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Business as Mission: Looking Back and Looking Forward [Video]

Watch this 12 minute excerpt from a conversation Mats and Jo recently recorded on ‘The History of BAM‘. Hear some thoughts on the theme of ‘Celebrate’ for this month on The BAM Review, some of the history and context in which the current BAM movement fits, and some of the things we are looking forward to in BAM Global.

The full 45 minute conversation on ‘The History of BAM’ will be bonus material for the BAM Global Congress in April 2021. See more information on the Congress below.

Read more about the BAM Resource Team here and BAM Global here.

 

 

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: Basic Congress Pass – $100, Premium All Access Pass – $175

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

 

 

 

Let’s Celebrate! Significant Growth Areas for BAM Over 20 Plus Years

by Jo Plummer

Business and mission have been woven together in various ways through history since Paul the Apostle made tents in New Testament times and modelled Christian leadership in the marketplace. However, through the 1970s, 80s and 90s there was a grassroots growth of business professionals and entrepreneurs seeking to intentionally integrate business and mission, marking the beginnings of the contemporary tentmaking and then business as mission movements. At the very end of the 1990s and the early 2000s, there was a burst of activity around  business as mission: consultations, conferences, books, articles, the first websites etc. – and this kick-started greater momentum in the BAM movement, which has been growing to this day.

The Business as Mission Resource Team (who develop this website and blog) celebrate our 20th anniversary this month, having been founded in March 2001. We’re in a celebrating mood!

Two years ago, to celebrate about 20 years since the term ‘business as mission’ was first used and discussed, we asked a group of BAM leaders to share their view on what progress we can celebrate in the BAM movement over the last 20 years or so. We’re reposting it this month as part of our CELEBRATION series.

What are some wins, or significant growth areas in business as mission that we should note and be thankful for?

The movement has gained traction. People now understand the legitimacy and role of BAM in particular and the calling of business in general for the Great Commission. New organizations have been founded to address the gaps in the BAM movement such as mentoring, funding, events for promoting and networking, etc. More established older organizations have begun embracing BAM ministry by starting a division, department or group focused on BAM. The biggest win for me is the wider acceptance of BAM as a way to impact the world for Christ by the global Church (with a capital C). We still have a ways to go, but the progress has been significant. God has used the BAM movement to move the needle. – Joseph Vijayam, BAM Practitioner & Lausanne Catalyst  Read more

Celebrating God’s Purposes for Business

by Jo Plummer

We have chosen the themes: CELEBRATE, CONNECT & CREATE for the upcoming BAM Global Congress.

As we gather the BAM movement together from every corner of the world, we want to:
+ CELEBRATE what God is doing through business around the world
+ CONNECT with a global network of collaborators
+ CREATE momentum for the future of business as mission

In March, as we prepare for the Congress next month (see information below), we are going to focus on the theme of CELEBRATE!

I believe that to do effective business as mission, we must start with a solid foundation of thinking about business from a biblical perspective. In other words, before we get to the ‘as mission’, we need to understand God’s design for business – and yes, celebrate it, because it is really good!

Celebrating God’s Purposes for Business

It is no secret that my favourite quote about business comes from Dallas Willard who said that, ‘Business is a primary moving force of the love of God in human history.’ [1]

Business, done well, is glorifying to God and has enormous potential to do good. Business has an innate God-given power to create dignified jobs, to multiply resources, to provide for families and communities and to push forward innovation and development in human society.

In Deuteronomy 8 we read that it is God who gives us the ability to produce wealth. He provides abundant natural resources so that we can use our creativity, talents, and hard work to provide for ourselves and innovate for society. Business processes naturally generate wealth and resources; companies are able to create good products and services for the benefit of communities. Business pushes forward innovation, helping societies develop; enterprises bring in new technologies, skills, and training to communities. Business, done well – not forgetting the Lord our God (Deut 8:11) – is glorifying to him.  Read more

Wealth: A Tool or a Trap? 33 Questions for Reflection

by Evan Keller

Is wealth a tool or a trap? Well, both. Before we can sharpen it into an effective tool to serve others, we have to ask God to free us from the ways that money entraps our hearts. No surprise: with God it always comes down to the heart. Does how we use wealth reveal worship of God or of self? Who’s at the center of our story? The answers expose our two biggest money problems: pride and idolatry. Those may be our most serious and stubbornly entrenched sins – like insidious garden weeds that seem to spring back as quickly as you pull them out. Pride and idolatry sneakily capture our hearts, replacing God as our go-to for security and fulfillment.  

Pride intentionally forgets the source of all abundance. King David admits to God that “wealth and honor come from you” (1 Chronicles 29:12), And pride is only one of many pitfalls of the heart that come with wealth. 

How can I guard my heart from its sinful tendencies? I’ve developed this list of reflection questions to help me do just that in the coming months and years. Please join me in using these to see where our hearts are at, discovering in what we are placing our trust and finding our joy.  Read more

From All About Me to What About Me? A Personal Journey

by Evan Keller

Obviously, it was “all about me” with the “rich fool” (from Luke 12:15-21) we discussed in the previous post; let’s flip now to one whose heart was all about God. We’re jumping from the New Testament to the Old, from a fictional character to a historic one.

King David was much richer in wealth, fame, and power than the nameless “rich man” in Christ’s parable. Yet he saw those accomplishments for what they were: gifts of grace from God. On the other hand, the “rich man” couldn’t see past his inflated view of himself. He didn’t even acknowledge God. Twice in his psalms, David wrote: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). And “fool” is precisely what God calls the “rich man” upon his death in Christ’s parable. Conversely, God called David “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22).

