B4T: What is Business for Transformation?

November 23, 2020
By: Erik Cooper
We throw around a lot of terms here at The Stone Table when it comes to our efforts to engage the marketplace and the mission of God in the world. Besides Business for Transformation (B4T), we often say Business as Mission (BAM), Tentmaking, and lots of other things. Patrick Lai, author of Business for Transformation and […]

We throw around a lot of terms here at The Stone Table when it comes to our efforts to engage the marketplace and the mission of God in the worldBesides Business for Transformation (B4T), we often say Business as Mission (BAM), Tentmaking, and lots of other things. Patrick Lai, author of Business for Transformation and founder of the OPEN Network, defines B4T this way: 

[B4T is] businesses strategically placed in unreached areas that are profitable and serving the local community, generally through transformation, and specifically through evangelism, discipleship, and church planting.

B4T is really at the heart of transforming our everyday work into the fulfillment of the Great Commandment. We say that marketplace skills are missionary skills. If you are an entrepreneur, have you ever considered taking your business to an unreached area of the world? That is what many Christians just like you have done as they recognized the power of the gospel lived out through their marketplace skills.

Here at The Stone Table, we are deeply passionate about supporting B4T work and advancing the Great Commandment. We also believe that all believers in the business world are called to engage the Great Commission. True missions efforts are both the demonstration and proclamation of Christ’s Kingdom among every nation, tribe, and tongue. We’ve had the joy of seeing this play out in our own neighborhoods and across the globe. Here are a few examples (we’ve limited names and specifics of some of these efforts due to the sensitivity of their locations). 

B4T Business English Schools  

In multiple countries around the world, English schools are living out business for transformation in powerful ways. English has become the language of commerce, and learning English can open incredible new opportunities for people in developing nations. In cultures where tourism is a foundational piece of the local economy, English language skills can mean life-changing financial benefits.

These business English schools are bringing literal transformation to local communities and their people. It’s business as a demonstration of the Gospel, honoring God and adding real value to the local community. But these B4T businesses are also a means to plant the Church, especially in places completely unreached with the love of Jesus. Through these powerful language classes, relationships are fostered. Those relationships lead to conversations about Jesus. These conversations about Jesus lead to baptized believers. And newly baptized believers form new churches. 

This is B4T business for transformation. 

BAM Business as Mission CrossFit Gyms  

The desire to be healthy and in-shape is not just a Western ideal. Throughout North Africa and the Middle East, the CrossFit craze has spread like wildfire. We have invested in multiple BAM Business as Mission CrossFit gym start-ups in places you would never imagine. Not only are these B4T gyms meeting a local need, but they also employ locals and become a benefit to the local economy. 

CrossFit is a highly relational model, and the groups quickly become a tightly knit community. Businesses of all sorts foster these kinds of human connections, but CrossFit seems to be uniquely powerful. BAM Business as Mission CrossFit communities can become beautiful conduits for sharing life, and ultimately Jesus. We are seeing the church planted in unreached places through Tabata push-ups and burpee box jumps. Through all kinds of marketplace activities, we can both demonstrate and proclaim the Gospel. 

This is B4T business for transformation. 

Coffee Shops 

In a rural part of central Asia, a small American coffee shop has become a beloved staple of the local community. The B4T missionaries who started this small business serve specialty coffees, pastries, pizzas, and sandwiches, along with a welcoming place to sit, work, and engage in conversations. When I visited the shop with a group of friends a few years back, we were the largest group of Americans to ever be in the community at the same time. It’s beautiful, remote, and in need of Jesus. 

Not only does a B4T coffee shop and roastery provide employment for multiple locals, but they also source their beans from the nearby mountain region. Without a government-approved reason to visit this area, these missionaries would not be allowed in any of these villages or around the indigenous people that live there. However, these villages boast thousands of acres of coffee plantations. The coffee shop sources all their beans from these coffee farms, making regular trips into the mountains for purchases and fostering real, value-add relationships. Through the coffee trade, we are demonstrating and proclaiming Jesus to an unreached population of the globe. 

This is B4T business for transformation.  

One Mission, Different Expressions 

As you can see, B4T can take on many forms, but it is always driven by a singular mission: the demonstration and proclamation of Jesus through the marketplace, among unreached people.

The Great Commandment and the Great Commission merged together in a marketplace context.

As believers in Jesus, we are called to reorder our lives around Jesus and His Kingdom. The Gospel redeems and resurrects all things (Colossians 1:19-20), including the work of our hands. No matter what we do for a living, in our own communities, or among the unreached people of the world, we are called to one mission. The Gospel is in the transformation business. We must be, too.

For more on Business for Transformation (B4T), Business as Mission (BAM), or their related terms, click here.

If you’re interested in joining the work on the field, we want to encourage you to GO, and if you’re interested in BAM/B4T Coaching, you can reach out to our coaching coordinator here.


We partner with global missions initiatives that focus on taking the Gospel to unreached places.


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The Stone Table exists to mobilize marketplace believers for the Great Commission.


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Plainfield, IN 46168


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