Where is Further Research Needed and Who Else Should We Be Listening To?

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 also asked us:

Where is further research needed? To whom else should we be listening?

We received input from 25 global leaders on theses question especially as it relates to business as mission.

Where is further research needed?

In answer to areas for further research, three broad areas stood out:

1. Mission Strategy
  • Effective church planting and how best to reach unreached peoples today
  • Polycentric mission, mobilising near- or same-culture workers
  • Integral mission strategies, especially enterprise-related
  • Cross-cultural understanding
  • Utilising technology in mission

There are abundant Kingdom resources scattered around the globe, for example, global south billionaires to Christian diaspora communities in least reached nations. These need to be better mapped so we can identify how to capitalize on these resources and where to find additionally needed resources.

With respect to unreached people groups there is much practical research needed to locate Christians and identify those among them who are entrepreneurial. Furthermore, in this context, there is a need to identify the existence of trade and its potential for growth in the short, medium and long terms.

An area where we need research would be in best practices of utilizing technology and social media as instruments of fulfilling the Great Commission. 

The mapping of those least reached, especially those hidden in plain sight among larger groupings, will certainly help business planners assess how to integrate business necessities such as market size, labour pools, supply chains and resources with missional objectives to reach the unreached.

The church should follow and further growing research on how corporate culture is formed and functions, and the possible role of corporate culture in evangelism. St. Francis was attributed as saying, “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” Business culture with its daily opportunities for values-based decisions may become a fruitful foundation upon which to disciple all nations, paving the way for the preaching and receiving of the gospel. Research would help us know with more certainty to what extent this is true and the means by which this might occur to best further the Great Commission.

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In What Areas is Greater Collaboration Most Critical?

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 also asked us:

In what areas is greater collaboration most critical in order to see the fulfillment of the Great Commission?

We received input from 25 global leaders on this question especially as it relates to business as mission. Four themes emerged as follows, illuminated by some direct quotes from leaders:

1. Collaboration between clergy and laity; between the business sphere and the church, mission agencies, and theological institutions.

2. Collaboration and openness by Evangelicals with other church traditions; overcoming barriers to hearing and learning from other perspectives, both political and theological.

3. Collaboration between geographical regions; working against nationalism and communicating and partnering with cultural humility.

4. Collaboration between organisations, and especially different parts of the BAM ecosystem; reducing redundancy, resource wastage and destructive competition.


1. Collaboration between clergy and laity; between the business sphere and the church, mission agencies, and theological institutions

I commend the Wealth Creation Manifesto as a foundation for cooperation between the BAM movement and mission organisations. There is great suspicion of business among mission organisations, much of it based on observation of the unethical (Babylonian) way in which so much business occurs.

The institutional church needs to recognize that itself alone would never be enough to see the fulfilment of the Great Commission. We need missional leaders from all walks of life: the marketplace, the media, the government, etc. to share the vision together and to collaborate.

There needs to be a much greater collaboration between the business as mission movement and the institutional church. Most pastors do not understand the God of Business, and many perpetuate the dichotomy between “sacred” and “secular.” Many BAM ministries find the church difficult to move in and through, so this work is done in NGOs outside of the church. But once a denomination does commit to this idea, so many pastors are happy to receive this news, because it is a win-win-win-win. It is a win for the business owner, the business itself, the church, and the community. This is powerful.  There is no downside.
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How Agriculture Ends Poverty: 
3 Discoveries About What Works

by Roxanne Addink DeGraaf

Growing up in Iowa, the agricultural heartland of the United States, I was surrounded by farms. I remember childhood summers milking cows and “walking beans” (walking between rows of soybeans to pick weeds) on my grandparent’s farm. I saw how the farm put food on the table, as I always enjoyed a cold glass of milk from the dairy after chores.

After college, I began to understand agriculture from the perspective of small-scale farmers in Kenya. I worked for two years alongside women who spent long days in their fields to not only put food on the table, but also to earn an income for their families. Everything from buying school uniforms to medical services relied on their farm’s output.

And this is not unique to Kenya. Traveling the globe with Partners Worldwide, I’ve continued to witness the centrality of agriculture in many countries and communities where we work, from subsistence farmers to thriving cooperatives.

Agriculture: A Primary Occupation of the Poor

While employment in agriculture is declining overall, agriculture is still the primary occupation for one in three people in the world (FAO). For people living in poverty, 70% live in rural areas and the majority are involved in agriculture (World Bank/Gates Foundation).

At Partners Worldwide, these facts are shaping how we work towards our vision to end poverty through business so that all may have abundant life.

We recently launched a pilot initiative focused on supporting and leveraging the resources of our partners in Africa who were already serving the agricultural sector. This pilot has been our learning lab. We’ve had some failed experiments, while other interventions have led to powerfully positive outcomes. Overall, the results affirm the vital role that agriculture plays in ending poverty.  Read more

How Business Fights Poverty: Stories from a Global Network

by Lauren Rahman

Business is uniquely positioned to respond to the needs of this world.  The Partners Worldwide global network works every day to leverage this truth for change. We recognize that business is a calling to do God’s work by creating flourishing economic environments in all parts of the world.

In places where poverty devastates communities and robs individuals of their ability to realize their full, God-given potential, we work to catalyze entrepreneurs and job-creators. Through business, these local leaders are fighting poverty and the various effects poverty has on communities and individuals—physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and environmental.

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The most obvious form of poverty we encounter is physical poverty—a lack of material things that contribute to our well-being—shelter, food, clothing, medicine. Business gives families access to these things, both through income from jobs and by providing the goods and services needed to flourish. Read more

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