Lausanne Occasional Paper (LOP) No.59
Produced by the Issue Group on this topic at the
2004 Forum for World Evangelization hosted by the
Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization
In Pattaya, Thailand, September 29 to October 5, 2004
“A New Vision, a New Heart, a Renewed Call”
In encouraging the publication and study of the Occasional Papers, the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization does not necessarily endorse every viewpoint expressed in these papers.
This Issue Group on Business as mission was Issue Group No.30
(there were 31 Issue Groups at the Forum)
Series Editor for the 2004 Forum Occasional Papers (commencing with LOP 30):
This Occasional Paper was prepared by the whole Issue Group and
the Editors are Mats Tunehag, Wayne McGee and Josie Plummer
Copyright © 2005
Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization
and its National Committees around the world
The context for the production of the Lausanne Occasional Papers
The Lausanne Movement is an international movement committed to energising “the whole Church to take the whole gospel to the whole world.”
With roots going back to the historical conferences in Edinburgh (1910) and Berlin (1966), the Lausanne Movement was born out of the First International Congress on World Evangelization called by evangelist Billy Graham held in Lausanne, Switzerland, in July 1974. The landmark outcome of this Congress was the Lausanne Covenant supported by the 2,430 participants from 150 nations. The covenant proclaims the substance of the Christian faith as historically declared in the creeds and adds a clear missional dimension to our faith. Many activities have emerged from the Lausanne Congress and from the second congress held in Manila in 1989. The Covenant (in a number of languages), and details about the many regional events and specialised conferences which have been undertaken in the name of Lausanne, may be examined online at www.lausanne.org.
The Lausanne International Committee believed it was led by the Holy Spirit to hold another conference which would bring together Christian leaders from around the world. This time the Committee planned to have younger emerging leaders involved and sought funds to enable it to bring a significant contingent from those parts of the world where the church is rapidly growing today. It decided to call the conference a Forum. As a Forum its structure would allow people to come and participate if they had something to contribute to one of 31 issues (around which were formed Issue Groups). These issues were chosen through a global research programme seeking to identify the most significant issues in the world today which are of concern in our task to take the good news to the world.
This Lausanne Occasional Paper (LOP) is the report that has emerged from one of these Issue Groups. LOPs have been produced for each of the Issue Groups and information on these and other publications may be obtained online at www.lausanne.org.
The theme of the Forum for World Evangelization held in 2004 was “A new vision, a new heart, a renewed call.” This Forum was held in Pattaya, Thailand from September 29 to October 5, 2004. 1,530 participants came from 130 countries to work in one of the 31 Issue Groups.
The Affirmations at the conclusion of the Forum stated:
“There has been a spirit of working together in serious dialogue and prayerful reflection. Representatives from a wide spectrum of cultures and virtually all parts of the world have come together to learn from one another and to seek new direction from the Holy Spirit for world evangelization. They committed themselves to joint action under divine guidance.
The dramatic change in the political and economic landscape in recent years has raised new challenges in evangelization for the church. The polarization between east and west makes it imperative that the church seek God’s direction for the appropriate responses to the present challenges.
In the 31 Issue Groups these new realities were taken into consideration, including the HIV pandemic, terrorism, globalization, the global role of media, poverty, persecution of Christians, fragmented families, political and religious nationalism, post-modern mind set, oppression of children, urbanization, neglect of the disabled and others.
Great progress was made in these groups as they grappled for solutions to the key challenges of world evangelization. As these groups focused on making specific recommendations, larger strategic themes came to the forefront.
There was affirmation that major efforts of the church must be directed toward those who have no access to the gospel. The commitment to help establish self sustaining churches within 6,000 remaining unreached people groups remains a central priority.
Secondly, the words of our Lord call us to love our neighbour as ourselves. In this we have failed greatly. We renew our commitment to reach out in love and compassion to those who are marginalised because of disabilities or who have different lifestyles and spiritual perspectives. We commit to reach out to children and young people who constitute a majority of the world’s population, many of whom are being abused, forced into slavery, armies and child labour.
A third stream of a strategic nature acknowledges that the growth of the church is now accelerating outside of the western world. Through the participants from Africa, Asia and Latin America, we recognise the dynamic nature and rapid growth of the church in the South. Church leaders from the South are increasingly providing exemplary leadership in world evangelization.
Fourthly, we acknowledge the reality that much of the world is made up of oral learners who understand best when information comes to them by means of stories. A large proportion of the world’s populations are either unable to or unwilling to absorb information through written communications. Therefore, a need exists to share the “Good News” and to disciple new Christians in story form and parables.
Fifthly, we call on the church to use media to effectively engage the culture in ways that draw non-believers toward spiritual truth and to proclaim Jesus Christ in culturally relevant ways.
Finally, we affirm the priesthood of all believers and call on the church to equip, encourage and empower women, men and youth to fulfil their calling as witnesses and co-labourers in the world wide task of evangelization.
Transformation was a theme which emerged from the working groups. We acknowledge our own need to be continually transformed, to continue to open ourselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit, to the challenges of God’s word and to grow in Christ together with fellow Christians in ways that result in social and economic transformation. We acknowledge that the scope of the gospel and building the Kingdom of God involves, body, mind, soul and spirit. Therefore we call for increasing integration of service to society and proclamation of the gospel.
We pray for those around the world who are being persecuted for their faith and for those who live in constant fear of their lives. We uphold our brothers and sisters who are suffering. We recognize that the reality of the persecuted church needs to be increasingly on the agenda of the whole Body of Christ. At the same time, we also acknowledge the importance of loving and doing good to our enemies while we fight for the right of freedom of conscience everywhere.
We are deeply moved by the onslaught of the HIV/AIDS pandemic – the greatest human emergency in history. The Lausanne movement calls all churches everywhere to prayer and holistic response to this plague.
“9/11,” the war in Iraq, the war on terror and its reprisals compel us to state that we must not allow the gospel or the Christian faith to be captive to any one geo- political entity. We affirm that the Christian faith is above all political entities.
We are concerned and mourn the death and destruction caused by all conflicts, terrorism and war. We call for Christians to pray for peace, to be proactively involved in reconciliation and avoid all attempts to turn any conflict into a religious war. Christian mission in this context lies in becoming peacemakers.
We pray for peace and reconciliation and God’s guidance in how to bring about peace through our work of evangelization. We pray for God to work in the affairs of nations to open doors of opportunity for the gospel. We call on the church to mobilize every believer to focus specific consistent prayer for the evangelization of their communities and the world.
In this Forum we have experienced the partnership of men and women working together. We call on the church around the world to work towards full partnership of men and women in the work of world evangelism by maximising the gifts of all.
We also recognize the need for greater intentionality in developing future leaders. We call on the church to find creative ways to release emerging leaders to serve effectively.”
Numerous practical recommendations for local churches to consider were offered. These will be available on the Lausanne website and in the Lausanne Occasional Papers. It is our prayer that these many case studies and action plans will be used of God to mobilise the church to share a clear and relevant message using a variety of methods to reach the most neglected or resistant groups so that everyone will have the opportunity to hear the gospel message and be able to respond to this good news in faith.
We express our gratitude to the Thai Church which has hosted us and to their welcoming presentation to the Forum. We are profoundly gratefully to God for the privilege of being able to gather here from the four corners of the earth. We have developed new partnerships, made new friends and encouraged one another in our various ministries. Not withstanding the resistance to the gospel in many places and the richness of an inherited religious and cultural tradition we here at the Forum have accepted afresh the renewed call to be obedient to the mandate of Christ. We commit ourselves to making His saving love known so that the whole world may have opportunity to accept God’s gift of salvation through Christ.”
These affirmations indicate the response of the participants to the Forum outcomes and their longing that the whole church may be motivated by the outcomes of the Forum to strengthen its determination to be obedient to God’s calling.
May the case studies and the practical suggestions in this and the other LOPs be of great help to you and your church as you seek to find new ways and a renewed call to proclaim the saving love of Jesus Christ
Part I: Setting the Scene
- WHAT IS BUSINESS AS MISSION? Clarifying Terms
- THE WORD AND THE MISSION: Biblical Foundations for Business as mission
- THE WORLD AND THE MARKETPLACE: The Present Context for Business as mission, Opportunities and Challenges
Part II: Business as mission in Practice
- THE ESSENTIALS OF GOOD BUSINESS AS MISSION: 10 Guiding Principles
- STORIES OF BUSINESS AS MISSION: Case Studies
Part III: Enabling the Body
- MOBILISING FOR BUSINESS AS MISSION: Releasing Untapped Resources in the Global Church
- PARTNERSHIP: The Vital Role of Mission Agencies and the Church
Part IV: Looking Forward
- STRATEGIC RECOMMENDATIONS: Specific Steps for Action
Appendix A: Participants
Appendix B: Assignment and Process Appendix C: Additional General Case Studies
Appendix D: Obstacles and Solutions to Business and Church Partnership
Appendix E: Case Study of Mission Agency Involvement in Business as mission Appendix F: Resource Directory
- Articles and Papers
- Organisations, Networks and Web Links
- Training Institutions
- Additional Tools
Appendix G: Endorsements
NOTE: All unattributed quotes represent comments written by individual members of the Business as mission Issue Group during the course of work on this document.
