Tag Archive for: issue report

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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Download Report in French / Télécharger le rapport en français

 

 

BAM and Creation Care Part 4

Caring for Creation: Environmental Management Systems for BAM Companies

 

The findings of the BAM and Creation Care Consultation indicate a profound shift in the attitude of BAM practitioners to environmental stewardship and creation care in the last decade. This was particularly notable in the second report in this series, ‘How are We Doing?: An Environmental Stewardship Survey of BAM Practitioners’. Environmental stewardship was important to survey respondents both personally and in their business. While this is an encouraging development, an outstanding challenge identified from that study was the effective implementation of Environmental Management Systems (EMS).

Earlier in our consultation process, we interviewed Christian scientists and environmental leaders and asked them the one thing they would tell a God-honouring business to do to be a good creation care steward, see Part 1. More recently, we asked Christian business men and women their suggestions to fellow BAM practitioners on how to get started with an EMS, see Part 2.

As we have already seen from previous reports in this series, there is much to motivate us in the task of environmental stewardship; there are many ways we can respond to both the biblical mandate to care for creation and the pressing environmental challenges faced by the world today.

However, business as mission practitioners face challenges, they are often doing business in underserved places, amongst employees, customers or communities that are neglected by others. Historically they have lacked capacity and resources to care for creation as they would hope to. The desire to develop and implement fruitful environmental management practices has been expressed by BAM practitioners, but the practical know-how has been lacking. This paper is a response to this finding and provides guidance in establishing an EMS.

This report establishes some foundational ideas and shares helpful materials to assist BAM practitioners towards becoming better environmental stewards through their companies. It points to further resources that should significantly aid the BAM community to mature in its ability to develop effective Environmental Management Systems.

The recommendations and action plan that follow provide tangible steps for BAM practitioners and the wider BAM community to pursue.

 

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See also:
BAM and Creation Care Part 1

BAM and Creation Care Part 2

BAM and Creation Care Part 3

BAM and Creation Care Part 3

Challenge and Hope: How Business can Help the Planet and Its People Flourish

 

As BAM and Creation Care Part 1 concluded, all businesses are environmental businesses and we need the BAM community to be leading the way in recognising this.

This is the first major theme of the BAM and Creation Care Consultation; that every business as mission (BAM) entity has the opportunity to grow in their care of creation.

While all BAM companies can become better environmental stewards, there is a second major theme to the BAM and Creation Care Consultation; the opportunity for some Christian entrepreneurs and investors to create new BAM companies that address critical environmental problems with innovative business solutions and new technologies.

Acute environmental damage and degradation is often to be found in places suffering dire poverty and in places relatively unreached with the gospel. This presents BAM practitioners and investors with the challenge and opportunity to respond holistically with environmental solutions at the heart of their business model. Business as mission companies serve people who face great environmental, even existential challenges. BAM practitioners are on the ground already in many areas of the greatest need and are positioned to respond.

This report explores how to meet the pressing environmental challenges that face us today with the hope we share and the technical capabilities we can access. It focuses on the provision of air and water solutions that can best meet the needs of unreached peoples who desperately need the gospel and access to clean air and water.

It concludes with an exhortation to respond with the gifts and experience that each of us have, a series of recommendations and a corresponding action plan.

We thank God that he is at work, stirring us in the business as mission community to be part of the solution. This paper seeks to further encourage God-honouring entrepreneurs and investors to mature and mobilise new technologies and companies that will help to care for creation and be ‘good news to the poor’ (Luke 4:18).

 

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See also:
BAM and Creation Care Part 1

BAM and Creation Care Part 2

BAM and Creation Care Part 4

BAM and Creation Care Part 2

How Are We Doing? An Environmental Stewardship Survey of BAM Practitioners

Environmental stewardship is a critical outcome, or ‘bottom line’, of business. However, organisations and companies face challenges in managing their environmental systems and creating a positive environmental impact. This report aims to understand the challenges, both technical and institutional, faced by business as mission (BAM) entities in particular. It explores the implications for environmental stewardship practices and the successful implementation of Environmental Management Systems.

The BAM Global Creation Care Consultation Group is mandated to serve the Kingdom-minded business community with practical guidance on environmental stewardship. In this report, we discuss the challenges and successes experienced by BAM organisations in this area. In turn, we propose realistic, measurable and attainable goals for increasing the level of environmental stewardship—both in individual BAM companies and the BAM movement as a whole—and identify some critical resources and support mechanisms required to do so.

BAM practitioners were polled about their environmental practices and the challenges they face through two separate survey processes. Respondents came from a wide geographical area and a wide variety of business sectors. The results from both surveys provided the raw materials for this report and will help drive the ongoing work of developing environmental management resources for the BAM community.

