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BAM Careers: Stories While Teaching English

by | May 7, 2021 | Articles, BAM Stories, Missions, Resources

Whether BAM careers or BAM consulting interests you, know that your current day job is a beautiful platform for the Gospel before you get there. I’m referring to the work itself, the actual act of working, serving, adding value to the lives of other people in big and  small ways.  Even though BAM careers or BAM consulting jobs are great, day-jobs are also a powerful way to  embody and proclaim the Gospel to everyone around us.

 

The Stone Table

For those asking, “What does BAM mean again?” it’s the acronym used for the term “Business as Missions”. Through The Stone Table, I have the privilege of seeing first hand how missionaries are leveraging BAM to proclaim Jesus and make disciples. I encountered it personally just this week in three different cross-cultural settings.

 

Because of sensitivities in these areas of the globe, I have to be careful with using specific places and faces of people doing “BAM.” Still, two of my favorite encounters were with local Muslims who pay to take classes at a business English school we helped to start in Africa.

 

Story #1: BAM Careers in Teaching English

During their designated practice time, we sat together in small circles. We conversed about anything and everything that came to mind. One man was a teacher, and the other owned a small food market in the city center. I shared pictures of my family and asked about theirs as well. We laughed a lot.

Why did you decide to enroll in this particular school?” I finally inquired.Oh, we love it here,” one replied in his rapidly improving English. “This school is a very good value. We get access to good teachers for the amount we pay.”

 

I enjoy learning from native English speakers,” said my other new friend. “We learn better pronunciation that way and also fun things about American culture as well.”

 

But then, he said something that overwhelmed the team that lives there and runs the school. “Also, there is just something different here. Something  can’t explain. These are wonderful people that I just want to be around. They are what make the school so special.”

 

The Missionaries

Over the years, these missionaries have seen many Muslims come to Jesus. Not from tent crusades (those aren’t allowed). Not from traditional church planting (there are no religious visas in this place).

They’ve come from Christian business owners in the field.

 

So, what does BAM mean again? It’s business serving a real community need, providing jobs for local residents while adding real value to its customers.

 

We gathered to hear the emotional testimonies of Muslim background believers who have given their lives to Jesus. We witnessed a Bible study of Muslim seekers who have opened their hearts to the Gospel through interaction with intentional Christians running a local business school.

 

Whether you take up one of these types of BAM careers or not, the marketplace is the perfect conduit for the Gospel because good business brings people together in a mutually beneficial way. Truly adding value to other people’s lives through the work of our hands fosters relational connections that allow the Good News of Jesus to flow naturally and freely.

 

And this doesn’t just apply to a global missionary context. It’s true for you and me as well.

 

Business

Don’t fall for the lie that business is all about greedy people taking advantage of one another for personal gain. Sure, sin has marred the marketplace just like every other arena of human interaction in this fallen world. But in Christ, we can reclaim its original design. The Gospel redeems and resurrects all things, including the work of your hands.

 

Every day when we head to our jobs, we have a profound opportunity to embody  and  proclaim  the Gospel. We are watching this happen in powerful ways across the globe, and it can happen right here at home, too.

 

BAM Careers #2: More English Teaching

 

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(Stories brought to you by LiveDead)

This is a story of BAM where a practitioner uses investment funds and business as a mechanism for planting the church in areas of the world where you can’t do that with traditional missionary methods. In order to protect the work being done, we will not be sharing their names or specific locations for their protection.

So, what does BAM mean to us when we are trying to teach unbelievers English? You’ll see…

 

At the end of each of our English classes, we have a time of small group discussions with our students. It is an excellent time for them to practice and get to know our students better.

 

Yesterday, during this discussion time, I was sitting in a small circle with a group of young Muslim women and one married couple. I came in a little late to the conversation, but they were all talking about their holy city of Mecca. The married couple shared that they had the opportunity to visit a few years back. As they shared, the young girls listening became very excited and began clapping and congratulating them for this accomplishment in the Muslim faith.

 

The man then looked at me and said, “you’re a Christian, right?” I quickly said, “yes, I follow Jesus.” Before I could say anything  further,  they all began talking about Jesus and who he was. They shared about Him being a good prophet and that they don’t believe He died, but He will come back to earth.

 

Staying Open

After listening for a little while, I asked them if I could share what I believe. They quickly agreed. I began sharing that in the Bible, it says that Jesus himself said that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no person can go to God except through Jesus alone. I also shared that Jesus said He is the Son of God. If this is true, isn’t he more than just a prophet?

 

They all quickly began giving me all of the typical answers, such as “teacher, he was just a prophet.” and, “How could God have a relationship with Mary that would cause her to become pregnant? It isn’t possible”.

 

I then said, “So a prophet is a person that is honest and full of integrity, right? They  cannot tell a lie, right?” They said, “of course, teacher!”. I asked the simple question, “who did Jesus say He is?”.

 

The Open Door

Shortly after, the bellrang, and our time together was finished. One of the young girls quickly ran over to me and said, “teacher, please read the Quran; it will explain everything.” I looked at her and said, “Can I give you something to read as well?”; she agreed. I asked her to read the book of John and see who Jesus is. She said, “ok, I will do it!”.

 

After the young girl walked away, the married girl approached  me, and the husband asked me if I would give them a Bible. He says He would like to read it  every dayas he is reading other religious books.

 

So, what does BAM mean to us exactly? It’s praising God for these open doors to share the truth about Jesus and also to give the Words of Jesus to these inquisitive students. BAM can be hard work, but I pray that their hearts will be  enlightened, and they will see Jesus clearly as they read these scriptures. I pray that the questions about who Jesus says He is will burn in their hearts, and they will not rest until they find that He is the only Way.

 

Thank you for partnering with us in prayer. We genuinely believethese sorts of conversations are taking place because of the prayers you are sowing on our behalf!


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.

Erik Cooper

After starting his career in the business world, Erik spent 12 years in full-time ministry, both on staff at a large suburban church and as a church planter in a downtown urban context. In addition to his role at The Stone Table, he also serves as the Vice President of Community Reinvestment Foundation, a nonprofit real estate company that provides high-quality affordable housing all over Indiana while investing its profits into missions through The Stone Table.

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