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BAM and the Church: Unleashing the Power of the Congregation in the Global Marketplace

We believe the local church can effectively disciple and equip their members to have a positive influence on the marketplace – and especially the spheres of business and economics – with the complete understanding that God said it is ‘very good’.

While the modern business as mission movement has been growing and expanding globally for several decades, much of this growth has been outside of local church contexts. Yet the BAM Manifesto, published twenty years ago, thoroughly grounded this movement in the global Church when it ended with these recommendations:

We call upon the Church worldwide to identify, affirm, pray for, commission and release businesspeople and entrepreneurs to exercise their gifts and calling as businesspeople in the world – among all peoples and to the ends of the earth.

We call upon businesspeople globally to receive this affirmation and to consider how their gifts and experience might be used to help meet the world’s most pressing spiritual and physical needs through Business as Mission.

In 2014, BAM Global further identified three major goals for the BAM movement, our ‘BAM BHAGs‘. The third of these goals is ‘Transform views of business in the Church worldwide’. To this end, we are committed:

…to change the thinking of the global church on business. BAM Global will positively engage with leaders in business, church, missions, and academia to influence attitudes about business, wealth creation, work, and economics and affirm business as a God-given gift and calling. Business as mission is about realizing this new paradigm in the marketplace.

The Church Gathered Empowering the Church Scattered

These recommendations and goals are powerful reminders of the vital role played by both the church gathered and the church scattered in business as mission.

The ‘church gathered’ is the gathering of the saints in specific geographical areas, that is believers joined together in their local institutional church congregation or assembly, be it part of a denomination or an independent assembly. The ‘church scattered’ is Christ’s disciples spread throughout society, living out their faith within the home, neighbourhood, community or workplace.

The newly published BAM Global Report on BAM and the Church aims to rediscover the power, potential and synergy that flows out of a strong relationship between the local church gathered and the church scattered in the marketplace.

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Why We Need the Term Business as Mission, But Maybe Not Forever!

by Mats Tunehag

I hope very few people will talk about Business as Mission (BAM) in the future. The term is like scaffolding; it is needed for a season as we build a new paradigm and praxis: businesses that glorify God and bring about holistic transformation of people and societies.

The term BAM has its merits in clarification of the concept. The term has been helpful in the affirmation of business people and the mobilization of resources. But the term is not important – the concept and the applications are.

Many Terms, Similar Concepts

In the general business world, there are also several terms for businesses that aim at multiple bottom-lines serving multiple stakeholders. Some examples are social enterprise, creative capitalism, conscious capitalism, corporate social responsibility, and inclusive business. Different terms, but very similar concept.

Some people dislike the term BAM or question its usefulness. Other phrases are used, such as business for transformation, Kingdom companies, missional business or business as integral calling.

Even this article highlights a limitation regarding terminology: it is in English. There are about 6,000 other languages in the world.  Read more

3 Different Routes into Business as Mission: How They Got Started

Read this classic blog from our Archives, first published on The BAM Review blog in January 2016 and republished for the Summer Series 2022.

From Dream to Island Reality: Samantha

At the tender age of nine, rather than dreaming of make-believe castles and glass slippers, Samantha dreamed about living her life on a certain archipelago in Asia. After college Samantha spent a year in China teaching English then returned to the States to get her Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Upon graduating, she taught English for several years at high school level. Then one day God began stirring that dream from her childhood of living in Asia. After months of seeking wise counsel and pushing on doors, a plan began to take shape. True to His word, God did “more than she could ask or imagine”, doors opened for her to join an organisation that fit her youthfulness and passion. She raised long-term support, and took a survey trip. Within a short time Samantha had moved and begun studying the local language on a main island of the archipelago. She was open to God’s provision, setting no expectations on how long she would remain long-term in the country.

Three months into her language studies Samantha received a phone call from a certain small business ministering out in the islands asking if she would join them in their endeavor. Samantha had connected with this business months prior during her survey trip, hoping that God would open the door for her to join their business since their vision was the same as hers for the islands. With her teaching skills and a passion for the Islands, she immediately said, “Yes!” – believing she could do anything God called her to, including small business. Read more

9 Keys for Successful BAM Deployment

Read this classic blog from our Archives, first published on The BAM Review blog in February 2016 and republished for the Summer Series 2022.

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

Reaching the Marginalised and the Skewed Deployment of Resources

The business as mission community is contributing to a wider ‘listening process’ in the global evangelical mission community as part of our connection the Lausanne Movement. Lausanne asked us:

What are the most significant gaps or remaining opportunities toward the fulfillment of the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20)?

We in turn received input from 25 global leaders on this question especially as it relates to business as mission. Four main themes emerged as leaders answered this question, which we will share in four blog posts through November.

The second theme was the need to intentionally rebalance the deployment of resources and focus more attention on those that are currently marginalised. We need to acknowledge that many more resources are focused on some areas of the world and some categories of people than they are on others. Business as mission has a special concern for the world’s poorest and least evangelised peoples so this is extremely pertinent to us, read more about what defines BAM here.