We believe we are experiencing a move of God among His people. As we have engaged in business as mission over the last ten years, we have increasingly experienced God at work in a new way, all over the world, both in the market place and in the Church. This dynamic movement within the Body of Christ is based on God’s love for the world and His call to His Church. It is a new wave of activity that is closely linked with the work of the Holy Spirit throughout history. It is a relevant strategy for the 21st century. God is raising up a new work force of men and women from around the world. These men and women are on a mission for God’s glory in and through business. Christian leaders in business, church, missions and beyond have all concurred that God is at work and business as mission is dynamically meeting the various needs of a world in desperate need of the whole Gospel! Just listen to what a few have to say:
True to God’s Calling
Rene Padilla is a prominent Argentinean theologian, missiologist and author who enthusiastically endorses business as mission, and says that it is “closely related to Jesus’ call to His disciples—to be the salt of the earth”.
God at Work Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow
Both business and church leaders recognise the historical dimension of business as mission as is evident in the following quotes:
“New leadership is needed in the 21st century, as we look at effective and holistic mission strategies. Business has historically been a key frontier in extending the Kingdom.” Stuart McGreevy, Chairman, TBN Transformational Business Network
“In the earliest history of the Christian mission the saving news of Christ was often carried to new places by those who were seeking to do business.” Harry Goodhew, Retired Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Australia
A Relevant Strategy for the 21st Century
Business as mission is not simply a fundraising tactic or a visa platform, but a relevant strategy for the 21st century – especially in the 10/40 Window:
“The use of business in global outreach is a strategy of choice for the context of the 21st century mission” Ted Yamamori, International Director of the Lausanne movement, LCWE.
“Economic-based mission will bring a major change to the face of Christian missions, and it is more than just a new strategy—there is a promise connected to it: He who lends to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done. (Proverbs 19:17)” Jürg Opprecht, Founder and President BPN Business and Professional Network
“Business as mission is a relevant strategy to meet the challenges in the 10/40-window and beyond.” Luis Bush, USA/Argentina, founder of the AD2000 Movement
The Body of Christ at Work
“Businessmen and women are being called to embrace a new responsibility under God to transform the societies of the world at large through creative acts of love.” J. Gunnar Olson, Chairman and Founder of ICCC, International Christian Chamber of Commerce
It is with great joy and expectation that we submit this report to the Church world-wide.
Mats Tunehag, Wayne McGee and Josie Plummer
A World in Need
The world holds fresh opportunities and challenges for the global Church. In regions where Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are dominant and where 90% of the world’s unreached peoples live, you also find 80% of the world’s poorest populations. Unemployment in these countries ranges from 30% to 80% and it is even higher among Christian minorities. Furthermore many Christians and others in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin American are living in poverty because of lack of jobs and unjust economic systems.
Over the next 20 years, more than 2 billion people will enter societies where there are few churches and very few jobs.
What should be the response of the Church and particularly Christian business people to such challenges?
What the poor want is not aid, but jobs – real jobs, not subsidised ones.
This is the dignity and self-reliance they deserve.
Business as mission – a Renewed Call
There is a wave of thousands of Christian business people from all continents who are experiencing a dynamic move of God as part of a renewed call to His kingdom work. God is on the move in Latin America, Asia, Europe, North America, Africa and the Pacific regions, calling His global church to rediscover His heart and intention for business.
God established the institution and practice of business as a means of fulfilling His creation mandate to steward and care for all of creation. He is releasing the power of business to aid in the task of fulfilling the great commission making disciples of all nations. God longs to be glorified through our business activities.
Business people are being challenged to look anew at their business activities as an expression of their calling and service to God. They are being affirmed in their vocation as business people and used as instruments for extending God’s kingdom. God has led a growing number of business people to think strategically about how they can integrate their skills and experience in business with the task of world mission. God is calling many more business people, from all nations to go to all nations, in this new paradigm of mission.
“God has gifted some with the resources of mind and spirit to be businessmen and women. Business as mission seeks to support and encourage those who are gifted by God in this way. It aims to stimulate interest in, and commitment to, doing business as unto the Lord. Its desire is to assist business people to see the opportunities that exist, to use their skills and talents to bless those in the poorest and most needy parts of the world, and to provide in those contexts credible opportunities to demonstrate and proclaim Christ.”
Harry Goodhew, Retired Anglican Archbishop of Sydney,
One term being used for this new mission movement is ‘business as mission’. Business in and of itself is the ministry and instrument of mission. It is about releasing the entrepreneurs and business professionals within the church in order to transform the world through their business activities.
The implication of ‘the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world’ includes affirming and mobilising the business people in the Body of Christ. It means releasing them to use their gifting in business to lift the oppression of the poor through business, to transform their own communities and nations through business, and to carry the good news to the ‘ends of the earth’ through business.
Breaking New Ground
Kingdom focused business has been called a strategy of choice for the 21st century mission. In many countries where the name of Christ is least often heard or understood, Christians are better welcomed as business people, not “missionaries”. Business is about relationships in the context of everyday life and provides numerous ways to bless individuals, communities and nations.
This blessing is already a growing reality in places like Asia and can be illustrated by these two examples:
- A Christian in Central Asia tried to witness to his people, a Muslim community with very few believers. But he was seen as a “professional Christian”, not real to them and probably paid by Westerners to proselytise. He experienced open hostility and alienation. Later he started a small cattle business. His lifestyle became understandable and natural to them. Even though they knew he was still a follower of Isa/Jesus, he was now acceptable. He was one of them, perceived as dealing with real life issues and meeting real He has since been invited to sit on the council of elders for his community.
- An IT-company exists in India among a major unreached people with the intention to make Christ known among these people. Through the many natural opportunities that business provides, the founder can share his faith in word and deed. The company’s strategic plan reads: “Our purpose is to serve:
- Our Customers with creative, innovative, reliable, top-quality solutions;
- Our Employees with meaningful and challenging work, stability, good salaries, development and a pleasant work-environment;
- Our other Stakeholders by providing attractive returns on their investments;
- The Country by creating knowledge and wealth and contributing to local concerns;
- Society by showing that success and high moral standards can co- exist; and
- Ultimately God by being faithful and good ”
After centuries of Christian work among unemployed Muslims & among poor Buddhists and Hindus, we have seen only limited progress. The Church should recognise the need for renewed thinking and application of being and doing church and missions; as more of the same thing will not result in a better harvest.
Breaking new ground in the task of global evangelisation requires new methods and strategies. There is a growing need to provide models for mission that are financially sustainable and will strengthen local churches and national missionary movements. Business as mission is one response. It is crucial that Christian business people are equipped and supported to take up their key role in transforming their own nation and beyond.
At a meeting of Christian leaders from Eastern European countries, leader after leader from different denominations echoed, “Do not send us money, it only creates division, send us business people who can create jobs for us, that we can build ourselves up. A leader from Croatia went so far to say, “Sending us missionaries is good, but we’d prefer that you send us godly businessmen, who can teach us and help us to start businesses and create jobs in a Christ-like way.”†
A Christian businesswoman from Central Asia said: “There are many seminars and teachings on how to start a business. There are business schools with local and foreign teachers. But there are few resources to get practical help in starting a real business not just hearing about how to start a business.”
Our desire is to acknowledge the ways that business can and does glorify God. Business can be used for good and to help grow His kingdom. There are unique and wonderful opportunities that God is calling us to through business, businesses that help restore human dignity and hope as well as provide a context for sharing the gospel of the Kingdom. We dream of seeing the Church, as the whole Body of Christ, taking the whole Gospel to the whole world. Our prayer is that God’s kingdom would come in all spheres of society within every nation. Our goal is to see people and communities transformed by the power of the gospel. Business as mission is about affirming, mobilising, equipping and deploying business people to this end.
The business of ‘Business as mission’ is to reveal Christ through business. When this is done effectively, the outcome is transformational.
To the greater Glory of God!
† Extract from an unpublished newsletter by Patrick Lai.
Part I: Setting the Scene
The purpose of this chapter is to briefly clarify a few key terms and expressions. The descriptions used here are simply to aid us to communicate clearly and consistently. It is not our aim to create a ‘Business as mission orthodoxy’ or terminology, or to exclude groups or initiatives that prefer other terms and definitions. Other expressions commonly used in the movement include ‘transformational business’, ‘great commission companies’ and ‘kingdom business’. The authors recognise that in some contexts ‘Business as mission’ is not the most helpful or preferred term. The expression ‘Business as mission’ itself can be considered a fairly broad term that encompasses various areas where business and missions connect.
Our terms here are further limited both culturally and linguistically, since this paper was prepared in English. We expect alternative expressions to be developed which communicate meaningfully in other languages, and other religious, political and cultural settings. The parameters outlined in this document should be considered as a ‘dotted line’ that allows for future change and for anomalies which will force us to reconsider and revise according to the situation and its specific needs.
