We have a passion for unreached people groups and BAM consulting here at The Stone Table. Three billion people around the world have no adequate witness of the Gospel, and a major portion of our mission investment is aimed at proclaiming Jesus and planting the Church in these unreached places
One of our key partners is LiveDead, a multi-denominational, multi-national organization, pioneering missions effort that uses business and entrepreneurial development as a church planting mechanism in places where traditional methods just don’t work. We call this BAM (business as mission). On occasion, we will share stories of some of these BAM practitioners. Names and specific locations have been changed or masked to protect all involved.
The following is an interview with a man who has been living with his family in an Islamic context for more than 15 years. Beginning with some trial and error, he has created a business which is successful in many ways.
For convenience sake, let’s call the interviewer Carol and the BAM consulting practitioner John.
CAROL: Can you please give us a description of your business?
JOHN: We run a tourism company that provides cultural tours to high-end English-speaking travelers looking to experience our host culture.
CAROL: Great, so you run a tour business! How does this tour business help you interact with your community?
JOHN: We see our business allowing us to interact in the community in a number of ways.
First, it gives us a legitimate reason to be in the country and provides real value to the community. No one wonders why we are there. This provides us a solid foundation for intentional living in our host culture. We are respected and welcomed so it allows us to naturally engage with people in the community.
Second, we provide jobs for local employees which means we can “do life” with them. We share with them, pray with them, etc.
Lastly, we have lots of service providers that we see on a regular basis. We try to share the Gospel with everyone that we do business with. We don’t hide the fact that we run our company on Christian principles.
CAROL: Nice! So you are respected and this gives you opportunities to be heard. You have life-on-life discipleship with your employees, and you get frequent opportunities to share with your service providers. This is excellent. Can you tell me more about the advantages of having local employees?
JOHN: We have several local employees. Although at first glance you might think this means we have more responsibility and need to generate more income, it also gives us real roads into lives and the community. We believe that our employees add legitimacy to our business. I also believe that the authorities are more likely to give you the freedom to stay and work in their country if you are providing jobs to the community. We love providing employment! Yes, it gives us the opportunity for spiritual impact, and we also love the social and economic impact it has had on our community.
CAROL: Does your business create access for others?
JOHN: Yes, our business does create access for a number of other like-minded BAM consulting practitioners. One of our values is to try and put boots on the ground. We do not just take warm bodies but instead try to find the right people for the job. We look for people with a passion for Jesus, a desire to reach the nations, a heart for hard work and people who understand the vision of real business.
CAROL: I like how one successful BAM consulting business or BAM can pave the way for others to spring up! Are there any other advantages you see to your tour company as a BAM?
JOHN: I love our tour business because it can be done from anywhere in the world. We are not tied to brick and mortar…so when we have travel, we can still work. Our business is also very profitable and generates real income. This is a good thing. It is more sustainable. I love providing jobs and income for local people. One other advantage is that we can grow and reproduce our business around the world.
CAROL: Thanks so much for this insight into your life and work. In closing, what would you share with others who are considering BAM consulting? Would you recommend this to others? Why or why not?
JOHN: I absolutely would recommend BAM to others with a few cautions. Make sure you are really ready to work hard and do what it takes to build a strong, 3-fold identity. The 3 folds are:
- Make sure you are committed to the spiritual side of things. No compromise…bold for Jesus.
- Make sure you are ready to engage in the culture…learning the language and getting in the community.
- Make sure you are willing to invest time, energy and resources in the business. We are not just looking for 20 hrs per week.
I would not recommend BAM consulting to people who are just looking to get a visa. If your only motivation is for a visa, your business will most likely be substandard, or worse, considered fake by the host culture, and we do not want to deceive those we have come to love.
We believe the work of these businesses can actually become part of the Gospel’s redeeming mission in the world. We invite you to pray with us for the leaders involved in this great work. This is just one story of many taking place around the globe in the area of BAM consulting Business as Mission. Learn more about our missions work and how you can become involved here.
BAM: Sharing On The Job
This is a story of a Business as Mission (BAM) practitioner on the field using business as a mechanism for planting the church in areas of the world where you can’t do that with traditional missionary methods. This article was originally published on bamedu.com. Used with permission.
One of the questions that I get asked on a regular basis is, “How do you integrate your faith with your job?” What a great question! Since making money is not our primary focus, we need to be intentional about keeping the “main thing the main thing.”
A Quick Story
A few weeks back, one of my subcontractors called to get together for coffee. We met to discuss some of the past business and also future endeavors.
Over the course of the hour, this man began to share about his family. He started to tell me about problems in his marriage and how that was hard in his work. Because of our business relationship, the Lord opened up an opportunity for me to share of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Before driving back the office, we prayed together in his car. What was the key to this situation?
Relationships & Trust
One of the key principles for sharing on the job, whether that’s at home or through BAM consulting, is developing trust between your employees and business associates.
Jumping right into preaching to them will most likely not be accepted well, however, if you take time to get to know them and develop trust, the door will be open for your sharing. Through everyday relationships and situations, you will have opportunities to show how Christ can make a difference.
Very often you read how many tentmakers get caught up in the business and lose the focus of ministry. One important factor to combat this is to stay very intentional in your sharing.
Pray to the Father for opportunities to share in your workplace. Ask probing questions to your employees and business associates.
Look for opportunities to share small & large portions of truth during your business day.
I would even recommend having an accountability partner, whether a trusted friend or another BAM consulting worker if you’re in the field, speak into your life concerning your ministry.
Make it Normal
If from the very beginning, you make your walk with Jesus a normal part of your life, people will see that this is just “who you are.”
Talking about what you have read in the word each day OR praying for troubles are easy ways to incorporate your faith into your business life.
I believe we should be living out Jesus always! We do not do business and ministry…our lives always proclaim Christ. Make your relationship with Him the most important part of your life.
One thing I know for sure, we need to be proclaiming!
I would rather you fall on the side of too much proclamation that too little.
Seek the Lord for specific chances to talk about and model the love of Jesus.