How do you know if you are qualified and ready to practice business as mission (BAM)? Many members of our churches already have experience working in business. Should we encourage all the business people in our church to consider learning about BAM? Should some or all of them consider being sent out to practice BAM in an unreached country? If the answer is yes, then what are the best opportunities and resources to learn about BAM?
BAM Global, a business-as-mission global think tank, released its latest issue group report in May 2023, which was titled “Business as Mission and the Church: Unleashing the Power of the Congregation in the Global Marketplace.” The main purpose of the report is to build a bridge of common ground between local church leaders and church members who desire to engage in marketplace ministry. The report focuses on four key areas: overcoming theological barriers, identifying structural obstacles, recognizing cultural challenges, and sharing real case studies to begin building relational bridges in the church between these two groups.
The challenge for the church worldwide is to identify, pray for, commission, and unleash business people, thereby mobilizing them to exercise their God-given gifts and abilities to make disciples of all nations in the marketplace. In turn, the challenge for business people and entrepreneurs is to prayerfully consider how their gifts, abilities, and experience could impact some of the most unreached and unengaged people in the world by making disciples through BAM.
The challenge for the church worldwide is to identify, pray for, commission, and unleash business people.
The Book of Acts includes great stories and examples of how the local church and the marketplace can work together. These examples can be seen through both the church gathered and the church scattered. We have, for example, stories of Paul and his friends Priscilla and Aquila working as vocational tentmakers and intentionally using their daily work to grow the church and their personal homes and resources to support the church. God gives us talents and abilities not merely to take care of our day-to-day needs, but to first and foremost make him known in the world. Business and the marketplace give the church a strategic opportunity to make God known every day through building natural relationships.
A great way to start learning about BAM is by reading books, researching online resources, and attending conferences and trainings to learn from the experiences of business practitioners. There are myriad opportunities to learn from the best practices of business leaders and entrepreneurs who are currently operating BAM companies.
Here are some resources for learning more about BAM:
Business as Mission: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory and Practice by C. Neal Johnson
The Missional Entrepreneur: Principles and Practice for Business as Mission by Mark L. Russell
Great Commission Companies: The Emerging Roles of Business as Mission by Steve Rundle and Tom A. Steffen
If our churches desire to be good senders of BAM practitioners, pastors and church leaders must begin having open discussions with the business leaders in the local church.
There are also opportunities to begin learning about BAM through networking with like-minded people at BAM conferences:
If our churches desire to be good senders of BAM practitioners, pastors and church leaders must begin having open discussions with the business leaders in the local church. Pastors should take time to visit in person with their business practitioners at their offices, factories, and other places of work. Begin learning about BAM through reading and research, and consider attending BAM conferences and trainings with business leaders in your church. Pray that God would open both your heart and the hearts of these business leaders.
Our churches have a unique opportunity to equip and mobilize their members to become an unstoppable force in the marketplace.
Churches will learn how to become good senders once they start praying for and having real discussions with their business leaders about marketplace ministry. Business leaders will know when they are ready to practice BAM as they begin networking with real BAM practitioners and are encouraged by their local churches. Our churches have a unique opportunity to equip and mobilize their members to become an unstoppable force in the marketplace. Let’s all pray that the global church and our local church will believe and lead in this opportunity now!
Over the last twenty-five years, Hatley has worked in manufacturing with a global Fortune 100 company, the United States government, and has managed multiple non-profit organizations. He is the founder of Growing Entrepreneurs International (2010) and GEI Thailand Foundation (2013) and co-founder of Expat Homes Ltd, Bliss Clean and Care Co. Ltd in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Over the last decade, he has coached and consulted with 60+ Thai and international entrepreneurs in SE Asia launching new startups. He has a passion for mentoring and has personally invested in the lives of hundreds of college students and young professionals.