Business as mission is based on the principle of…HOLISTIC MISSION
Holistic mission attempts to bring all aspects of life and godliness into an organic biblical whole. This includes God’s concerns for such business related issues as economic development, employment and unemployment, economic justice and the use and distribution of natural and creative resources among the human family. These are aspects of God’s redemptive work through Jesus Christ and the Church.
Evangelism and social concerns are often still addressed as though they were separate and unrelated from each other. This assumes a divide between what we consider ‘sacred’ or ‘spiritual’ and what we consider ‘secular’ or ‘physical’. The biblical worldview rather is one that promotes an integrated and seamless holistic view of life. Ministry should not be compartmentalised or fragmented into the ‘spiritual’ and the ‘physical’. Business as mission is an expression of this truly holistic paradigm.
Business is a mission, a calling, a ministry in its own right. Human activity reflects our divine origin, having been created to be creative, to create good things by good processes, for us to enjoy – with others.
Business as mission has a Kingdom of God perspective…KINGDOM BUSINESS
Kingdom businesses start from the theological premise that all Christians have a calling to love and serve God with all of their heart, soul, strength and mind, as well as to love and serve their neighbours. God calls people to work for His kingdom in business just as certainly as He calls people to work in other kinds of ministry or mission ventures.
In this paper, we will often use the term ‘kingdom business’ rather than ‘Business as mission-business’. We recognise the importance of extending God’s kingdom through business in any context. However, we want to highlight the biblical mandate to serve the poor and oppressed, in particular in those areas where the gospel has yet to be received. This will lead us to a focus on cross-cultural activity and should draw our attention to areas of endemic poverty and/or unevangelised communities. We acknowledge that this does not automatically suppose the crossing of international boarders and will be necessary within culturally ‘near’ communities as well.
A function of Business as mission is to act as a catalyst, to inspire and encourage people to get into business and to stay in business, especially in the developing world.
Business as mission is different from but related to…WORKPLACE MINISTRIES
Workplace Ministries are primarily focused on taking the gospel to people where they work, preferably through the witness of co-workers and professional colleagues. These ministries encourage the integration of biblical principles into every aspect of business practice, to the glory of God. Business as mission naturally includes these elements of workplace ministry.
When a workplace ministry is initiated in a business owned by believers to intentionally advance the kingdom of God, there will be substantial overlap. Workplace ministry can choose to limit its focus solely “within” the business context itself. Business as mission is focused both “within” and “through” the business. It seeks to harness the power and resource of business for intentional mission impact in the community or nation at large. Workplace ministry may occur in any setting. However, Business as mission is intentional about the “to all peoples” mandate, and seeks out areas with the greatest spiritual and physical needs.
Business as mission is different from but related to…TENTMAKING
“Tentmaking” refers principally to the practice of Christian professionals, who support themselves financially by working as employees or by engaging in business. In this way they are able to conduct their ministries without depending upon donors and without burdening the people they serve. Tentmaking infers the integration of work and witness, with an emphasis on encouraging evangelism by lay Christians rather than clergy and ministry professionals.
Where tentmakers are part of business ventures that facilitate their mission goals, there is substantial overlap with Business as mission. However, although a tentmaker might be a part of a business, the business itself might not be an integral part of the ministry as it is with Business as mission. Business as mission sees business both as the medium and the message. Business as mission most often involves ‘job-making’ as an integral part of its mission. Tentmaking may involve this, but is more often simply about ‘job-taking’ – taking up employment somewhere in order to facilitate ministry.
Business as mission is different from…BUSINESS FOR MISSIONS
Profits from business can be donated to support missions and ministries. This is different from Business as mission. One might call this business for missions, using business ventures to fund other kinds of ministry. We recognise that profit from a business can be used to support “missions” and that this is good and valid. Likewise employees can use some of their salary to give to charitable causes. While this should be encouraged, none of us would like to be operated on by a surgeon whose only ambition is to make money to give to the church! Instead we expect he has the right skills and drive to operate with excellence, doing his job with full professional integrity. Likewise a Business as mission-business must produce more than goods and services in order to generate new wealth. It seeks to fulfil God’s kingdom purposes and values through every aspect of its operations. A ‘business for mission’ concept can limit business and business people to a role of funding the ‘real ministry’. While funding is an important function, Business as mission is about for- profit businesses that have a kingdom focus.
Business as mission does not condone…NON-BUSINESSES AND NON- MISSIONS
Two approaches to business that do not come within the scope of ‘Business as mission’ by any definition are: (1) Fake businesses that are not actually functioning businesses, but exist solely to provide visas for missionaries to enter countries otherwise closed to them. (2) Businesses that purport to have Christian motivations but which operate only for private economic advantage and not for the kingdom of God. Neither do we mean businesses run by Christians with no clear and defined kingdom strategy in place.
Business as mission pursues…PROFIT
Business must be financially sustainable, producing goods or services that people are willing to pay for. Sustainability implies that the activity is profitable. Profits are an essential element of all businesses, in all cultures. Without profit the business cannot survive and fulfil its purpose. Accordingly, Business as mission – businesses are real business that genuinely exist to generate wealth and profits. Business as mission does not view profits as inherently evil, bad or unbiblical. Quite the contrary, profits are good, desired and beneficial to God and His purposes, as long as they are not oppressive, or derived from gouging customers or selling products and service that do no honour Christ and His gospel.
Temporary subsidies may be utilised to establish a Business as mission initiative. Permanent subsidies or financial support without expectation of ultimate profitability are closer to charitable or donor-based ministries than Business as mission based ministries.
The business of business is business. And the business of Business as mission is business with a kingdom of God purpose and perspective.
Business as mission comes in all…SHAPES AND SIZES
The methodologies, as well as the business and ministry strategies used, will be creatively diverse, just as God created us in infinite variety. Does the size of the business matter? Yes and No! Christian micro-enterprise programmes exist that help provide necessary income for families and individuals resulting in community development, churches being planted and discipleship taking place. In short, Christian micro-enterprise development has been well accepted and is highly effective for the kingdom. A significant body of work already exists dedicated to it. It has a legitimate place in the broader definition and practice of Business as mission.
However, our focus will be on larger scale business, where there has been a comparative lack of attention. If we are to tackle the enormity of the challenge before us we need to think and act bigger, beyond micro to small, medium and large size businesses.
Business as mission is not about…JOBS AND MONEY – PER SE
The Russian Mafia also creates jobs and gives people a chance to earn money. Creating jobs and earning money is not an end in itself. Work and business are ordained by God. Work is a human and divine activity providing a means to support our families and to contribute to the positive development of our communities and countries. However, Business as mission is not a Christianised job creation scheme. The goal is not simply about making people materially better off. Business as mission is actively praying and incarnating Jesus’ prayer: “May your kingdom come, may your will be done” even in the marketplace.
The real bottom line of Business as mission is “ad maiorem Dei gloriam”, for the greater glory of God.
Biblical Foundations for Business as mission
God’s Purpose for Business in the Work of Creation
(a) The Purpose and Nature of God
We cannot understand our purpose and mission in life unless we understand what God’s purpose and mission is. God acts for His glory. He created the cosmos that reflects His glory and goodness (Psalm 8, 19). Although this creation has been marred by sin and its consequences (Genesis 3), God continues a redemptive relationship with creation through ongoing creativity and the sustaining of all things. God the Father, has made men and women in His image (Genesis 1:27). He embraces His children in loving-kindness, and is concerned with our holistic redemption. God the King, is in a kingdom relationship with all humanity as individuals and as nations (peoples). God’s purpose is to receive glory from among every people (nation/ethnic group) by holistically redeeming those who know, love and worship him (Psalm 64, 1Timothy 1:15-17).
Business as mission keeps four things in mind: a) God is at the centre; b) The scope is global; c) Peoples (nations, ethnic groups) and people (individuals) are the focus; d) His glory is the outcome.
God is Spirit. Yet God’s creative acts are perceived most clearly in physical form. We experience this dramatically in the diversity of the vast stellar expanse to the intimate uniqueness of our own molecular weave of a DNA. God’s nature is inherently creative. He has created all things, physical and spiritual. Thus we read in Scripture that He created heaven and earth, sun and moon, water and trees, animals and human beings. His nature reveals an inherent evaluation, innovation and delight in the creation.
God enjoys His creation. His initial satisfaction is indicated by His repeated appraisal of it as “good.” He walked daily in the garden and met with His people as a sign of His pleasure in His creation. His love for His creation is evident in that He continues to creatively sustain all things.
(b) Human Co-creativity and Work
Theology is inter-related to anthropology. Understanding who God is leads us to a deeper understanding of who we are.
