Business as Mission: A Viking Challenge
As far back as 200 years ago there was an example of BAM from the Nordic Region. This one person impacted his country socially, politically, financially and spiritually in just a few years. Hans Nielsen Hauge was a serial entrepreneur with a calling from God. He started around 30 companies, or rather industries, in Norway within 4 years and preached the gospel and discipled people.
In spite of having Hauge as a clear forerunner for BAM within the region, until recently business has existed in a limited way in overseas missions. Overall, except for a few brilliant examples, such as Hauge, these have been on a smaller scale. The discussion around business as mission (BAM) first started in recent years and has been related to a new focus on societal development and poverty eradication. So far there are only a few examples from the Nordic region.
The main purpose of this Regional Group has been to step back, listen and learn. We have used this listening and evaluation process to help set our direction for the future. We have built a much stronger network through the experiences and work we have done together both in our region but also internationally. This will result in synergies and multiplication of power to the benefit of our world and of Gods kingdom.
The learnings we share come from our BAM work in our own region as well as work done going out from our region. We also report findings and recommendations from the work on different themes that we have done in various BAM Think Tank Issue Groups.
Together we conducted a SWOT analysis of business as mission in and from the Nordic Region. We were able to identify strengths and opportunities, including current trends in society, the felt-need of business people in the church and the ability to build on past experiences. Threats and weaknesses include a lack of affirmation and valuing of entrepreneurship and business, both in the church and in society as a whole.
We researched four profiles of businesses that have been doing business as mission within or from the Nordic Region, plus a couple of shorter organisation summaries. We present some lessons learned and observations from these experiences.
In conclusion, doing BAM in and from the Nordic Countries is a Viking Challenge for our day. Maybe there is something left of the “Viking spirit” or ”Sisu Mentality” of our Nordic cultures? Even though the overall legacy from the Viking history does not give us reason to be proud, originally the noun víking simply referred to an expedition overseas for trade and commerce, when Viking men and women travelled all over the world, beyond their traditional boundaries.
We can do that again! We believe that Jesus followers from the Nordic countries will contribute to Kingdom development, through business, making an impact around the globe again.