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BAM and the Church

Business as Mission and the Church: Unleashing the Power of the Congregation in the Global Marketplace


We believe the local church can effectively disciple and equip their members to have a positive influence on the marketplace—and especially the spheres of business and economics—with the complete understanding that God said it is ‘very good’.

The BAM and the Church Consultation Group focused on the role of business as mission in and through the local church. While the modern business as mission movement has been growing and expanding globally for several decades, much of this growth has been outside of local church contexts.

Yet the BAM Manifesto, published twenty years ago, thoroughly grounded this movement in the Church when it ended with these recommendations:

We call upon the Church worldwide to identify, affirm, pray for, commission and release businesspeople and entrepreneurs to exercise their gifts and calling as businesspeople in the world—among all peoples and to the ends of the earth.

We call upon businesspeople globally to receive this affirmation and to consider how their gifts and experience might be used to help meet the world’s most pressing spiritual and physical needs through Business as Mission.

Our goal in this paper is to build a bridge between the leaders of local churches and those Christians called to be ‘marketplace ministers’—and to help them reengage and find common ground. To this end, we chose four areas to focus on:

  1. Overcoming Theological Hindrances: We examine some of the significant theological beliefs that have hindered the church from fulfilling its role as an equipper of disciples in the marketplace and we explore how to overcome them.
  2. Identifying Structural Obstacles: How the local church is structured has significant impact on what it does or does not do and we examine the impact of structure on message and methods.
  3. Recognising Cultural Challenges: We acknowledge the marvel of the Church in its international and ethnic variety and examine some of the unique cultural challenges that impact various national and ethnic environments.
  4. Sharing Case Studies: We review case studies that illustrate the positive impact when the ‘church gathered’ in local church communities and the ‘church scattered’ in the marketplace in business reengage with one another.

At the end of the report, you will find recommendations and resources, including a self-assessment tool for both pastors or church leaders, and church members.

Our prayer is that disciples of Jesus in the marketplace will be committed to making him known to the nations by word and deed. May the local church and the Church globally grow in its capacity to equip these disciples to be a light to the world in their companies and communities.


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Role of the Church in Wealth Creation

Executive Summary

Ephesians 4 tells us that the church is to equip God’s people for service. This report explores,

What is the role of the church and its leaders in enlightening, educating, equipping, and empowering God’s people for the service of wealth creation? How is the church to be involved in inspiring, commissioning, and releasing people who launch businesses that provide jobs and that bring redemptive influence for the benefit of the whole community, and even for entire sectors of the economy? What is the role of the church in wealth creation for holistic transformation?

We acknowledge that wealth creation is a godly gift. Various material blessings can and should result from its proper use and be beneficial to the greater community.

We believe that businesses can contribute to . . . positive, holistic, and redemptive purposes. We affirm that businesses can and should assess their activities in terms of a fourfold bottom line—financial, social, spiritual, and environmental.

However, the issue of wealth creation is too often neglected or misunderstood. One major stumbling block is the sacred/secular divide. We need to see that ‘God’s concerns are holistic, and so is the mission of the church.

The lack of business experience and exposure to business among pastors, and the lack of relevant teaching on wealth creation are among the reasons that ‘so many Christians hear little teaching, preaching, or discussion in the church about the activities that engage the greatest proportion of their time in between times of worship—that is, their daily work.’  Other reasons include the perceptions of corruption in the business world and the lack of visible structures for commissioning and sending.

We propose four steps to address these obstacles and to engage the church in equipping business people to serve in the marketplace:

1. Enlighten: to create awareness through conferences and other means.

2. Educate: to accomplish a ‘shift in the minds of people from interest to commitment’.

3. Equip: to serve as a ‘boot camp for aspiring BAMers to become missional entrepreneurs’.

4. Empower: to design a roadmap for action; ‘at this point the church should proactively seek help and collaboration from other ministries or churches for the sake of the Kingdom of God.’

The report also deals with the importance of the ‘creation mandate’, which is a basis for our calling and engagement in entrepreneurship and commerce.

The report suggests that ‘the church can and should be a part of helping individuals, communities, and economic and social structures work toward . . . a state of comprehensive flourishing, with the elimination of both economic and spiritual poverty, to the glory of God.

At the same time, we are aware of potential pitfalls, and we list some limitations and express some words of caution as the church plays an active role in wealth creation.

The report includes historical case studies on church and wealth creation as well as contemporary ones from China, South Korea, Central Asia, USA, and Rwanda.

Finally, we echo the appeal in the Wealth Creation Manifesto:

  • We call the church to embrace wealth creation as central to our mission of holistic transformation of peoples and societies.
  • We call for fresh, ongoing efforts to equip and launch wealth creators to that very end.
  • We call wealth creators to perseverance, diligently using their God-given gifts to serve God and people.

Read Wealth Creation Manifesto