We have a passion for unreached people groups 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.
We are passionate about missions efforts that use 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. Today’s author joins us from Bamedu.com, this individual serves as a practitioner in a closed country. Names and specific locations have been changed or masked to protect all involved.
I have been working my way through the New Testament to see the different models that Paul used in his ministry. I love the fact that he did not just use one method during his journeys. Sometimes we see that Paul was using the more traditional support base model while other times he took a job as a tent maker.
If you’re like me, you probably ask yourself, “What’s the best model?”
I actually don’t think that there is a best model! It all depends on what the Lord is asking you to do. Each of us needs to be obedient to his leading.
I personally love the business as mission model. Over the past 15 years of doing BAM, and I have seen firsthand how it:
- gives great opportunities for proclamation
- allows us to build solid relationships in the community
- offers us a solid identity
- is a model of work and worship to local believers
- has direct impact on the culture (spiritual, social and financial)
There are also some dangers in doing BAM!
2 Dangers of Business as Mission
When you think of the dangers and hardships of BAM, you may think of personal security concerns, financial risk or the fact that you have never run a business. Yes, these are obstacles that need to be overcome, but perhaps the greatest danger in BAM is losing our original focus of using our business as a tool to more effectively proclaim the gospel of Jesus.
Forget to focus out…
Sometimes we are so internally focused on the operational details of our business and immediate business contacts that we lose sight of the lostness around us. Yes, we want to work each and every hour as worship to the Lord. We also want to take each opportunity during work hours to speak of Jesus, but we also need to recognize that some of the hungry disciples may come from outside our business network. We don’t want to miss out on casual conversations of Christ in the cafes! Our businesses will give us unique relationships and connect us to a network of professionals and employees, but that is not the limit of our community.
The reality of the fact is that many of the seekers coming to learn more about Jesus may not be in your business network. You need to be willing and ready to give more of your time outside of the business day to disciple and evangelize these hungry people.
Don’t get sucked into the lie that once we have checked off our work hours, we can hide away in our homes because our non-dichotomized work/proclamation time is done.
Yes, there are days when we are tired and days when family and team all fight for a slice our time. Whether we are working or enjoying family time, we need to be listening to Jesus and ready to speak to disciples he sends.
It is all about the business goals
Another real danger is when the business metrics and goals become the focus of your life. I am all for professionalism and working hard for the glory of the Lord. I love it when businesses are profit generating machines. I believe God is happy when our businesses are successful. But…
There is a huge danger when we begin to focus more on making the business successful than on making Jesus known.
We need to stand guard against the subtle lie that if our business is successful, people will be transformed.
I know that seems strong but just because we bring economic and social transformation does not mean that the lost are any farther from a Christless eternity. True transformation comes only when someone turns to Jesus and leaves the Kingdom of darkness.
Our business goals should work hand-in-hand with our ministry goals. If the business begins to distract or hinder us from more effectively proclaiming the Name of Jesus, we need to step back and evaluate what must be done. Let’s allow God to use the tools (business), resources (money & time) and gifts (abilities) for His Kingdom purposes.
Business as Mission is an awesome model if done by the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit.
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 Business as Mission. Learn more about how you can be involved here.