by Jo Plummer & Mats Tunehag
This post is the first in a series of three that share the BAM Global Big Hairy Audacious Goals – our ‘BHAGs’ for the global business as mission movement. BAM Global is one of the founding partners of this website and aims to be a catalyst for connection and communication across the BAM community. These goals are not ones we expect to accomplish by ourselves, instead they drive our mission to invigorate the BAM movement – to strengthen and enrich this community so that the hundreds and thousands of companies, networks, agencies, churches, institutions, etc. in the movement see these BHAGs realised together.
The BHAG: Transform views on business in the church worldwide
Business as mission is not simply a method or strategy; it encompasses a worldview and business praxis based on biblical principles and the church’s teaching. The sacred-secular divide is still permeating the church. What is considered ‘sacred’ (worship, faith, church activities, etc.) is often judged to be more valuable that the ‘secular’ (work, business, material goods, etc.) The clergy (pastor, missionary, etc.) are considered to have a higher calling than the laity (teacher, business professional, lawyer, etc.). This is still a dominating paradigm among many Christians around the globe.
As a consequence, business people and professionals in the church do not fully understand that their gifts, skills and experience are vital to God’s kingdom work on earth. Many feel that the most ‘spiritual’ thing they can do is to give financially to those doing the ‘real ministry’, and, if they really want to serve God, they should leave their company behind and become a missionary or pastor. While generosity and a true calling to church leadership is to be commended, this narrow view of the value of business ultimately hinders the mission of the church.
Thus, we want 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 realising this new paradigm in the marketplace.
BAM Global reinforces and strengthens the paradigm shift by communicating biblically-grounded materials and other resources through mass media channels, social media and at the academic level. To this end, we utilise the growing intellectual capital generated through the BAM Global Think Tank peer-reviewed papers. BAM Global will facilitate further communication and collaboration between church, mission, academic and business leaders, and thus strengthen the global BAM ecosystem.
Paradigm shifts take time and can be stressful. We acknowledge that working towards this paradigm shift needs an intergenerational, long-term approach. Our goal is that business as mission, and the underpinning paradigm, will become a new norm, a given, a new baseline among Christians everywhere.
In the words of the Business as Mission Manifesto:
We call upon the church world wide to identify, affirm, pray for, commission and release business people and entrepreneurs to exercise their gifts and calling as business people in the world – among all peoples and to the ends of the earth.
We call upon business people 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.
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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 of the Freedom Business Alliance. Visit MatsTunehag.com for BAM resources in 19 languages.
Jo Plummer is the co-chair of BAM Global and co-editor the Lausanne Occasional Paper on Business as Mission. She has been developing resources for BAM since 2001 and currently serves as Editor of the Business as Mission website and blog.