Business as Mission is a concept that you will hear about when you enter the discussion of work & ministry. You will hear other terms like Tentmaking, B4T, Kingdom Business etc. Some people use these terms interchangeably while others see them each as different aspects of the business / ministry world.
At BAM360, we have decided to focus on the term Business as Mission (BAM). The reason for this is we believe that BAM is specifically cross-cultural and used for proclamation. Our heart and desire is to see the unreached peoples of the world engaged with the gospel. Business as Mission is on key way that this will happen.
Business as Mission Definition
There are many different definitions of Business as Mission which can you find with a quick search on the internet. Many of them are excellent. At BAM360, we are using the following definition for BAM:
Business as Mission (BAM) is the intentional integration of cross-cultural business and ministry that:
- Enables proclamation
- Focuses on holistic transformation
- Is concerned for the least reached
- Is committed to profitability and sustainability
At BAM360 we believe that BAM is one of the most impactful ways of church planting among the unreached peoples of the world. As you are aware, most of the unreached countries do not welcome traditional missionaries. Some people call these “closed countries”. No country is closed to the gospel of Jesus. They may be closed to our methodologies but they can never keep Jesus out.
We need to rethink our methodologies for planting churches among the unreached. Business as Mission is one of methods that will have an impact on church planting for generations to come.
Here are 11 reasons that we believe BAM can be an effective church planting model.
- Access: Over 6,000 people groups are still considered unengaged or unreached and are located in countries where the governments do not grant visas to missionary organizations. (We are calling these “restricted access nations”.) However, we believe that with legitimate professional identities there is no such thing as a closed country.
- Secure and solid foundation to do CP: When your professional identity is secure, you have confidence to proclaim Christ boldly, thus empowering church planting.
- Credibility with host people: Doing real business allows you to gain acceptance and respect with a community so that the love, truth and power of Christ can shine out of you every day.
- Identify: Because we are working or running a local business, this allows the nationals to identify with us and connect with us because we are going through similar struggle and challenges. We can also better identify with them as we work amongst them.
- Modeling: 2 Thess 3:7 – 9 “For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate.” Non-Christians get to see first hand what a Christian is like. We model to them what it means to be in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We also get to model to new believers how a Christian should work to provide for his family while at the same time using every opportunity to throughout the day to share the love, truth and power of God.
- People of Peace: BAM provides missionaries with natural and bountiful ways to meet and connect with potential people of peace that God has prepared in the local community from the poorest of the poor to leaders in the government.
- Holistic Transformation: Not only do we bring spiritual transformation through BAM, we also bring economic, social and even environmental transformation.
- Sustainability: We get to work ourselves out of a job so that when the Lord sends us on to our next assignment, what we have created can continue to empower others to carry on with the work. The business continues on to be a blessing to the community long after you are gone.
- Incorporating business people into the missions world: BAM opens a door for all types of people to be involved in reaching the unreached, not just the trained seminary worker.
- Security: the world understands money, the world respects jobs, and the majority of the world is poor and in search of jobs. When we do legitimate business, we make it very difficult on governments to kick us out. They allow us to operate because of the blessing we are to the community.
- Biblically & historically successful: We find BAM throughout the New Testament and it has been used throughout history in taking the Gospel to the least reached.
Business as Mission Models
We have identified 6 different models that have been used by those doing Business as Mission. I am sure there might be some other ideas out there, but here are the 6 that we have identified.
- Visitor / Tourist
- Pretend Business
- Breakeven Business
- Local Level Business
- Foreign Level Business (Without employees)
- Foreign Level Business (With employees)
If you want to know more about each of these models, you might want to read Business as Mission Models: Pros & Cons
Note: We realize that not everyone will start a business. Some of those looking to gain access to these unreached peoples may also “take a job”. Job Taking is another excellent model for church planting. For more on this subject of Job Taking, please read Job Taking – The pros & Cons
What does a BAM Venture Need?
As I have evaluated BAM ventures in different countries, cultures and contexts, I have identified 6 core components that must be in place for the business to have a good chance of success. Each of these 6 areas is super important for the success of the business
- Strong Business Idea – a tested idea that has the potential for growth & impact
- Accountability – oversight guided by benchmarks, measurements and feedback
- Business Plan – a thorough playbook that can be executed by the champion and their team
- Funding – suitable capital funds that will fuel a successful launch
- Champion – a key person that leads the venture; doing what it takes to get the job done
- Execution – appropriate people and work output to execute the business plan
If you want to take a deeper look at each of these components, you can read 6 Core Components to Implement BAM Effectively
There are a number of great resources available for people who are interested in Business as Mission. You can find excellent books, websites & trainings focused around the topic of BAM. Let me share a few of our favorite resources
- BAM360 Identity Test & Booklet – This is actually something that we have developed over the years. The point of this tool is to help you develop a strong, long-term effective identity in BAM
- Businessasmission.com – This is probably the most comprehensive website around the topic of BAM. You can find tons of articles on the topic.
- Bamglobal.org – This website has amazing reports & articles based around the best practices of BAM.
- Business as Mission Books – You can find some excellent books on Amazon that are related to topic of Business as Mission. We have tried to create some book summaries on this site to save you some time.
Are you looking for some other great resources on the subject of BAM?
Check out these 9 websites that offer valuable insights and information about Business as Missions.
We have developed our website to provide help and resources for:
Worldwide Tentmakers seeks to come alongside and assist local churches in the promotion, preparation, and placement of self-supporting witnesses.
The mission of the Business as Mission Think Tank is to enrich and invigorate the business as mission movement, resulting in a significant increase in the quantity and quality of businesses and business people involved in God’s mission to the world — the whole church, taking the whole gospel, to the whole world.
Provides resources for tentmaker missionaries and prospectives
The vision is to promote the concept of tentmaking as mission to serve national tentmaker associations, denominational groups and vocational and professional associations around the world.
To raise up young people with vision, courage, character and faith in Jesus Christ who have the imagination, moral fiber and tenacity to lead in all walks of life–business, industry, education, the Arts, government and the Church.
Business as Mission is about viable, sustainable and profitable businesses, with a Kingdom of God purpose, bringing transformation to communities spiritually, economically, socially and environmentally.
Our Business as Mission network is a movement of Christian business people, tentmakers and organizations who have joined up to offer support and resources for aspiring Christian businesspeople in some of the poorest counties in the U.S.
Your marketplace skills are needed to transform lives. BAMmatch connects business people with opportunities around the world where their skills are needed.