Theme 2: Reaching the Marginalised and the Skewed Deployment of Resources

There are still vast swathes of the world’s population that remain marginalised. Marginalised from mainstream economic life, freedom of worship and conscience, decent environmental conditions whether air, water, housing, working environment, etc. Vast swathes remain “un-digitalised”, and largely unreached “hidden in plain sight” from the gospel in its wholistic intent. We must recognise and respond to the strategic imperative of the Great Commission, within the context of the Great Commandment. Conversely, rebuilding, redeeming, and restoring broken, imperfect contexts and environments affords amazing opportunities for the Church to engage and have an enduring, relevant testimony of love and creativity that will honour our Father in Heaven.
CS

The remaining least-reached groups are often in places which limit the access of traditional, far-culture missionaries. Same and near culture workers will need to be highly contextualized, adapted, flexible, and have an identity which allows credible access to the community. In many cases this will be business (farming, trading, small manufacturing) but in other cases may be NGO work or other work. We need to mobilize the near culture churches into a missions mindset revolution, with them increasingly sending humble, hard-working, believers (often in small family groups) to these least reached groups in both urban and rural settings.
HE

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Let’s Make Business as Mission Both Global and Local

As part of our continuing series on ‘BAM: A Global Glimpse’ we revisit this article by Joseph Vijayam.

In 2013 I was on a business trip in Jakarta. One afternoon my host asked if I would join him for a gathering of believers in his office building. To my surprise, this was not a small gathering of believers; it was a full-fledged worship service with songs, intercession, testimonies, and a short sermon with over 100 people in attendance. During the time of testimonies, people were sharing about their needs, including those at work, home, and in their communities. One of the business owners in the room shared that he sees himself as a pastor to his co-workers. At that moment, I realized that here in one of the megacities of Asia, weekly church service had taken a new form. The venue was a business conference room, the people in attendance came as individuals rather than families, significant time was spent in sharing of testimonies by new believers, and the time of their meeting was on a busy weekday. Every aspect of the event perfectly fit the needs of first-generation believers working in high rise offices in Jakarta. 

Though the purpose and function of the Body of Christ have remained the same, its local form has changed from age to age and from one culture to another. What I experienced in Jakarta was a unique expression of the local church that is ideal to the city of Jakarta for this generation. If the gathering of believers can take different forms, can our approach to bringing people into the Church be just as creative and specific to their situation? Not only do I believe that it can, I think it is essential.  Read more

Resources & Prayer Requests from Our Global Network

One of our goals here at The BAM Review, and in all our work, is ‘to put more global into BAM Global‘. We want to strengthen and invigorate the BAM movement in all parts of the world, creating greater depth and breadth globally.

To continue our ‘BAM: A Global Glimpse‘ series of blogs, we asked nine of our BAM Global Ambassadors to share what resources were available from their network, their plans for the future, and how we can pray for them.

 

What are the plans and activities in your region or issue network for the next 12 months? What resources do you have to share with people? How do people connect with you?

 

ROMANIA

We are planning a BAM event on 16th October, in Bucharest, where the youth from the BAM Incubator program will be able to pitch their business in front of potential angel investors.

I visited and connected with those who are doing Business as Mission in Romania and I wrote down their story on the BAM Romania website. We also want to translate and create some video resources for the BAM Romania website and social media. We are planning to find and visit people who are doing BAM in Romania and write up their story or create a short video with their story.

Connect with us through the BAM Romania website and social media pages:

BAM Romania Website

Facebook

YouTube

Adrian Buhai, BAM Romania

BRAZIL

Our main activity is to organize resources for social media, spread the vision, seek partnerships with other institutions, raise funds, and build a team. I also direct people interested in BAM to find courses, lectures, and partners in the BAM ecosystem operating in Brazil. Plans for the next 12 months include the registration of BAM Brasil as an organisation, developing the website, and the creation of a framework that will allow BAM Brasil to generate resources so that it can grow. We continue to establish as the main BAM network in Brazil, offering events, and training for entrepreneurs, churches, universities and missionary agencies. We’ve been mapping and strengthening the ecosystem for BAM in Brazil and work by partnering with other groups, involving them in our events. Today our partners in the BAM ecosystem include: Mission Agencies, e.g. Crossover, YWAM; Theological seminaries, e.g. FATEV, FABAPAR; International Networks, e.g. Tent Brasil, Open Brasil; Incubators and Investors, e.g. Bluefields, Lightup, Goldstreet Venture Capital; Companies, e.g. Snowman Labs and Asaweb, and many others.

Our main channels are:

Instagram

Facebook

YouTube

Telegram

People can connect directly with us via Instagram. Look out for our new website coming soon, along with our new team email address and contact form.

Samara Bramen, BAM Brasil

SOUTH ASIA

For the BAM South Asia region, we are organizing webinars every two months on helpful topics. Our next regional conference will be in February 2022, Lord willing.  All the major marketplace ministries in the region are now a part of the BAM South Asia Network: ICCC, FCCI, CBMC, BLG, BMFI, Partners Worldwide, etc.

