As I sit and talk with future BAM entrepreneurs, one of the questions I get asked often is: “What is the hardest part about Business as Mission?” The question is a good one, but I don’t think there is actually one answer.
There are so many factors that can make BAM hard like owner personalities, phase of life, team dynamics, etc. Every situation is slightly different, so this is a difficult question to answer.
As I have discussed the “hardest part of BAM” question with BAM practitioners on the ground, there seem to be a few themes that rise to the top.
- What next?
- Stepping out the Front Door
Balance – A juggling act
Perhaps the most common response that I hear from those on the ground is something about balance. Anyone who jumps into a life of business as mission will quickly realize that there are many things pulling at their time. From business responsibilities to family to team to discipleship…trying to figure out the best use of your time can be tricky.
So how do you balance all of it? The true key to balance is living by the Holy Spirit. As you wake up each and every day, you need to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through the day.
A secondary piece of the balance puzzle is deciding what are the most important “rocks” that you need to schedule into your life / day. Each person needs to decide what their “rocks” are. The rocks (abide time, family time, etc…) need to be non-negotiable. You will schedule those rocks into your weekly schedule and then plan other things around them.
Side note: As I have watched many BAMers, time spent working on business is not considered a “rock.” They end up trying to fit their work around every other aspect of their lives. Personally, I feel that your professional identity should count as a rock.
Over the years, my rocks have included: personal abide time, date night with my wife, family time, business hours, team meeting, 1 hour of daily prayer and taking a sabbath. You will notice that there is not “ministry time” as a rock. That is because ministry happens during some of these “rock times” but I also schedule “ministry” around these rocks. My wife & I try to be in the community every day, but each day may look slightly different.
A practical approach to balance: When we first moved in the Arab world, one of my mentors explain balance using a picture of a tall cell tower. In order to keep the cell tower straight in the sky & not falling over, they support it with guy wires. My mentor explained in our “tower of life” each of the guy wires represents one of the areas of life (family, ministry, team, business etc). When the wind starts to blow hard on one of those areas & your start to bend, you might need to give more attention to that “guy wire” & ease off of another one. Balance is not static but making sure you are always checking the tension in each of the areas of your life.
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A second struggle that many BAM practitioners deal with is what should they be focusing on right now. Because many of us were not trained in business, we don’t know what is the next thing that we should be doing.
The tendency is to focus on what you enjoy doing or what you are good at. This is not the best way to decide what you should be doing right now.
When we coach new entrepreneurs, we ask them to make a list of all of the things that need to be done. We then ask them to classify them in order of importance & urgency. Working on things that are important and urgent is what you should do next. Things that are important but not urgent, you should plan to do them. Things that are not important but urgent, you could delegate to someone else. Not important and non-urgent should never be done.
A practical approach to what’s next: We would encourage you to find a business coach or mentor to walk with you through your BAM journey. They can help you decide what is the most important thing that you should be focusing on.
Comparison – a game not worth playing
I think that some of our friends have really struggled with the comparison game. Am I doing as much as so-and-so? If I worked just a little harder I would be as good or better than that other person. Comparison is a cancer that can kill a missional team or community.
Ministry is not a competition, but a collaboration in the Lord’s work.
We need to remember that all the glory belongs to Jesus and is not ours…why compete? We should be thankful and not jealous when someone else has a victory for Jesus. Why do we get jealous when:
- Jonny & Jenny see their neighbors come to Jesus?
- Fred’s business is growing extremely fast?
- Barbara’s children are learning Arabic faster than ours?
- Sam sees someone healed in the name of Jesus?
We are all on the same team working for the same goal. Let’s cheer one another on & not compete against each other.
Stepping out the front door
For some people, the hardest part of business as mission is actually getting out of the front door. There are so many important things & distractions that can keep you from heading out of the house to proclaim Jesus. We all tend to lean towards comfort!
I would much rather spend time with my family than to head out to a cafe at night to proclaim to the lost. I need to write the next newsletter instead of going to the office to develop the business. We all need to pray for more love for the lost so that we can get out of the house and proclaim.
Is BAM an extra hard lifestyle? No…but there are things that are difficult which we need to be aware of!