Everything Comes from You Lord

Old Testament scholar Christopher Wright explains: “David’s example of putting his personal wealth into the temple project (1 Chronicles 29:2-5) motivates the rest of the leaders to do the same (29:6-8), which then seems to motivate the rest of the people in turn” (29:9). (Christopher Wright, The Righteous Rich in the Old Testament) He prays in disbelief: “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand” (1 Chronicles 29:14).  Read more

Creating Wealth and Being Rich Towards God

by Evan Keller

Scripture doesn’t condemn wealth, but is very concerned about how we get it, what we do with it, and whether it takes precedence in our hearts above God’s “house”. Gifts from God are not like the new, shiny bike you got for Christmas as a child, meant for you alone. No, gifts that come from God are to you but for others, “not a privilege but a responsibility – the Abrahamic responsibility of being a blessing to others. (Gen. 12:1-3)” (Christopher Wright, The Righteous Rich in the Old Testament)

This message doesn’t quite sit well with us fallen (yet being redeemed) humans. We want our shiny gifts to shine our own reputations. The Apostle Paul knows this, so keeps insisting that gifts are meant to serve the Body of Christ – the church – and bring glory to God. Likewise, the Old Testament prophet, Haggai asks: “Whose house are you building? Yours or God’s?”

Each of us use our gifts to build something every day. Are our efforts focused more on building our own little empire or God’s glorious one? According to 1 Kings 6:38-7:1, Solomon built God’s temple in seven years but spent 13 years constructing his own palace! As someone who’s currently building a house for my family, am I spending even more of my time and my gifts to build God’s house? I would say so, but those who know me best should make that call given that I’m not immune to self-deception.  Read more

Four Hands in Two Countries: A Parable of Talents!

by Evan Keller

What brings a stone carver and a mechanic together? Although they‘ve never even met, this story connects two (of my favorite) people who revel in lavishing generosity on others. Both Josue and Don beautifully embody the joy of giving that my new book explores. They are master craftsmen who love blessing people through their handiwork: Josue’s hands work in stone and Don’s hands master mechanics. Their Haiti-Florida bond was born in February of 2012 as we at Creating Jobs Inc mentored Josue Jean-Gilles in his business of creating plaques and gifts carved from stone.

At the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake, Josue suffered damage to his Léogâne home and workshop while fellow church members lost their very lives. Important foundations of his life continued to crumble as his mother died of a likely curable illness and his wife abandoned him and their children. After we heard Josue preach with passion one Sunday morning, his divorce forced a year-long furlough from teaching and leading at his church, which shook him further. So, you can see that his youthful face masks more heartache than a young man should have to bear. Yet his soul has not shrunk in self-protection but keeps giving, hoping and investing in others. It would have been natural to closely guard what remained, including a regional monopoly on his type of artisanal stone carving. Instead, he spread his skills far and wide by sharing his well-honed techniques with not only employees, but many orphans, and several new competitors he helped to raise up. Now that’s a mindset of abundance!  Read more

Business Response Plan: From Intensive Care to Recovery

In Part 1 of this blog, we identified four stages you can take to proactively lead your organization through the uncertainty and down the road to recovery.

Once you have taken care of the most urgent tasks in the “Emergency Room” phase, it is time to start treating your business to lead it towards longer term stabilization, recovery and repositioning.

2. Moving through Intensive Care

Main Priority: Address the unhealthy areas in your organization and enlist the larger organization in your response.

Establish stakeholder communication plan

During times of uncertainty, increased communication is vital.

Who are your key stakeholders?

How often should you be in contact?

What is the best media and approach?

Implement employee care & development plan

During times of crisis, more care and attention is needed, and development challenges are available.

What current needs are your employees facing?

Who can you give development challenges to?

How can you build your culture during this time?  Read more

Business Response & Recovery Plan to COVID-19

A process to lead your organization through uncertainty and down the road to recovery

If your business has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, we recommend taking immediate action. Don’t “wait and see” what might transpire.

We have identified four stages you can take to proactively lead your organization through the uncertainty and down the road to recovery.

Our Core Assumptions

  • The spread of this pandemic will lead to major disruptions in almost every industry.
  • A “wait and see” approach could be destructive –prepare for the worst and hope for the best
  • No one can predict the future. A systematic and agile approach is needed.
  • Every customer and employee is experiencing some level of stress, anxiety, or fear. Strong values-based leadership is needed
  • No business will remain the same. The disruption will create opportunities for retooling or repositioning for those that are proactive.

 

1. Getting Started in the Emergency Room

Main Priority: Help your leaders and organization recognize the urgency of the times, align to secure the safety of stakeholders and stop the financial bleeding.   

Here are some activities for the “Emergency Room” stage of a crisis:

Rally Key Leaders

 Rally key leaders with a wake-up call and clear sense of urgency

 Avoid inaction and a “wait and see” approach

Key Questions to Answer:

What is a realistic picture that recognizes there is no certainty on when things will improve?

What will need to change with your communication and meeting cadence?

Set a Baseline

 Determine clear financial picture around cash flow, profit/loss, etc

 Identify cost cutting measures

 Determine worst case scenario for supply chain, project schedules, and other operational critical areas

Key Question to Answer:

How deep can your cuts go without inhibiting your ability to recover once stable?  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