Find out more at the BAM South Asia website. The webinars are listed on that site and people can connect with us via:

Facebook

Email

We also have WhatsApp groups and a mailing list, people can join by invitation through the other channels and marketplace networks mentioned above. Read more

BAM Global Ambassadors: Congress Take Aways

As part of our ‘BAM: A Global Glimpse‘ series of blogs, we asked nine BAM Global Ambassadors to share what they took away from the recent BAM Global Congress.

 

What are your take aways from the BAM Global Congress, including the lead-in webinars, the April main event and follow-up webinars? What have you learned? What has encouraged you?

 

For me, getting to know new people who are doing business as mission around the world and learning from them is the most important take away from the BAM Global Congress. I am not so good in attending online meetings, I have a kind of attention disorder when I am in them, but I really enjoyed meeting new people and listening to their stories, like Hakan from Itzinya, Marian from Turbocam and others.
Adrian Buhai, BAM Romania

 

I took away lessons from real BAM business experiences. It also reinforced that business as mission is one of the ways God uses to bring complete economic, social, environmental, and spiritual transformation, bringing dignity and life to people. It motivates me and encourages me to continue to work for this vision!
Samara Bramen, BAM Brasil

 

It was encouraging to see that the concept of business as mission has taken root across many regions of the world. It was also exciting to see a significant number of new entrepreneurs and those who are thinking of starting businesses learning about BAM through the Congress. The program was well designed with something new and valuable for everyone. The session on “Dealing with Corruption” seemed helpful to many from the Global South. I was encouraged to see that there are a growing number of BAMers from non-western countries, which I applaud.
Joseph Vijayam, BAM South Asia

 

The Congress was really a great event! I was excited about how it was organised. I think that the Congress, with the longer time frame of the pre- and post-congress meetings, plus the possibility to connect in groups or one-on-one gave even more opportunities than an in-person three day Congress would have done. For me to see how all these things were organised is the most important part of the Congress. Of course there were a lot of interesting speakers but I can hardly choose amongst them.
Mikhail Dubrovskiy, BAM Russia

 

From the lead-in pre-Congress webinars, I had been aware of BAM Global but this gave me the opportunity to connect and learn more about the global movement. From the main April Congress, it was so inspiring to get a snapshot of the impact of business for the Great Commission. It was also very motivating to see the immense need for BAM to gain a strong traction in Africa and to make connections with a wide variety of people who would benefit the new BAM Southern Africa network through their experience and expertise. From the post-Congress series, it was excellent to be able to follow up with people and good for networking.
Derick Slabbert, BAM Southern Africa

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BAM: A Global Glimpse

One of our goals here at The BAM Review, and in all our work, is ‘to put more global into BAM Global‘. We want to strengthen and invigorate the BAM movement in all parts of the world, creating greater depth and breadth globally.

To that end, BAM Global has started to identify leaders around the world who are working to facilitate the BAM network in their region or around a particular topic. These leaders coordinate, engage others and help raise up future leaders, building capacity in their network and for the movement at large. We call them BAM Global Ambassadors, or “BAMbassadors” for fun!

We would like to introduce nine out of our current 20 BAM Global Ambassadors to you. To begin with, we asked them to share what is happening in their network and also what got them started in BAM.

 

You are the BAM Global Ambassador for… What has been most encouraging or exciting in your region or issue network? What has happened so far in terms of growth, initiatives, or moving the needle?

 

I am the BAM Global Ambassador for Romania. We started a BAM Incubator in Romania and so far we have eight youth that want to start a business as mission enterprise through this program. We organised a BAM Webinar in June and more than 50 people participated in that meeting. We now have a team of three people dedicated to do and promote BAM in Romania including me.
Adrian Buhai

 

As a BAM Global Ambassador in Brazil since 2019, I have seen the BAM network here grow in an amazing way through the initiatives that we’ve had to spread this concept, especially being a constant presence on social media. This has reached and awakened many people beyond what we could have imagined, in a relatively short time. Today, in Brazil our team consists of João Mordomo, myself, and other two people who are operationally helping the team. Many people have come to BAM Brazil to be part of the movement and for training and partner initiatives have gained strength and visibility after BAM Brazil began to spread the vision. I have received a lot of positive feedback from people who have now understood BAM as a calling and the movement has grown and become stronger in the churches. Many institutions such as churches, theological seminaries, and missionary agencies, NGOs, and business groups have sought out BAM Brazil to give lectures, BAM classes, speak at events and provide training.
Samara Bramen

 

I am the BAM Global Ambassador for South Asia.  We had a regional conference in February 2020 and are planning for the next conference for February 2022. There is a core team that meets monthly and we are organizing webinars on helpful topics every two months which are well attended. We have become a network of networks, other marketplace ministries are now a part of BAM South Asia.
Joseph Vijayam

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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). 

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