video. This Manifesto conveys the essentials of our deliberations before and during the Consultation.

Affirmations

1. Wealth creation is rooted in God the Creator, who created a world that flourishes with abundance and diversity.

2. We are created in God’s image, to co-create with Him and for Him, to create products and services for the common good.

3. Wealth creation is a holy calling, and a God-given gift, which is commended in the Bible.  Read more

BAM vs COVID: Stories of Innovation and Our Unique Contribution

by João Mordomo

In part one of this post I introduced the idea that BAM can help defeat COVID if we have the right focus: Looking Up, Looking Back, Looking Around and Looking Ahead. In this second part, I’ll talk more about our posture and what that looks like in practice, i.e. telling some stories of innovation amidst the crisis.

Posture

Remember the agape love I mentioned before? How does a BAMer put agape into action through business? What should be their posture?

We could talk about agape again, or being a Christlike servant (Phil. 2:3-5), or depending utterly upon God, but those relate to all Christians in general and the question here relates to BAMers in particular — or more broadly, to Christian entrepreneurs. What is different about us?

When God looks at BAM practitioners, who are created in His image, what does He see that is, in many cases, different than in the lives of other believers? The answer relates to the fact that many BAMers are, by nature, entrepreneurial and/or innovative. They look around and see things that others don’t. Everyone can see the problem of COVID-19, but not all will see solutions. Everyone can all battle COVID-19 in a general way, but BAMers can do it very specifically.

That is the posture of a BAMer or Christian business leader: “I’m a problem solver. I’m made in God’s image to innovate and come up with solutions that don’t occur to other people.” Or, “I’m an entrepreneur. I see solutions that others may also see, but they are not willing to take the risk to make the solution a reality, and I am.”

In the past month, I’ve had contact with several outstanding Christian entrepreneurs with this kind of posture, putting agape into practice through business. I want to tell you about three of them, two of which I am closely associated with.

Practice: Stories of Business Leaders in Action

My Pillow

I’ll start with Mike Lindell and his US-based company called My Pillow. I don’t know Lindell personally, though I would describe My Pillow as a Kingdom-focused company. Lindell is outspoken about his Christian faith, and it seems to drive him with respect to how he runs his business. He’s an example of a Christian entrepreneur and business owner willing to jump into the COVID-19 battle immediately, and not without cost to his business: he recently shifted 75% of his manufacturing capacity to the production of medical masks, to the tune of 50,000 per day! He looked around, saw the need, trusted God, and jumped into the battle with the resources at his disposal. Why not take a minute to do the same thing? Look around. Perhaps God will show you how to get into the battle against COVID-19 with the resources you already have stewardship of.  Read more

BAM vs COVID: Look Up, Look Back, Look Around and Look Ahead

by João Mordomo

To paraphrase Sun Tzu, we can win every battle if we know our enemy and know ourselves. But what happens when we don’t know our enemy well? COVID-19 is a case in point. The “facts” are slippery and constantly changing. We don’t really “know” what we think we know!

One thing we do know is that we are in a battle against a killer, and it’s real. One way or another, COVID-19 is killing people, jobs and economies. Another thing we know is that BAM is especially well-positioned to help now in the midst of the battle, and help later in the aftermath. How should BAMers respond right now?

On the basis of what we know. BAM can help defeat COVID if we have the right focus, posture and practices

Focus

In part one of this two part post, I’ll first talk about our necessary focus. We need to look up to God and look back at history first, and then look around and ahead. In part two I’ll talk about posture and practices and share a few real stories about how Christian entrepreneurs are responding. 

Look Up (to God)

COVID-19 is not a surprise to God. He means to use COVID-19 for the common good, the specific good of His children, and His glory. (See Gen. 50:20 and Rom. 8:28.) And Job, with authority, assures us that God “can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (42:2). (See more thoughts on this here)

Rejoice in this, rest in it, and take action because of it!

Look Back (at History)

There have always been plagues and pandemics. It’s instructive to remember how Christians in the early church responded in situations even worse than ours. In The Triumph of Christianity, Rodney Stark reminds us that during the two great plagues of AD 165 and 251, the “truly revolutionary principle” that drove members of the early church to respond sacrificially, even to the point of death, was “Christian love and charity”. The early church grasped agape — sacrificial love — and lived it out. While a third of the Roman Empire was perishing, and physicians were fleeing the cities and priests were abandoning their temples, true “Christians claimed to have answers and, most of all, they took appropriate actions.”

Look Around (for Needs)

Christians — all of us — must look around at immediate needs and take appropriate actions to win the battle against COVID. These actions are usually very simple and related both to how we conduct ourselves (by abiding by the generally applicable rules and guidelines pertaining to COVID, for example) as well as to how we look out for those around us (such as the priest in northern Italy who practiced agape by giving up his ventilator on behalf of a younger patient, and dying as a result). 

However, BAMers have a very specific and special role to play in the battle against COVID, right now. The relief and development analogy is applicable here. Immediately after a natural disaster, we respond with relief aid. Later on, we invest in development. Right now, BAMers can respond with their “relief hats” on, by looking around for immediate needs that they can meet. That could range from taking a financial loss by not firing or laying people off, to re-tasking a workforce and/or retooling a factory to produce personal protective equipment.  Read more