God is continually active in creation, working to bring goodness, enjoying the fruit of His labour and sharing it with others. Created in God’s image, humanity is also capable of creating, unashamedly enjoying, and sharing the fruit of our labours with others. As God delighted in that which He created, so He is concerned for its maintenance and fruitfulness. Man is to co-labour with God in this work as seen in the first blessings and commandments given to Adam and Eve: “be fruitful”, “multiply”, “fill the earth” and “subdue it” (Genesis 1:28).
There is an implicit invitation to enjoy the creation as well as a responsibility for creation’s care and well being. We are to care for God’s creation as beneficent overseers. We have the responsibility to respect and care for each other and the natural ongoing processes of the creation we are stewards of.
God gives us the capacity we need to fulfil the task. Adam and Eve were to be involved in the added value processes that create wealth! Work enables the translation of raw resources into food, goods and services. Work creates wealth (a surplus) and this in turn creates more work (employment).
Work is an act of worship. Remember the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis Chapter 4. Abel’s offering came out of the fruit of his labour. In contrast, Cain’s offering was the result of the natural agricultural process. In other words Cain’s offering was a fruit of the earth and not a fruit of his own labour. The concept in Hebrew culture was that Cain was not fully “involved” in what he was offering to God.
Cain’s offering lacked any redemptive action which would have been the result of his own work.
Work is something that is simultaneously both deeply divine and deeply human. It is a tangible act that reveals a human-divine partnership in creation. Work, is not to be understood as a curse or consequence of the fall. Rather it was a blessing and commandment given to Adam and Eve before the fall. Work is a human activity that flows from God’s delegated mandate of stewardship over creation. God gives us the creative capacity, wisdom and tools (gifts/talents) to do it. God took pleasure in the physical aspect of His creation. We too can delight in creating useful and excellent products and services.
(c) Business and the Cultural Mandate of Stewardship
Economic activity is rooted in the creation story. Business and enterprise form the institution that creates and sustains wealth for a just society. In the same way, government is designed to create and sustain an organised society. Family is designed to create and sustain well-adjusted individuals. This is God’s ordained order.
The Bible has much to say about ethical and fair dealing in work and business. It has instructional texts on what is pleasing to God in relationship to business relationships, employment, trading, using money, lending and so on. In business these can be practically applied in areas such as quality control, fair wages, good working conditions, reasonable return on investments, corporate social responsibility, et cetera.
The biblical idea of stewardship not only encompasses the care of creation, but the responsibility of personal stewardship of both talents and wealth as well. Business provides an opportunity for those talented in enterprise (entrepreneurs) and others (employees) to use their particular gifts in service to others as unto to the Lord. In its capacity to provide employment, business sustains not only those who establish enterprises, but also those who are employed or benefit from the goods and/or services provided. Business enables needs to be met and to bless others as a consequence. Business conducted in accord with biblical principles of stewardship offers numerous opportunities to glorify God. For a Christian, business is a vocation, to be conducted in the spirit of the kingdom of God.
“The biblical worldview provides a framework for work being sacred, for labour having dignity. This concept of work is that it is a vocation—one’s calling. … This biblical concept understands that God is at work in the world building His Kingdom, and that, among other things, He calls us to participate in the building of His Kingdom through our work.”
Darrow L. Miller – Developing a Biblical Theology of Vocation, 2002
(d) The Fall and it’s Negative Consequences for Business
After sin came into the world, good things were distorted and disrupted (Genesis 3). The fall also affected work and creativity. Work continues to be a divine command to us, but we must now contest with considerable challenges and problems posed by sinful people doing business in a fallen world. As with everything else in the world, the whole process of creativity and work has been affected by sin.
Work and business offer many opportunities for sin. Exploitation of the poor, greed, dishonesty, and idolatry are just a few examples. But this does not mean that Christians should not engage in business. It is equally true that there are also many opportunities to glorify God.
Productive work and co-creation with God confer dignity and purpose to the individual. Lack of work or work that degrades the individual has a dehumanising effect. The loss of ability to support oneself and to contribute to others (family, community, etc.) represents a loss of dignity and is far from God’s original design.
After the fall a focus on community was shattered by selfishness and greed. This resulted in an attitude that says; “This is mine, I made it for me and me alone”. The fall has led to numerous systems whereby people are exploited or enslaved economically while a few have been unjustly made rich.
But God prepared for a restoration of creation, including work and creativity, through Jesus Christ. Our mandate continues to be stewards of creation and of our personal talents and the wealth our talents generate. We are called to play a role in God’s restoration process by helping to restore the inherent dignity and value of work. We are to be ambassadors of God’s kingdom in the market place, to be salt and light in and through business. As salt and light we are to bless peoples from every culture, through God-honouring business enterprise and the reformation of unjust economic systems.
Before we consider more deeply the redemptive potential of Business as mission, we will briefly explore some examples of business within the history and mission of Israel as well as look at the relevance of business in relation to the message of the New Testament.
Business and the History and Mission of Israel
(a) Joseph the Business Administrator
One of the clearest examples of God’s purpose for business can be seen in the life of Joseph (Genesis 47 to 50). Joseph had experienced the negative side of life having been sold into slavery and later placed in prison in Egypt. Nevertheless God freed him and placed him at the head of Pharaoh’s agro-business with authority through government. His management skills are apparent. He knew that seven years of bountiful harvests would be followed by seven years of scarcity. Joseph ordered that a large percentage of the bountiful harvests be set aside for the lean years. Here we see one of God’s major purposes for business highlighted: God wants the resources of creation to be harnessed (through business skills) so that all of humanity would have its needs met.
(b) Israel Models Economic Principles for the Nations
Four hundred years later the Israelites were still in Egypt, although now as slaves. God saw the horrific conditions of His people and heard their cries (Exodus 1 to 3). He saw that they were not receiving the just reward or fruit of their labours. As He freed His people and led them towards the Promised Land, He established the social and economic (business) conditions necessary for a godly society. God knew that some might want to change the godly vocation of work into an idolatrous pursuit of money and possessions. Therefore, for the wellbeing of His people, the Lord established statutes related to property, work and business (Ezekiel 21 to 23, Leviticus 25). For example, the Israelites were to keep the Sabbath as a special day and to abstain from business pursuits in order to enjoy the rest and restoration that God desired. They were to leave part of their fields un-harvested so that the orphans, widows and foreigners among them might have access to God’s goodness by gleaning from the excess of an abundant harvest. They were not to charge undue interest from the poor of their country. In short, they were to honour God in the midst of their labour and fruitfulness, obeying the limits and ordinances He established. In so doing they would continue to be blessed by Him as a testament to the nations (Deuteronomy 26 to 28).
God’s promises to Israel as they left slavery in Egypt were not isolated to blessings of an unseen nature. He promised He would bless them in every area of life including their crops, livestock and business…. What the Bible emphasises for the poor is opportunity versus aid. Aid is reserved for those who have absolutely no way of providing for themselves and will die without assistance. Israel is certainly in this kind of circumstance in the wilderness. And God provides for the Israelites, however…the day they had the feasibility to provide for themselves the manna was withdrawn… God does not want to create a dependent people but a people who drew on the gifts, talents and resources He had given to see them provide for themselves.
Landa Cope – Old Testament Template www.ottemplate.org
(c) The Dynamic of Jubilee
Especially significant to this discussion is the Biblical legislation regarding Jubilee (Leviticus 25, Deuteronomy 15). In the natural course of life, some people would become richer and some poorer. The poverty of some would lead them to borrow money and acquire devastating debts. Others would even be forced to sell themselves into slavery. God had a radical solution for this poverty. At the end of seven years all debts would be forgiven and the slaves should be set free. Deuteronomy 15 explains in detail how godly values should be practised concerning labour and economics, and how this would offer relief for the poor. God promised Israel that ‘there will be no poor among you’ (15:4) if Israel would publicly and private put into practice God’s principles of Jubilee. God prescribes what must be done ‘If there is a poor man with you’ (15:7-10). This demonstrates that poverty can not be abolished by a sudden intervention of God alone, but by right practice and obedience by God’s people to God’s commands.
More powerful legislation would be enacted every fiftieth year. Some people might become so poor that they would have to sell off their property in order to feed their families. To remedy this extreme poverty, God declared that every fifty years there would be a Jubilee. The land would be returned to the original families and their descendants. Thus each family where given the means to start their own family businesses over again through the reallocation of property. All would have a fresh start. Redemption was to be demonstrated tangibly in the social and economic spheres of life.
(d) The Prophets and a Call to do Business God’s Way
God’s Spirit spoke through the prophet Amos to correct abuses in businesses of his day. Workers had become so undervalued that poor people were sold for a pair of shoes (Amos 2.6). Amos raised his prophetic voice to condemn this abominable practice. We also see the damaging effects of structural sin or indirect sin through unjust systems. Amos directed part of his message to some of the married women of Israel who he denounced as cows of Bashan (Amos 4:1). The women demanded that their husbands provide them with more and more luxuries. The husbands carried out their wives’ wishes. In God’s sight, both husbands and wives were guilty of exploitation and oppression of poor workers. God’s concern with economic justice and business practice is emphasised by the way He addresses them through His prophets, including, for example, Jeremiah (Jeremiah 5:24-29, 6:12-13, 22:13-17), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 18 and 22:12-13), Micah (Micah 2:6,10-15) and Habakkuk (Habakkuk 2:6-9).
