There is a discussion in BAM circles about choosing a business that will have maximum impact. I’ve often heard the following from new kingdom entrepreneurs. “I want to start a business that is going to help me do the real thing that I am there to do”. Mission organizations feel the same way. They evaluate businesses based on their ability to “keep the main thing the main thing”.
So what is the real thing or the main thing?
What most people mean is this! They want a business that will allow them to make disciples and do church planting. “Evangelism” & “making disciples” are super important, but I am not sure they are the main thing.
The main thing is to “love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind & strength”. Our goal is to bring glory to the Father in all we do. Once we are “compelled by the love of Christ”, only then can we truly fulfill the great commission to make disciples of all nations.
I understand the heart behind the “main thing” comments, but I believe there is much more to impact than this.
What do we mean by impact?
According to the Oxford Languages online, Impact is “ to have a strong effect on someone or something.”
There are multiple types of impact. Some people talk about multiple bottom lines for their businesses. I believe that we should be looking to try to impact our host communities in at least three ways:
Let’s have a look at each of these different forms of impact. If we want to have impactful businesses, we will need to be intentional as we build and run them.
Most Kingdom entrepreneurs desire to have spiritual impact through their businesses (professional identity). We want to see lives changed as a result of the work we do. As you begin to evaluate a business idea for spiritual impact, you will want to ask yourself these questions:
- Does your job / business thrust you in community?
- Do you have local employees or subcontractors that your see on a regular basis?
- Are you able to speak & interact your office staff during the work day?
- Are there restrictions placed on you by your employer or the industry?
- Does your job make sense in the community so that you are not seen as an outsider?
Most of our host communities love it when our businesses provide economic impact. They want people to raise their standard of living. Generating household wealth could mean a better future for their families. As you begin to evaluate a business idea for economic impact, you will want to ask yourself these questions:
- Are you going to employ locals?
- Are you bringing foreign currency into the country?
- Are you buying from local providers?
- Are you working on a sustainable model if you have to leave?
A subtle form of impact is cultural impact. This is where you can change mindset or an attitude of the host community. As you begin to test a business idea for cultural impact, you will want to ask yourself these questions:
- Are you changing a way of thinking in the local community for “the good”.
- Are you helping to change an attitude of the host community?
- Are you making things better for the next generation?
- Are you helping solve problems?
So what is the key?
I believe that the key to impact is being intentional! You need to clearly think through your goals & vision before you start your business or job. You will want to make sure that your professional identity aligns with these goals. Then no matter what others think, if you are doing what the Lord has placed on your heart…to Him be the Glory!