Business as mission (BAM) is a Christian approach to business that applies biblical principles to business and views business as an opportunity to serve God and build relationships. Often this is most applied by Pentecostal Christians, but the platform for using business to meet local needs and spread the Gospel is available to all followers of Jesus.
Business as mission not only creates a dynamic platform for sharing the Gospel, but it provides the means by which we can add value to the community. As a BAM practitioner, we can take our God-given business skills and apply them to underserved or unreached communities, quite literally doing business to the glory of God. By incorporating business itself into missions, we have the opportunity to share the Gospel, use our business to benefit the community and create meaningful connections with customers & business partners. These lasting relationships, formed from the foundation of what business really is, can be developed over time and often lead to us as practitioners disciplining non-believers in these areas of service.
Business as mission is a powerful tool in the hands of Christian businesspeople and should be leveraged to its fullest potential. As business people, we can use our company to create great impact and make disciples for the Kingdom – something that simply could not happen without business providing value in these communities. Because the goal of business is to add value to a person or community, we aren’t looking solely at making disciples; and because the goal of making disciples is not just to make money, we aren’t looking solely at landing a successful business. Business as mission embraces a dual bottom line, one with both material & spiritual value – one of both financial gain and eternal gain.
As Erik Cooper has said, business itself is “offering high-quality services and products, allowing a fair value exchange to take place, and having the mindset of adding value through our businesses.” When good business takes place, both parties involved are satisfied. And business as mission is no different! As practitioners, the goal is still to offer a genuine, valuable product, not only to make a platform for Gospel proclamation. This model still provides a real product or service, still seeks to do legitimate business, and still works to add real, lasting value & social impact to a community. For practitioners of business as mission, business is not only for evangelism, but it is also for business!
Business as mission is one way to add value to the community in which you are planted and build relationships with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and belief systems. This not only gives us the unique opportunity to live out the Gospel, but it also gives us the real opportunity to build up a local community! As business owners, we have the privilege to use our business as an avenue to serve God, create positive change in our communities, and share His love with others. Business is not only a way to make money, but it is meant to add value to someone else and make an impact. While at the same time, business as mission is meant to make the bottom line financially, embracing business as mission also means embracing a more important, often less visible, bottom line.
Partaking in business as mission means to embrace the opportunity to use your business for good: spiritually, socially, and economically. It means using business to bring God’s kingdom, whether through word or deed, or both. I love the famous words of St. Francis that say, “Preach the Gospel to all creation, and, if necessary, use words.”
I believe God has been moving through the marketplace in this generation, and will be doing so more as the creative Gen Z rises to the stage in the business world. Business as mission has seen its seeds planted, but I believe this has only just begun!
As God continues to use business as an avenue to spread His love and bring glory to Him, may we as gifted, skilled business people be consistently open to hear His call.
Another plus to BAM is that we can open doors of ministry that weren’t available before. We can form relationships with people from all backgrounds, cultures, and belief systems, and make a positive difference in their lives. This not only gives us the Gospel through business but also allows us to simply love people and share God’s glory with how we conduct ourselves & our practice. With business as mission, we can show God’s love to people through business and make lasting connections that will bring glory to His name.
Business as mission is also a powerful way to make disciples, thus fulfilling the Great Commission. While we don’t want to go headlong into a BAM venture for the exclusive purpose of making disciples, this can become a natural overflow of what we’re doing when we’re doing it to God’s glory. By using business skills, business owners have the unique opportunity to reach more people than would have previously been possible. This means that we can access unreached people groups by leveraging our already-present talents & gifts. In doing this, we can offer employment, training, and mentorship to communities of people that would not have been reached by someone with a missionary visa.
Business as mission can also become a platform to use business for community development. This platform allows us to support local entrepreneurs, train new business leaders, and disciple previously unreached people. All of these tasks create a new sense of life & shalom within a community, one where good businesses can thrive, people can learn & grow, and unsaved people have the opportunity to meet Christ through business.
Again, a major value of business as mission is that it allows us to create meaningful connections with customers & business partners, build relationships with people from different backgrounds & cultures, and make disciples for Jesus. It’s an exciting opportunity that can bring lasting impact to our communities, and communities all over the world! May we be open to hearing God’s call to business, whether that means working within a local community or taking our skills overseas to add value to communities of unreached people groups.
In conclusion, business as mission is about more than just making money. The bottom line is more about bringing the life of the Gospel to the ends of the earth than it is about making money. While the business still is meant to be successful financially, it is far more meaningful that lives are being changed for Jesus. Business as missions is about using business skills & resources to invest in relationships and create meaningful change, both economically and in the lives of people in various communities. Whether you have your own business or work with others, a BAM model opens up new opportunities to share the Gospel, add real value to the community, and form lasting connections with people from different backgrounds & cultures. As we embrace this venture of BAMs, may God continue to use our businesses, and our business skills, for His glory! Amen.