Over the past few years, I have become more and more convinced that as BAM business owners we must be PROFESSIONAL. Whether you are in business, education, medicine or any other humanitarian work, I believe it is key to develop a strong professional identity.
I grew up living overseas because my parents were traditional Christian workers. Every 4 years we would return back to the states for our home assignment time. I remember the 8th grade!
What an awkward year…being American but not really understanding America. For example music, movies, and fashion…I was not up to speed. One thing I love is music…so when we were in the car, I would scan the radio for Christian stations. Why was it that Christian stations were so easy to pick out or spot?
The answer: The quality of the recording and music was way below the professional levels of the secular music. I began to ask myself, why can’t Christians produce at the same professional level as others? I believe we should be able to, and in the past 15 years we have seen this happening in the Christian music scene.
What about your professional identity?
I believe that this story is a perfect example of how BAM people have been viewed by their host cultures when it comes to business. If they scan the horizon for top-notch businesses, our tentmaking ventures will not stick out…actually, they may stick out but in a negative way. Why is it that we want to be well prepared for ministry, language, culture, yet we spend very little time preparing for our business identity?
Humanitarian workers do it better…
I must say that those who are involved in relief and humanitarian work usually are more professional than those of us doing business.
I believe that the reason for this is that they are working in their areas of training like medicine or education.
Most BAM people that I have met today have had no formal training in business and some of them have never run a business before. No wonder we are struggling to create strong professional identities.
“But I am not a businessman…”
I have been told this a number of times by frustrated BAM people who truly desire to have a legitimate professional identity. They are looking for help in how to develop that professionalism. The reality of the fact is that it will take hard work, money and time.
For some, you might be able to enroll in some business classes and gain some experience through education. Others might prefer to spend time working alongside a business mentor…maybe even getting a job for 6 months to a year to get the desired training.
Reading books can give you some valuable lessons but many need help in applying it to their lives.
We have found that hiring a business coach or consultant can be a valuable way to launch your business.
Professionalism should be something that we all shoot for. The main reason is that we are working for the Lord…so I believe that the Lord deserves our best efforts…in life, in family, ministry, and in our professional identity.