Business as Mission 1

BAM 1

As we continue our search for mission opportunities, one thing that is a reality is that doors are being closed to traditional missionaries in many countries. Many countries will not issue a visa to a missionary, ban open evangelism, or restrict church activities. Many have a communist/socialist government, or adopt Islamic laws. In such cases missiologists have to find alternative strategies to present the gospel, and one of the ways is business as mission, or BAM.

Neal Johnson, Dean of the School of Business at Bakke Graduate University in Seattle, defined BAM as “A for-profit commercial business venture that is Christian led, intentionally devoted to being used as an instrument of God’s mission to the world, and is operated in a cross-cultural environment, either domestic or international.

Steve Rundle and Tom Steffen, economist and missiologist at Biola University, has a similar definition, “A Great Commission Company is a socially responsible, income-producing business managed by kingdom professionals and created for the specific purpose of glorifying God and promoting the growth and multiplication of local churches in the least-evangelized and least-developed part of the world.
Business as mission models and approaches are extremely diverse. However, two essentials of business as mission are:
1. that it is built on a commercially viable, for-profit business
2. that it is highly intentional about fulfilling it’s mission objectives.

Countries may be closed to missionaries, but they are open for business. And therein lies an opportunity for the gospel to reach the people despite government restrictions. BAM is not new. Tent-making, a subset of BAM, was practiced by Paul to fund his missionary endeavors. But you need to be intentionally missional, or else the business aspect will consume all your time and energy. We will continue to explore this tomorrow.

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