(e) The Hebrew Vision of Shalom
The overarching biblical idea of shalom is that of wholeness and peace in our relationship with God, with self, with each other and with creation. Shalom is God’s intention for His creation and is encompassed in our creation mandate to tend the earth and to one another. It embodied the Hebrew aspiration and vision of peace, wholeness and well-being (1 Kings 4:25, Psalm 85:10-13). Throughout the Old Testament, God’s promise of favour and restoration always included both material and immaterial blessing. Having enough to eat and a secure shelter is to be understood as a direct sign of God’s goodness and affirmation (Deuteronomy 8, Ezekiel 34:25-31, Isaiah 49:60-61).
Justice and righteousness are closely linked to shalom. The primary application of the word justice (or righteousness) in the bible refers to corporate or social holiness and the relief of oppression. This embraces the whole of creation and is not merely limited to personal responsibility and ethics.
The Gospel – Good News for Rich and Poor
(a) The Kingdom of God and the Great Commission
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught believers to pray “Thy kingdom come” and “For Thine is the kingdom” (Matthew 6:10, 13). This prayer compels us to acknowledge that the kingdom of God is both present as well as future. From the beginning of Jesus ministry He preached that the kingdom of God had come (“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.” Mark 1:15). He also demonstrated that the gospel of the kingdom of God is “good news to the poor.”
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4.18-19, NIV).
The gospel of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ is good news for everyone, rich and poor alike. Without the final work of the cross and spiritual new birth in Jesus we have no hope (John 3:16-17, Romans 6:4-11, 1 Corinthians 15:12-19). The gospel of God’s grace and mercy is very good news for the “poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). But the gospel of the kingdom is intended to be especially good news for the materially and financially poor of this present world. This is because individuals, families, businesses and societies that live by biblical principles of work, stewardship, faithfulness and justice will alleviate most causes of human suffering and poverty.
Jesus proclaimed and brought in His person the rule of God. The promised deliverance had come. Representatives from all nations are invited to come within His realm and under His authority and grace.
The mandate that the King gave to His followers was to “make disciples of all nations,” (Matthew 28:18-20). We are to have a transforming impact in the world. How are we to do this? By taking the gospel, the good news about the Glorious King and His kingdom, to the nations (“baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” 28:19) and teaching them to obey everything He had commanded (28:20). We should understand this “Great Commission” as an incredible responsibility to utterly revolutionise all aspects of life and society. The nations are to reflect His kingdom principles and His glory. But this transformation will only be realised when the nations have been discipled, as a result of His people living out His “Great Commandment” to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’ and to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ (Matthew 22:36-39, NIV).
(b) The Holistic Gospel in Church History
Only when we understand the enormity of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment together, will we fully appreciate how much we needed to hear Him say, “I am with you in this always!” (Matthew 28:20).
In Luke 4, Jesus clearly defined His mission as evangelism, social holiness and justice. This is Jesus’ holistic mission to a broken world. It is a mix of spiritual, political, social as well as economic objectives. This is a gospel that would have been more readily grasped by Jesus’ Hebrew audience and the early Church with their built-in understanding of shalom, than by sections of the church today which has been influenced by other worldviews.
The apostle Paul says that we are saved by grace, not by our own effort. (Ephesians 2:8-10) Then he follows up saying that we have been created for good deeds which God had already prepared for us to do. The word translated “deeds” is ergon in Greek which means: work, craft, business, art, good work, etc. It is the root of the word ergate which means; worker, employee and entrepreneur. There has never been a separation between the grace of God and practical, tangible real actions experienced in the physical realm here on the earth.
Work ethics and social sensitivity were both contributors to early Church growth, providing respect for the Christian community within the greater society at large (Acts 4:32-35). But it was not long before the Church was influenced by Greek philosophy (Gnosticism and Plato), political structures (Constantinian religious nationalism), and a social class system. This negatively influenced the Christian concept of work and wealth in the wider context of society and the gospel.
These and other unbiblical perspectives inherited from outside the biblical worldview have resulted in:
- Dichotomising life into separate compartments which accommodates a dualistic view putting a divide between the sacred and the secular. This exalts the “spiritual” at the expense of the “physical”, the clergy at the expense of the
- Spiritualising our faith when we should We often spiritualise Jesus’ and the Old Testament’s teaching about wealth, the poor, peace making.
- Individualising our faith at the expense of thinking corporately and collectively. We emphasise personal holiness and individual transformation rather than social holiness and societal
The Reformation of the 16th century recovered the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. This included labour as being a Christian calling to glorify God. The great revival movements of the 18th and 19th centuries promoted holiness and Christian service in all areas of life, including business and the work place. The movement of God’s spirit during these last decades has been towards a truer integration of evangelism, social concern, work and faith by evangelicals.
Application: The Redemptive Potential of Business as mission
Poverty is holistic in nature and consists of not only economic poverty but social, political and spiritual poverty as well. The solution to holistic poverty must be the holistic and transforming message of shalom. Business as mission is a response both to the mandate of stewardship over creation as well as the mandate of the great commission to all nations. It is a response to the immense spiritual and physical needs of the world and its application is displayed on many levels:
(a) Business Restores Dignity and Empowers
Business restores dignity through creating employment, through righteous and equal treatment in relationships and through empowerment.
God intends that none of His creation be idle (unemployed) and unproductive. To not be able to work, to not be creative and to be unable to help and support oneself and one’s family leads to a loss of dignity as a human being. Businesses that create employment are part of God’s redemptive plan and process. However, employment should not be the sole target. We need to empower people through training, mentorship, personal development, and ownership, so that people can improve themselves, their communities and their societies. This will in turn lead to better jobs and the starting of their own businesses. This is in line with God’s purpose and our mission to restore human dignity, to create jobs, and to start and develop businesses. Christian entrepreneurs from every church, city and nation must be affirmed in this task.
God also expects fair treatment to be modelled in our businesses; He rejects underpayment, harsh treatment and poor working conditions. He rejects unfair wages to workers and exorbitant prices to consumers. God rejects any form of exploitation and unjust treatment of one social group by another and/or one individual by another.
Business can empower and set people free economically, socially and politically: Economic transformation is about people having relative abundance and participating in wealth generation. Social transformation is about having enough income to acquire goods and services through exchange. To have access and adequate means for food, housing, education, water, health, transportation etc. People who are both economically and socially strong in turn tend to be politically stronger. Work and business enables dignity, self-confidence, production, wealth generation and increase which are the keys to social transformation.
(b) Business Provides the Context for Discipleship
Business is about relationships with others: employers and employees, buyers and sellers, producers and consumers, suppliers and distributors. This creates a whole arena where those who know Christ can share their faith and witness to those who do not know Him. Christians in business become ‘salt and light’ to people in their working places since discipleship is demonstrating the ways of God through the course of every day relationships. God is glorified when Christian business people: work as unto the Lord; fearing God; by hating dishonest gain, corruption and nepotism; love and respect others; demonstrate Christian values (showing integrity, stewardship, accountability etc.), by sharing the gospel in word and deed.
Business is a recognised institution in society that brings credibility to relationships with the community as a whole. Thus business brings opportunities to influence and disciple the wider society through the relationships it brings. The individual or company becomes ‘salt and light’ to the community (or nation) in the marketplace.
(c) Business Promotes Environmental Stewardship
Business can also intentionally promote better environmental stewardship. Business continually involves different relationships with nature. Business relates to stewardship through decisions regarding the types and locations of products fabricated and services rendered, of production methods, of types of resources used, and of the disposal of waste.
(d) Business is Able to Reinforce Peace and Community
Businesses contribute to society in three distinct ways: through their primary business activities; their community or social investment activities; and in their participation in public policy discourse. Engaging in any of these three can contribute to community stability and conflict prevention. A business might also promote peace and community by having workers from different backgrounds working together for a common purpose.
The private business community in general is a potential resource that could be enlisted to reduce the incidence, severity, frequency, and effects of conflict. The idea of peace and community should permeate all business activity.
(e) Business Can Strengthen the Church
Business strengthens the Church in general. The more people are engaged in productive work, the more the local church is strengthened to do its work. Increased revenue and organisational capacity enable the church to broaden its role and strengthen its relevance and impact both in the community and globally.
Believers living in poverty or in areas of endemic unemployment especially need businesses. Otherwise they are excluded from economic and social opportunities. They become bereft of influence or the ability to be salt and light in their community. They become salt that has lost its saltiness, offering little or no good news in societies that are already cold or hostile to Christian faith.
(f) Business Facilitates Going ‘To All Peoples’
Christians are welcomed into even hostile or closed communities/countries when they bring the prospect of business and economic advantage. This must be done honestly and not just as an entry strategy to do “real spiritual ministry” or as a clandestine cover for unlawful evangelisation. By being salt and light and ambassadors of the blessings of Christ through business and its positive impact on society, Christian business people will ultimately lead people to seek God.