The survey findings indicate a profound shift in the attitude of BAM practitioners to environmental stewardship and creation care in the last decade. They revealed that environmental stewardship was important to respondents both personally and in their business, with a median score of 8 out of 10 for both aspects. While this is encouraging, an outstanding challenge is the effective implementation of Environmental Management Systems (EMS). While many BAM practitioners desired to initiate an EMS, there was a reported lack of knowledge on how to begin.

A SWOT analysis of survey responses was completed to give a clearer picture of the state of engagement on environmental stewardship within the BAM community. From that work, a TOWS analysis was developed to explore potential solutions and responses.

Recommendations and action plans for consideration by the BAM community are proposed. These include practical suggestions for BAM practitioners aiming to become better environmental managers and stewards through their companies. There are also recommendations for further resource and network development within the broader business as mission ecosystem.

We reconfirm that a successful Environmental Management System, and the resulting positive environmental impact, is best achieved when one interconnects all four bottom lines of BAM. Consideration of the environmental bottom line cannot be divorced from the financial, social, or spiritual bottom lines.

 

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See also:
BAM and Creation Care Part 1

BAM and Creation Care Part 3

BAM and Creation Care Part 4

BAM and Creation Care Part 1

One Big Thing: The One Thing a God-honouring Business Must Do to Be a Good Creation Care Steward

Business as Mission (BAM) companies serve people who face great environmental, even existential challenges. BAM practitioners are on the ground already in many areas of the greatest need and are positioned to respond.

To help BAM practitioners meet the business as mission goal— or bottom line—of environmental stewardship, we asked some of the leading Christian scientists and thinkers on the topic of business and creation care:

  • What is the one thing you would tell a God-honouring business they must do to be a good creation care steward?
  • What other advice would you give to those businesses?

We received strong guidance from this wider group, drawn from their experience and a knowledge of the biblical view of creation care. This report summarises their advice, complemented by our own analysis, into the following emerging themes:

  • Be part of the solution
  • Talk about it
  • Connect with nature and appreciate it
  • Become acquainted with local and international environmental laws
  • Study the Bible on creation care and ask God for help
  • Set measurable outputs and internal incentives for reducing waste and pollution
  • Create a sustainable supply chain and go local where possible
  • Conduct an energy audit
  • Speak up for creation with government officials and politicians
  • Dedicate a team for creation care within the staff and be intentional

Implications and recommendations are further discussed for the BAM community at large and for BAM practitioners who are striving for better environmental sustainability through their companies. We also propose a plan of action for further work and resource development on this topic.

This paper encourages God-honouring businesses to sustain the environment, as they also love their neighbours and care for the poor. It provides practical suggestions how to get there. Our hope is that as a result both creation and businesses will thrive.

 

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See also:
BAM and Creation Care Part 2

BAM and Creation Care Part 3

BAM and Creation Care Part 4

 

BAM Advocacy and Mobilisation

Advocacy and Mobilisation: Marketing, Messaging and Engagement in Business as Mission

The business as mission movement is growing. However, business people and business skills remain a significant untapped resource in the global church. In the next generation we have an exciting opportunity to unleash the God-given power of business to address spiritual, social and economic poverty like never before. If we are going to multiply the impact, we need to multiply our mobilisation efforts and make our communication even more compelling. How are we do to that effectively? What are the barriers and challenges that we will face? What are the opportunities before us? Our aim with this report is to equip those involved in advocacy and mobilisation in the business as mission (BAM) movement with lessons learned from experience. We identify major themes that represent both challenges and opportunities for BAM advocacy and mobilisation today, including:

  • God is at work
  • Business people are a primary audience
  • The church has a vital role
  • The sacred-secular divide remains a serious hindrance
  • Good stories and models are important
  • Greater resourcing and innovation is needed
  • Partnerships should be pursued
  • We have a message that resonates
  • We need to patiently overcome misconceptions
  • The world is primed for business

We explore the implications of these themes on the messages that we need to communicate, on our marketing strategies and on engaging people to action. Practical suggestions are given for each these three areas: 1. Developing message content – four key content areas to adapt for any context. 2. Developing marketing strategies – three recommendations for those considering the marketing of BAM concepts and opportunities. 3. Engaging people to action – three important considerations for engaging people to action. Finally, we make recommendations for follow-on initiatives: a prayer network, a call for ‘storytellers’ to join us and a global campaign that would help us reach beyond our current audience for business as mission.

