The BAM Global Summit: A Time to Glorify the Work of God

It is difficult to capture what it was like to attend the BAM Global Summit. It’s tough to do justice to the experience of hundreds of people sharing their ideas and prayers live and in real-time from all corners of the world. Of hearing testimonies of how God is moving through His people in business on each continent. When God’s people come together like they did, in one heart and mind to share about God’s work in their stories, it is holy and it is sacred.

To me, this year’s BAM Global Summit was a divine opportunity. Who else gets to see this? Who else gets to hear these testimonies of how God is glorifying His Name through business? How many opportunities are there to hear about God’s work on such a massive and global scale?  It brings new depth and meaning to the words “And you shall be my witnesses in all of the earth.” We, quite literally, were able to witness God working on a global level through this medium of business.

After reflecting on the stories heard at this year’s Summit, one thing stood out clearly: God is using business and business people to bring Himself glory on a global scale. This was highlighted in three ways:

1. BAM is springing up naturally in the hearts of people worldwide – even people who aren’t aware of the global movement

2. The BAM movement is from everywhere to everywhere

3. The Spirit of God comforts and supports His people in BAM, and also through the strength of the BAM community

It was great that we were able to come together online to celebrate, praise, and glorify the Lord for His marvelous works through business.

A Global Work Springing Up Naturally

We may have had moments in the past when it felt like we were pioneering a movement. After attending the Summit, it’s hard to still think we are the pioneers. Rather, it’s evident that God is the one heading up this movement. We can tell because of the countless reports of the people of God starting businesses and engaging in the market with the intention of seeing God’s Kingdom reign on the earth. And this is springing up everywhere, with no other central coordination than the stirring of the Holy Spirit. Many have begun without BAM terminology or resourcing and get connected to the wider community later.

Bill, who has been traveling around the globe to visit with and encourage BAM practitioners, reported,

“I came across this really interesting BAM operation with people who really knew nothing about the movement. What that indicated to me was the movement was really a reflection of what God is doing. And sometimes he keeps doing it even though the folks he’s doing it with haven’t figured out how to connect with the rest of us.”

K from Pakistan reported on a recent initiative in that nation,

“Two hundred people from all across the nation came at one single call. God is really doing something big… people from the international community were there, the people from the business community were there, the people leading the vision were there. It was such a great motivation, and we all together just decided that we will take this as a movement. It is not project-like thinking or activity-based thinking, it is not just an idea. It’s a passion for us to change the paradigm, it’s a dream to see the Christian entrepreneurs in the marketplace in our country.”

As the Summit gave us the opportunity to connect and reflect together, it’s no longer the feeling of a small and starting movement but an evidential explosion into the world of commerce being brought about by God at work and the prayers of the saints. As a community, we’re seeing the fruits we’ve prayed for and realizing it is far beyond ourselves – we give thanks for God’s work.

From Everywhere to Everywhere

On multiple occasions throughout the Summit it was reported, “It’s not just ‘West to the rest’, it’s from everywhere to everywhere”. The phrase “West to the rest” came about because early in the history of Protestant missions, many missionaries went out from Europe and the Americas with the goal of bringing the gospel to the whole world.

But the picture of global mission has been changing for some decades and this is true in the business as mission movement today. From our time at the BAM Global Summit, we heard from global leaders located in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East reporting how they’ve seen new business ventures blossoming, growing, thriving, and multiplying – and entrepreneurs and professionals being mobilized. We are witnesses that He is at work throughout the whole business world.

Not only that, but we’re celebrating together on a global scale. It felt like a glimpse of Revelation: that every tribe, tongue, and nation will come together to praise Him! In our virtual and increasingly connected world, we live in a time when it is beginning to feel commonplace for different tribes, tongues, and nations to come together praising the Lord. Has the world ever been like this before? The Summit was certainly a wonderful opportunity to experience it.

This is how we know it is the Lord at work, and that we are part of His purposes: that people from everywhere are coming together, in unity and fellowship with people they have nothing in common with but the Lord. And that people from everywhere are going everywhere to proclaim His name.

The Ministry of the Spirit of God and the Strength of the BAM Community

The final highlight of the Summit for me, the story I heard time and time again, was how deeply personal and involved God was in each BAMer’s story. In times of tragedy and hardship, pain and hurt – which were quite vulnerably and honestly shared from the main stage and during breakouts – God showed up and spoke into each life, heart, and circumstance.

BAMers go through very specific and unique types of hardships. Though everyone has tough times and trials, businesspeople face a unique set of problems that can be difficult for others to understand and relate to. Add to that an intense passion to serve the Lord, an onslaught of spiritual warfare and trials that seem to go hand-in-hand with daily life. Those who shared from these places of hardship and struggle testified how God had powerfully and uniquely lifted and encouraged them in their tough moments.

One BAM leader said,

“Many people in this realm find a disconnect from their church, from their support… It becomes somewhat difficult. The more serious they are about the business the less they’re understood. One of the positive effects I’ve experienced and seen in others is that you will probably be led more to lean on the Lord Himself rather than the structural systems [you had] before. As a result of that, the Lord is the real resource that we have, the only resource we have in some cases.”

Often those in the surrounding community – including employees and coworkers – were the ones who delivered hope and encouragement from the Lord, giving BAM practitioners the strength to press forward into what God had called them to.

Julie gave a testimony from the main stage of one of her darkest moments and how her community strengthened her faith,

“The car caught on fire, it blew up and it was the only company asset we had. Then there was a robbery at our factory and they stole our generator, batteries,  tools… And I kid you not, then there was a flood and all our raw materials were flooded, and then I got dengue fever. This was one month. I was so low and felt so abandoned and so alone, I didn’t know if these were the signs to walk away…. The healing part of that story, the God part, was through my business partner Jolina. I came into the office after I got better and I was crying, and she let me cry for about a minute and she took her thumbs and wiped my tears away and she said ‘Okay, back to work’. And it was that spirit and the faith that they (this people group) had, that allowed me the strength to carry on. She was showing me the love of the Lord in her response to me, by not allowing me to stay down and lifting me up.”

God is the One we rely on, but having a community and BAM ecosystem around us gives courage in times of discouragement… and the resources to grow in times of flourishing.

It was an incredible Summit this year; so evidently God is moving and working in the lives of His businesspeople around the world. What a wonderful time it was to celebrate, be encouraged, and praise together with you all!

As we reflect on all that we learned together and on the work of the Lord among us, I pray that these truths would sink into our hearts afresh. We are part of a movement ignited by God and it is God’s Spirit that sustains us, in community with one another – all for His Name’s sake and His glory among the nations.
 

 
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Shay acts as the communication assistant for the BAM Global team. As a full time content creator and web developer, Shay uses her skills to partner with community-building organizations.