The Glory of God through Business as mission
In his theological reflections on business, Wayne Grudem1 begins by explaining how business has been neglected as a way to glorify God:
When people hear the phrase “glorifying God,” it probably first implies worship – singing praise to God and giving thanks to him. Then it might suggest evangelism – glorifying God by telling others about him. It might even suggest giving – glorifying God by contributing money to evangelism, to building up the church and to the needs of the poor. Or it might suggest moral living – acting in a way that honours God. Finally, [it] might suggest a life of faith – depending on God in prayer and in our daily attitudes of heart. These five…are certainly appropriate ways to glorify God. But they are not my focus in this book. Instead of these things, I want to look at business in itself – not just the ways business can contribute to work the church is already doing.”
Grudem then goes on to highlight how various aspects of business can glorify God, such as ownership, employment, profit, commercial transactions and the effect of business on world poverty.
Our conclusion is that business can glorify God in numerous ways, both directly (of itself), as particularly highlighted by Wayne Grudem, and indirectly, as highlighted in the section above. Our specific task here is to show how business is part of the missio Dei and therefore a full and valid expression of the mission of the Body of Christ to the ends of the earth.
In Jesus’ parable of the talents, the servants were commended for investing their financial “talents” and receiving back an honest return for their Master and His domain (Matthew 25.14-30). Today, Christians with business talents are called to invest their assets and abilities into the kingdom of God. By giving finances to missions and charities, of course; but more so by giving themselves, their experience, their know- how, their business acumen, etc. to establish the kingdom of God both locally in their own region and nation, but also to the remotest parts of the earth (Acts 1.8).
Business as mission is an act of co-creation in imitation of God and hence a response to the Creation Mandate. It is Good News in itself and hence an inseparable part of the Great Commission. Kingdom building is about wealth generation and spiritual transformation. As such Business as mission should be viewed not only within the narrow church-mission-business perspective but also within the wider macro perspective of sustainable transformational development consisting of abundance, empowerment, character and service in which people break loose from the shackles of a world bound by abject poverty.
1 Wayne Grudem, Business for the Glory of God: The Bible’s Teaching on the Moral Goodness of Business (Crossway, 2003), 12.
The Present Context for Business as Mission, Opportunities and Challenges
A Global Movement Gathering Momentum
Business as mission does not represent a new paradigm in itself, but is part of a broader paradigm shift that recognises the holistic nature of missio Dei, and affirms all vocations. The evangelical church is learning how to more effectively declare the Gospel in its fullness.
We are recapturing the biblical vision of the Body of Christ, breaking through doctrinal errors and historical barriers which have resulted in the false dichotomies that have stifled the Church’s full impact in society. These dichotomies of the sacred versus the secular and the role of the clergy at the exclusion of the laity are being dismantled. Luther and Calvin helped us understand that every believer’s vocation is means of glorifying God. But it is only in more recent years that we have begun to understand the full potential and value of this doctrine as it relates to cross-cultural mission.
At the Lausanne Congress held in 1974, several emerging world church leaders sounded the cry for the evangelical church to engage in more than mere proclamation of the gospel. They called for a fully-orbed demonstration of the Gospel. Statements from Congresses in Lausanne in 1974 and Pattaya in 1980 reflect this clarion call. By this reckoning we are about one generation into the needed worldview shift. Many activities have gained full acceptance by the evangelical community including relief and development, workplace ministries, micro-finance efforts, business training, and so forth. But these have typically been carried out as non-profit activities.
Since the early 1990’s there has been a growing ‘Business as mission’ movement among the laity which is being expressed in various ways. There have been many international, regional and national Business as mission gatherings. Articles and books are being published, websites have developed and academic institutions are including Business as mission courses in their curricula.
However, for-profit businesses, especially those that are multinational in scope, are still treated with a high degree of ambivalence, scepticism and even hostility within the church at large. This explains why many feel that the Business as mission movement is at the very beginning of a paradigm shift. It is more accurate to say that Business as mission is at the tail end of a broader shift taking place within the church as a fuller understanding of holistic mission matures.
There is obvious potential for business people to play a more active role in taking the gospel cross-culturally. We cannot ignore the global reality and the need to release kingdom business strategies that have power to bring about deep and lasting spiritual, social and economic transformation. We are faced with both significant opportunities as well as challenges.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” Luke 4.18-19, NIV
Opportunities for Business as mission
(a) A World in Need
About 50% of the world’s population lives on less that US$ 2 a day. That represents a staggering number of over 2.8 billion people. Of these, 1.2 billion live on US$ 1 a day. Imagine a population twice the size of the USA, Canada, Mexico and Brazil combined, where each person exists on $1 a day. In addition to poverty, there are the devastating effects of disease that plague the poorest nations. At the end of 2002, an estimated 42 million people around the world were living with HIV/AIDS. 30 million of these people live in Sub Saharan Africa. This is further aggravated by a disparity whereby the richest 20% of the world’s population own approximately 80% of the world’s wealth; whilst the poorest 20% own approximately 1%. There is a tragic correlation between poverty, disease and unemployment.
There is also a devastating link between lack of jobs and a variety of social ills. Human trafficking stands out as one of the most heinous. Trafficking is the term used for modern-day slavery and describes the act of the enslavement of a man, woman or child. Traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to hold their victims against their will. Women and children are often trafficked being forced into prostitution. A root cause of trafficking is unemployment. Christians in business can and must address this.
30 years ago, the South East Asian countries were economic nobodies. Their economies were based on low priced commodities. Japanese companies started setting up manufacturing plants and were welcomed with open arms by the Asian governments. Why? Because jobs and training were provided for the population and new technologies were shared that allowed these nations to compete at a global level.
Within a few years, enterprising Asians, trained by the Japanese, began starting their own plants. Today the largest chip manufacturers are in Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia and are all locally owned. While Japanese companies did not have a social transformational agenda when they invested in Asia, nevertheless it demonstrates powerfully how enterprise can alleviate poverty.
I believe the only long-term solution to world poverty is business. That is because businesses produce goods, and businesses produce jobs. And businesses continue producing goods year after year, and continue providing jobs and paying wages year after year. Therefore if we are ever going to see long-term solutions to world poverty, I believe it will come through starting and maintaining productive, profitable business.
Wayne Grudem – Business for the Glory of God, Crossway 2003
(b) The Limitations of Aid and Development Strategies
Traditionally development agencies have focussed on providing aid to poor countries as a means of tackling poverty. While aid and disaster relief remain important, governments and NGO’s have recognised that aid alone is insufficient to alleviate the problem of endemic poverty. Development projects have an important role to play in education, caring for the vulnerable, skills training and community- based enterprise such as handicraft development and subsistence farming. But these are rarely self-sustaining projects. Many such projects run out of support after a while. One of the problems with aid is the need to keep asking donors for repeated support. In many cases donor fatigue eventually sets in. When funding is withdrawn, the “false market” that the local population depended upon is exposed when it disappears. This is tragic and creates more problems than were solved.
Investing in sustainable businesses creates employment and therefore true economic development for these countries. Real employment gives people dignity and a self determination that can transform their community. This is in contrast to the dependency culture that is often engendered by aid. To alleviate poverty people need a ‘hand-up not a hand-out’. The poor want real jobs, not subsidised ones. This is the cry for dignity and self-reliance that they deserve.
We should develop a kind of work and production – intellectual or physical – whose aim is “to become profitable” in order to serve human life.
(c) A Holistic Development Approach
There is an increasing recognition of the need for and benefits of a sustainable holistic approach by mission agencies, development agencies and businesses. Christians can participate and should contribute in these arenas. We should set the trends and standards by further developing the concepts and practical applications of Business as mission. We should aim at working with “all people of good will”.
Henry Ford once said: “A business that only makes money is a poor kind of business”. Most businesses exist solely to make a profit for their shareholders. That is what is referred to as the financial bottom line. Business as mission looks beyond a financial bottom line to a ‘multiple bottom line’; taking into account financial, social, spiritual and environmental returns.
Economics is a fundamental sphere in the process of social development and without it human existence could not be feasible. From a scriptural perspective, human life should be orientated by specific values, the values of the kingdom of God. Therefore, any aspect of social life must be evaluated in the light of such criteria.
The world is changing. Our way of being and doing church and missions needs to change as well.
During the past 2000 years, many Christians have sought effective means and opportunities to glorify God among all peoples. During the past 200 years, areas such as health and education have opened doors to serve in various communities. The uniting of business with missions is nothing new. The Nestorians, the Moravians, William Carey, the Basel Mission, various Catholic and monastic orders, have all used business in various ways for the expansion of Christianity; albeit not without complications.
However, due to unprecedented changes resulting from rapid globalisation, business (as in the ‘Business as mission’ concept) is primed to take centre stage in the evangelisation and discipleship of the peoples of the world. Just as the Pax Romana created a favourable environment for the rapid expansion of the early Church, so globalisation has done so today. We need to recognise that globalisation has two sides; it can be used for benevolent economic development, but it can also be used for exploitation.