BMTT-IG BAM A&M Report

 

BAM Recruiting, Training and Deployment

Recruiting, Training and Deployment of BAM Practitioners: Successes and Challenges

The BAM Recruiting, Training, and Deployment (RTD) Issue Group of the BAM Global Think Tank attempted to listen to BAM practitioners’ experiences of recruiting, training and deployment and learn from them. The aim was to understand how we can be more effective in the areas of: recruiting people for BAM, training practitioners before and after they start-up; and the structures or processes that can ensure successful deployment.

Research methodology included focus groups involving BAM practitioners as well as business and mission leaders, an online anonymous survey, follow-up in-depth interviews to provide additional qualitative information and a literature review. Each phase of our research attempted to understand how well the “quadruple bottom line” of BAM theory is being achieved by BAM practitioners.

The RTD group began by attempting to understand the key character traits that are indicative of success for BAM practitioners. Indicators for success were evaluated from the perspective of current BAM practitioners as well as mission and non-religious business leaders. In addition, we attempted to identify the channels that are currently being used to recruit BAM practitioners, as well as identify opportunities to improve BAM recruitment.

The RTD group also reviewed current training practices in the BAM movement. We identified not only training that has been used by current BAM practitioners but the felt-need of BAM practitioners in terms of training to improve their performance and impact.

Finally, the RTD group reviewed success factors for BAM practitioners who have already been deployed and are serving in BAM enterprises. We also assessed whether the factors identified as important in the recruitment and training phases of our research were connected with the success of BAM practitioners as identified in the deployment research.

Key findings emerging from the research include:

  • Most BAM practitioners in our survey sample were ‘self-recruited’, more intentional recruiting methods and channels could be leveraged.
  • Four clear themes of desirable character traits for a BAM practitioner were identified: a. Character and spiritual maturity, b. Personal passion and resilience, c. Entrepreneurial abilities, and d. Interpersonal abilities.
  • The potential for a greater variety of BAM training resources exists, particularly specialised on in-depth business disciplines, business opportunities within regions and also within industries.
  • The need for greater connectivity, networking and collaboration between BAM practitioners and between BAM RTD-focused organisations.
  • The particular importance of mentoring, accountability, research and prayer for the deployment phase of BAM companies.
  • Concern whether the theory of a quadruple bottom line matches practice, in terms of a balanced approach to goal-setting, performance and accountability structures.
  • There were very few examples of BAM enterprises which have clear goals or examples of success for environmental transformation.

Although we are encouraged by the current strengths of BAM recruiting, training and deployment in a relatively young movement, there is work to be done. Specific recommendations for future research, collaboration and new initiatives are suggested.
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BAM Incubation

Planting, Watering, Growing: God’s Creative Design… Incubation

A business incubator consists of a collection of activities designed to help the launch, growth, and ultimate success of business enterprises. Business as mission (BAM) incubation has emerged in recent years as a distinct activity aimed at maximizing the success of BAM companies. A variety of incubation models support businesses around the world by providing an array of resources and services such as: facilities, infrastructure, financial capital, mentoring, country analysis, training, business plan development, recruiting, and facilitation of connections with potential partners, including suppliers, distributors and consumers. Business incubation is good, it is glorifying to God and a much needed activity in the BAM movement worldwide.

In this report, we look briefly at incubation from a biblical and church history point of view, showing that God has designed us to creatively collaborate with Him and others in order to be fruitful.

An overview of mainstream business incubation is then given as a foundation for understanding incubation in a BAM context. The types, advantages, principles and best practices of mainstream business incubation are included, to equip and inform both:

  • BAM company owners looking into using a business incubator, and
  • Those in the BAM community aiming to establish business incubator models.

Business as mission incubation is relatively young, with few well-established incubator models. This report shares some of these BAM incubation models; how they have emerged, their focus, and the kinds of services they offer. Many of the current BAM incubation organizations and activities have emerged out of existing organizations, especially mission agencies. This growing band of BAM incubators includes a wide array of services and specializations. Specializations include various geographically focused incubators (e.g. region, country or city), and those that target a particular client or type of business (e.g. ‘freedom business’, national Christians, cross-cultural teams). A directory of incubation organizations and six incubator profiles are provided in the Appendices.

Incubating business as mission companies requires activities that go beyond the range of standard business services offered by mainstream and social enterprise business incubators. BAM companies have a focus on spiritual impact, as well as social, environmental and economic impact. This will mean BAM incubation activities that address spiritual, missiological, theological, and cultural concerns. In BAM incubation we should emphasis creativity, collaboration, prayer and the leadership of the Holy Spirit; alongside delivering an array of high-standard incubation services and resources according to our goals and context.

