business as commission

Business as Commission

She then said, “I know a lot of stories, but how do I enter Christianity? To enter Islam, you say the shehadda, but what do you say to enter Christianity?  What do you do?”  So many people have questions rising up in their hearts about what it means to believe in Jesus.  So many are looking.  So how do we effectively share the truth of Jesus in different countries and contexts? 

There’s a global movement called Business As Missions (BAM) that has become fairly widely known.  According to Jo Plummer, the co-chair of BAM Global Think Tank, ‘the contemporary business as mission movement represents a growing intentionality in the global Church to fully integrate business goals with the call to the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world.’ However, in this same article, Jo acknowledges that the term BAM has come to be used with a variety of definitions.  Sometimes, BAM is used to describe a business set up with a missional outreach focus in someone’s home country.  Other times, BAM is used to refer to businesses with the mission to make a financial and social transformation in peoples’ lives.  In order to bring some focus and clarity, we would like to propose a slight variation – Business as Commission.

A commission is an instruction or command.

Before Jesus left this earth, He gave us this commission (often called the Great Commission), ‘Go and make disciples of ALL nations…’ (Mt. 28:9 emphasis mine). The term Business As Commission highlights this command of Jesus and reminds us of our primary focus. There are nations of people who don’t know Jesus yet.  People need to hear of Him in order to follow Him – to become a disciple. When we set up businesses in different nations with a Business as Commission mindset, our purpose is to make disciples there. “We fast and give to the poor to be good and be able to go into heaven. Isn’t it the same with everyone? Jews? Christians?”  This question and ones like it are heard all over the world. Jesus isn’t the same as any other prophet or person or god.  Beyond social or economic transformation, all nations need to hear of how Jesus, God Himself, entered our world and changed everything.

A commission is a group of people officially charged with a particular function.  

A lady asked me yesterday, “Is it okay that I tell people about Jesus? I feel like a baba (priest/father).”  Oh YES!  You see, we not only are given a commission to make disciples; we as disciples ARE the Commission of Disciple Makers. Now, that’s a title I made up, but the word, ‘ambassador’ that Scripture uses, has much the same meaning. We are ambassadors for Jesus representing Him and sharing His values and interests where ever we currently live. Using the term Business as Commission with this definition in mind clarifies the fact that sharing the good news about Jesus isn’t just what we do. It’s our identity. 

A commission is an amount of money – a financial reward.

When a business is set up in a different culture with the purpose of making disciples, it is still essential that the business is a TRUE business and is profitable financially.  Businessesneed to pay the owners, the employees, and the service providers as well as yield a profit to be a true business. Employees receive a commission or payment in correlation with the work that they put into a business. Using the term Business as Commission explains the fact that there is a financial piece to this venture and that we must do the work required to turn a profit. ‘I enjoy working for this company,’ she said, ‘It takes lots of time, but I always know I’m a part of something that matters.’

To commission is to give an order for or authorize the production of.  

Much as an artist is commissioned to create a painting, we are commissioned to make disciples.  While this is very similar to the first definition we gave of a command or an instruction, I love the added nuance that we are authorized for this command.  Jesus looks at us and says, ‘As the Father sent me, so I send you.’  Going in the authority of Jesus means: He’s gone before us to make things ready, He walks beside us filling us with every bit of strength we need in His lavish grace, and He walks behind us filling in all the cracks.  Strength in our weakness.  That’s what it means to be authorized by Jesus.  Commissioned to be the Commission to receive Commission and follow the Great Commission.  Are you in love with this term yet? 

To commission is to bring something into working condition.

Her sister was in a car crash and broke her arm and hit her face on the windshield. She called us to come and then asked in front of all, “Well, aren’t you going to pray in the name of Jesus, the Messiah?” She doesn’t yet believe in Jesus, but she sees that our faith is something that is to be put to work – brought into working condition.  The same is true for any business that is begun. Creating a sustainable, profitable, REAL business is a key component in Business as Commission. Using this term reminds us that our business needs to be in working condition. Those around us can tell if our faith is something that can be put to work.  They also know if our business is real and in working condition.  Has our business been commissioned? 

That night, Jesus appeared in a dream dressed in white, smiling, full of joy.  He was “awesome”, but I felt unusual happiness and rest.  After that, I was at peace and decided to embrace Jesus.”  She then said, “I truly have embraced him, but sadly, I haven’t found opportunity to know much about him.” How wonderful that she was given this dream and that she chose to embrace Jesus.  But she HASN’T FOUND opportunities to know much about Him.  Perhaps that impacts your heart like it does mine.  Are you one who is longing to share the truth of Jesus in a different cultural context?  Now that we’ve clarified our purpose by using the term Business as Commission, maybe you want to come and be part of this movement. You’ve been commissioned.

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