Business is globalising. It extends from international financial transactions to the availability of real-time information and branded products, anywhere, anytime. We buy American products made in the Philippines. We call a local number and speak to a call centre across the world. Culture is also becoming globalised. You see Coca-Cola bill boards in the jungles of Africa and Latin-America. CNN brings fragmented news-bites to every corner of the world. In a distant corner of Siberia you can watch MTV while drinking Swedish vodka.
The church is also experiencing the effects of globalisation through multidimensional missions; the church from everywhere going to everywhere.
The increasingly easy transfer of, and access to, finance, technology and information offers the Church an unprecedented opportunity to disciple the nations through starting new businesses. With the collapse of communism, almost all governments are seeking business development and inward investment since they are in need of these resources for economic growth.
(e) Business is Welcome
There are many doors that are closed to “professional” Christians, traditional missionaries and Christian workers, but there is not a single country in the world that would not welcome business and investment. It meets real needs. It provides job opportunities as well as training. It helps countries to develop not only economically, but also in other ways through the development of a middle class, increased tax revenue, more skilled labour force and so forth. In traditional missions one talks about “closed countries” and “restricted access countries”, but there are no closed doors for real business people doing real business. Governments around the world welcome real business!
(f) Business is Influential
We must not underestimate the power of business. Its potential to have a major impact both on individuals and communities is huge. This potential can be positive or negative.
There is a wonderful web of relationships that comes with business and enterprise. This is a gift that should not be despised. Christians who enter business have the unique opportunity to positively touch and impact the lives of influential people who can leverage resources.
A key Christian leader in a major Muslim country said: “The modus operandi of professional Christians (e.g. missionaries) is not culturally natural and certainly not sustainable or reproducible. Business as mission is about being real and having natural relationships, participating in peoples’ lives through work and business, being salt and light.”
Especially in Muslim countries there is an ever growing suspicion of foreigners who seem to be “in country” without a legitimate purpose. This makes building even the most casual relationships strained because of an insufficient answer to the question, “What do you do?”
Business as mission can be the platform to foster a workplace environment where Christian principles and ethics can be introduced and demonstrated as the standard. In Uganda, a management consulting company, founded on biblical principals and truths, seeks to develop leadership and management skills in the arenas of both business and government. In the nine years the company has been in existence, it has established influence with business leaders, not only in Uganda, but in 12 other African countries.
When Jesus gave the Great Commission, He said “as you are in the process of going – disciple”. This grammatical construction implies that as you are in the process of your normal (business) life, you should naturally disciple the nations. It is true that a fully devoted businessperson has time constraints but then so do the people we are seeking to influence.
(g) Business Releases Untapped Resources for Building the Church
The task before us is quite challenging and includes the need to create jobs, new business start ups, access venture capital, business know-how, access to markets, and clear business ethics. Drawing on the same existing resources for traditional missions will not be enough. However, there are thousands of people in churches world-wide, with the right skill-sets, experiences and contacts that can make a significant difference cross-culturally through Business as mission. Mobilising, deploying, equipping and supporting them effectively will release untapped resources for the mission of the Church.
All countries and cultures have entrepreneurial people. These business people (or potential ones) hold some of the most critical keys to practically demonstrate the kingdom of God. This is most essential in areas of the world where the name of Jesus is rarely heard, and if heard often misunderstood. Christians with a calling and gifting for business should be affirmed and encouraged.
Where there is no indigenous church, Business as mission can be a powerful part of the strategic plan for church planting. Church planting and business planting can go together hand in hand.
Kingdom businesses provide the local church and new disciples with models that they can easily understand and replicate. A new believer can relate to and learn from someone who is working out their Christianity in daily work life just like them. To the local church, the principle of empowerment, sustainability and multiplication is modelled rather than dependency. In turn new Christian business people are affirmed, strengthened and released to serve God and His kingdom through business.
Challenges to Business as mission
(a) A Slow Paradigm Shift in Worldview Among Christians
We are in the midst of a significant paradigm shift in the thinking of the evangelical Christian community. Paradigm shifts do NOT happen over night, it is a long process, usually taking a generation or more.
The issue of the sacred – secular dichotomy has surfaced again and again in our research and discussions. It is a major internal challenge which the Church and the Business as mission movement must face.
In order to begin to understand the hindrances that may deter the effectiveness of the Business as mission model in Africa, one needs to appreciate the way Christianity was initially introduced to Africa. Early missionaries presented Christianity to Africans as a great dichotomy between the ‘spiritual’ and ‘secular’.
Every paradigm is developed and upheld by a certain terminology. This applies to the thinking behind the sacred – secular dichotomy. It is seen in phrases like “full time ministry” and “real ministry”. It is very easy to profess a belief in a new paradigm (such as a seamlessly integrated holistic worldview) but then continue to use old paradigm language or misapply new terms to an old paradigm.
The word ‘holistic’ may be used, but dichotomised thinking may be the underlying foundation. This results in pseudo-holism. In the bible, we see an integrated holism and not two parts (physical and spiritual) awkwardly tacked together. There is no hierarchy with spiritual things at the top, and physical things at the bottom. They are not separated realms with different values attached.
We do not want to simply add “business” to the social action agenda of the church. We can not simply regard business as a useful tool for meeting people’s physical needs. There is a deeper need for a paradigm shift where the sacred and secular become integrated as in the biblical worldview. Discipleship and transformation should address the whole person seeking practical applications in the market place.
There are already many Christian organisations that are working in the area of community development. In some cases, this has involved establishing programmes of micro finance, co-operative societies, etcetera. All these, without a doubt, contribute significantly to sustainable development in poor communities. However, in a few cases this has become an ‘end’ in itself. The danger is that a reluctance sometimes develops to fully share the Christian faith, and the social activity alone is considered a sufficient testimony of faith. The result can be a successful programme, business or organisation, but one which is not focused on making the gospel of Christ fully known. We must be aware of similar pitfalls in the practice of business as mission and take steps to avoid them.
(b) The Stigma of Business and the Passivity of the Laity
In many parts of the global church the vocation of business has a real stigma. This is largely a result of the pervasive Christian worldview that elevates the ‘spiritual’ realm above the material realm.
In many church bodies, the Christian business community has been effectively minimised, or even marginalised, by what Dr. R. Paul Stevens has described as the unbiblical spiritual hierarchy of vocations2. Diagram 1 represents the pyramid that so many in the church are seeking to climb. Each step of the way supposedly gets you closer to becoming more spiritual. Subconsciously many believe that God is more pleased or satisfied with the service of those in the upper sections, those known as “professional” clergy. Unfortunately, for many, lawyers and politicians don’t seem to even make the chart!
A closely related problem to this ingrained church culture is the underlying assumption that the clergy are the ones that minister and the laity are relatively passive. Pastors may find it difficult to affirm and release (or even relate to!) leaders in other spheres of ‘real’ life.
Caring Professions (teacher, social worker, medical)
Business, Engineering, IT Professionals
Many today hold the traditional mission paradigm as sacred because it is the ultimate demonstration of devotion! I mean really, if you are a “missionary” in a remote part of the world you must have made the ultimate sacrifice and your entire life is given to the spiritual pursuit of God and the proclamation of the Gospel. However, when I read about many pioneer missionaries, most believed in a holistic approach and made incredible strides to bring about economic development to the communities where they served. At some point the shift was made and those who were sent to the field only had the background of a Bible school education instead of any other kind of work skills. That instilled into the life of the new convert that the most ‘spiritual’ people were not found in the business world, but rather were full time professional Christians.
This false hierarchy can be reinforced by different cultural factors around the globe. For instance, in some cultures hard work is frequently seen as a punishment from God as a result of the fall. Therefore the underlying theological framework does little to challenge this misconception and there is little effort made to address the value of work, productivity or sustainability.
2 R. Paul Stevens, “The Other Six Days: Vocations, Work and Ministry,” in Biblical Perspectives, 1999.
Making a profit or taking an income from business activity is also regarded with widespread suspicion in the mission community and in many churches. Money is seen as a necessary evil and one should not try to make more of it than necessary. As a result, business is often regarded as corrupt and evil at worst and at best, a necessary but distasteful activity (made more acceptable if you are known by the clergy to tithe regularly or to contribute substantially to the building campaign).
In India the perception towards business is often negative in the Christian community. So when a business person becomes a Christian, often the person quits their job to be considered ‘more spiritual’.
How then will business people be affirmed in their vocation to integrate their faith with their daily working life? How will they believe that their gifts and experience have potential to make a powerful impact on their communities, nations and to the ends of the earth? This is particularly crucial in nations where Christian entrepreneurs and business people are most needed because of rampant unemployment and the existence of corrupt and unjust cultural systems and institutions in need of reform.