A SWOT analysis of current BAM incubation and lessons learned so far show that although there has been a good start to BAM incubation, we have much still to do and learn. Lack of business rigor and successful business models is a threat to the business as mission movement. There is a great need for more BAM incubators of all kinds to address this and for them to be more effectively networked for knowledge and resource-sharing. Specific recommendations are made for the future of BAM incubation.
BMTT-IG BAM Incubation cover 300

 

BAM Funding

No Water, No Fish: Funding is Vital to BAM Success and Sustainability

The convening of the Business as Mission Global Think Tank and Congress marked the first time the issue of funding for business as mission (BAM) companies emerged as a focus issue on a broad-based, international level. The necessity of capital for any endeavor highlights funding as an essential component of the BAM discussion.

The objective of this report is to provide assistance to the global BAM movement by educating and motivating BAM practitioners and funders so that responsible, appropriately contextualized, innovative, and successful allocation of financial resources may be more widely achieved. The vision is for capital to flow more efficiently to BAM companies, allowing them to be more effective in transforming their spheres of influence for the greater glory of God.

Perhaps best described as being in an infancy stage, funding for BAM is quickly moving toward adolescence. It should come as no surprise that the needs, challenges and opportunities for BAM parallel those for secular global businesses. Emerging BAM funding is showing early signs of matching important, prudent, and generally accepted elements of the broad spectrum of funding types available in global financial markets.

Some critical needs were identified for business as mission funding. One area of funding need is the availability of capital to fund start-ups. Greater creativity is vital to meeting this challenge. Another area of need is for more investment-worthy companies. The continued development of excellence in business approaches and seasoned operators will increase the potential for profitability and enhance attractiveness to potential investors. Alongside this, the nonnegotiable principles of integrity in identity and practice, integration of work and ministry, and intentionality of Kingdom purpose are crucial to successfully move enterprises from start-up to sustainability.

The report observes that hybridization, as a possible way to fund a business through a strategic mixture of capital, has both positive and negative ramifications. It addresses the variables of commercial and non-commercial funding for the business and/or compensation for the practitioner from a combination of both business and donor funding.

The research presented also notes there exists a certain tension between appropriate contextualization of funding models and the need for some measure of ‘best practice’ principles which are more widely understood, embraced and implemented in the business world. This paper argues there is no ‘one size fits all’ funding template that can or should be applied to the complexities of the global BAM movement.

The key recommendations of this report include: Firstly, a need for better communication between investors, as well as between investors and BAM practitioners. Secondly, over the next few years, there is an opportunity and need to identify and replicate successful funding models. Thirdly, the way to nurture this paradigm shift in investing is to initiate dialogue around the theology of wealth and investing. Developing an archetype rooted in Scripture that integrates missional competence with commercial proficiency is essential to the shaping of expectations, motivation and furthering of the BAM movement.
BMTT-IG BAM Funding cover 300

 

BAM Scholarship and Research

Scholars Needed: The Current State of Business as Mission Research

Great strides have been made in recent years to challenge the “sacred-secular” divide that is so deeply entrenched in the church, and to raise awareness of business’ potential to serve the common good. Yet the resources produced thus far offer little in the way of practical help for Christian business professionals. Few resources—whether books, websites, blogs, etc.—go beyond what might be called “cheerleading,” that is, encouraging Christians to “take their faith to work” or to embrace business as a vehicle for positive community impact.

As valuable as such “cheerleading” may be, there is a growing chorus of complaints by practitioners and educators about the lack of helpful resources, especially the lack of rigorous research that takes an unvarnished and critical look at what’s working, what’s not, and why. This is more than an academic problem; without quality research—and the resources that are generated by it—practitioners are forced to “figure things out” on their own, and the long-term impact of business as mission (BAM) will continue to be mixed.

One way to stimulate the production of such resources is by creating an association of BAM scholars. Such an association would include outlets (scholarly conferences and journals) for such research. Another way to address this need is by drawing from the closely related field of social entrepreneurship (SE). SE is similar to BAM in its emphasis on multiple “bottom lines”. The main difference is that SE accommodates all religious perspectives, including non-religious and humanistic perspectives. Still, there is much that can be learned through respectful dialogue between the two fields, and BAM scholars should actively engage this field by attending SE conferences and contributing to SE journals.

The following review is intended to help scholars get quickly up to speed on the research that has been done and what is still needed. This report is a slightly modified re-publication, with permission, of an essay previously published in the Journal of Biblical Integration in Business entitled “‘Business as Mission’ Hybrids: A Review and Research Agenda.”

BMTT-IG Scholarship cover 300