In Latin America, there is an issue when talking about ascribing the same value for all vocations. I still see a sort of discrimination against those with skill/training in business and management taking leadership within Christian ministries and the Church. For instance, the seminaries are reluctant to accept those with MBAs to take leadership posts in administration. We still see theologians doing that. It reminds me of the time the pastors wouldn’t accept a Christian psychologist to serve in Christian counselling. Praise the Lord, those years are gone, and now we need to accept that those skilled in business and management should lead and use their gifts in ministries of every kind.
(c) Tensions in Coupling Business and Mission
There are inherent tensions when you couple together business goals and ‘mission’ goals. Some of these we will explore in later chapters. However, it is worth mentioning that historic examples exist where enterprise has been closely associated with the advancement of the gospel but has resulted in confusion and exploitation. These are reasons why some express mistrust and reservation.
We need to have a healthy critique of past and present practices, without discarding the fact that business has potential power for good. We need to recognise the dangers and pitfalls and examine how to avoid them.
We must not be naïve regarding the drawbacks of globalisation and the flip side of unrestricted capitalism. Trade barriers set up by the US, EU and Japan (to name but a few) represent major hindrances for fair and free trade. The West professes free trade but practises a form of protectionism. Examples of this can be seen in the form of the farm subsidies of the EU and Canada, as well as steel tariffs of the USA. A level playing field in the area of international trade is a mirage. Business as mission does not operate in a vacuum and there is a need for Christians in law and politics, as well as business, to address these issues.
(e) Lack of Affirmation and Equipping
It is doubtful if a reform of international trading laws on its own will automatically stimulate fair and free trade. Unless local people are effectively trained, encouraged and supported to get into business, they will be unable to benefit from the immense potential that domestic and foreign trade has to offer. One of the biggest needs is to impart the Business as mission vision with practical support and training.
In some regions there may be a lack of involvement in business by Christians, or at best hesitant involvement, due to the stigma attached to business already described. However, there are often other reasons why people fail to be involved. These include: the lack of good models, lack of a business driven mind within the culture, inadequate awareness of sound business principles, lack of professional proposals for the development of viable projects, lack of access to adequate capital and investment, lack of good networks and support and so on.
One of the reasons for these factors is the immaturity of the Business as mission movement. There is a felt need for developing support networks, disseminating good models, learning and moving on from past failures, making good business training available, developing funding, accountability and mentoring mechanisms and in general enabling the entrepreneurs in each nation.
(f) Spiritual Opposition
Business people should not automatically blame their failure on Satan if they have neglected to apply sound business practice or failed to factor in the normal vagaries of business life. One hindrance to starting sustainable kingdom businesses has been the over-spiritualization of business operations so that good business principles are too often ignored.
From personal experience and from the experience of about ten other Business as mission – business owners I work with on a regular basis, we know that the spiritual warfare is serious. We know that the redemption of souls and resources at the same time is something the enemy will not allow to happen without trying to deal a few serious blows.
We should not ignore that any disciple walking in his or her true calling walks into battle on a spiritual plane. The full armour of God and a spiritual alertness ‘with all prayer and petition’ (Ephesians 6:18) are basic requirements for the kingdom business person.
(g) Difficult Conditions for Business
Many countries that are in the greatest need of transformation also represent hostile environments for business. Corruption, intimidation and economic or political instability make it challenging for any business to survive.
Most business investors would normally not invest in some of the places that Jesus has called us to venture. That is why it is even more important that we provide those called to start businesses in these difficult places with the support that they need. We need to look at creative solutions to the fact that low returns on investment are inherent in these difficult places. To create a better business environment in these challenging locations, it is crucial that we work with those called to transform legal, political, educational spheres and with those relief and development entities that form the vanguard.
It takes time to lay a solid Business as mission foundation, but its importance must not be neglected. There is a tremendous opportunity to reach into hostile or “closed countries” and to minister to those most in need through Business as mission. It requires more than simply sending skilled, equipped and devoted businessmen and women to these places. It requires more than simply affirming national entrepreneurs that God will use to transform their communities. It will require on-going partnering, support and encouragement until there is a sustainable and profitable business venture. Even then, our ‘kingdom goal’ is not simply that these new businesses grow, become profitable and reproduce; but that they have a lasting impact on the social, spiritual, material and environmental aspects of their society.
Part II: Business as mission in Practice
10 Guiding Principles
Having identified Business as mission (BAM) as an integral and vital part of the overall mission of the Church, it is important to identify those things that set Business as mission apart from “business as normal” (BAN). As the illustration below demonstrates, there are some complementary areas of overlap between the two. For example, a good Business as mission business will, by definition, have many of the characteristics of any well-run business. A kingdom business must be profitable and sustainable just as any other business. Integrity, fairness and excellent customer service are characteristics of any good business, not just a Business as mission venture. As such, those characteristics will not by themselves necessarily point people to Christ. A kingdom business begins with the foundation of any good business, but takes its stewardship responsibilities even further.
BUILDING BLOCKS OF A BUSINESS AS MISSION INITIATIVE / COMPANY
- BAN = ‘Business as Normal’ e. foundational business principles which apply to all business initiatives.
- BAM = ‘Business as mission’ e. essential distinctives of a BAM initiative.
Specific contexts will dictate how the business is built in practice.
This chapter will highlight the overarching principles that distinguish Business as mission from business as normal. It is important to note that the application of a principle will vary from context to context. For example, for spiritual guidance and accountability some companies have found it useful to have formal contractual relationships with churches or mission agencies. While this approach has merit, it is merely one of many ways to seek prayer support (Principle #8) and to maintain spiritual accountability (Principle #3). Thus we are intentionally avoiding the term “best practices”. The actual practices can vary according to the specific social, cultural, religious or economic context, but the “guiding principle” is the same.
In addition, the depth to which each principle is applied and its focus will vary from business to business. For example, one business might emphasis the need to create jobs in areas of endemic unemployment (related to Principle #3 & #4), whereas another might place more emphasis on coupling the business with a church planting strategy (also Principle #3 & #4).
What follows is a list of principles that should underpin a Business as mission business. This is divided into two sections. First we list the basic foundational principles that must exist in any good business. Following that are the principles that distinguish a good Business as mission business.
Foundational Business Principles
- Strives to be profitable and sustainable in the long
Profit is an indication that resources are being used wisely. It indicates that the product or service being produced and sold does so at a price that covers the cost of the resources, including the cost of capital. For most businesses, profits are fleeting, and never a sure thing. It is common for businesses to experience periods of low profit, and even negative profit. Thus it is important to take a long-term view of profitability. Occasional windfalls are often what will sustain a company through periods of financial losses. For that reason a well-managed business will use extreme care when considering whether and when to distribute profits. Profit, and its retention, is not necessarily an indication of greed.
- Strives for excellence, operates with integrity and has a system of accountability.
While it is possible for a disreputable business to make money by cutting corners, this is not a viable long-term business strategy. People eventually wise up, bad reputation spreads, and the company eventually goes out of business. Long term viability and success requires an unflinching commitment to excellence and a reputation for hard work, honesty and fairness. This is a basic law of economics, and holds true regardless of whether the company is owned by a Christian. There are standard business practices and benchmarks of excellence that no business, including a kingdom business, can afford to neglect. Furthermore, companies that are committed to doing business with excellence are transparent, and encourage criticism, feedback and accountability from employees and the local community.
Business as mission Distinctives
- Has a kingdom motivation, purpose and plan that is shared and embraced by the senior management and owners.
Good business practice alone will not by itself point people to Jesus. For that to happen the company must be more intentional. This begins with a plan, preferably a written one, which reflects the kingdom motivation and purpose of the business. By “kingdom motivation and purpose” we mean a desire to have a positive and lasting impact in the local community as well as the local church. The owners and managers are mindful of the fact that, while the business itself may not last indefinitely, the impact can be a lasting one. Furthermore, the spiritual priorities of the company are regularly communicated to employees and customers in a culturally sensitive way.
Example: The founder of a company established in Turkey left the multinational world to focus on developing a “Great Commission Company”. He wanted to do world-class business while facilitating church planting work in the 10-40 Window. He deliberately focused on Turkey as one of the “largest unreached nations on earth” and intentionally moved to a small city in a region of Turkey with 1.5 million people and no church. His business and community involvement have given him the opportunity to speak the good news to his employees and others in the community that might never have otherwise heard the gospel.
Example: The initial goal of Evangelistic Commerce was to generate funds for mission agencies. It was soon realised that much more could be done to spread the gospel. Now with over 60 employees, the company holds daily prayers attended by Christians, Hindus and Muslims and has bi-weekly Bible studies. The company is able to emphasise personal care for employees and actively demonstrate the love of Jesus through the leadership of Christian managers. Beyond being salt and light within the company, management has helped form two churches and a Christian elementary school.
4. Aims at holistic transformation of individuals and communities.
In line with its kingdom motivation, the business will leverage every opportunity to bring spiritual, social, economic or environmental benefits to the community at large. The company is a relevant force within the community, and respected by the local leaders. It seeks to be, if at all possible, at peace with all stakeholders and conducts itself in a socially responsible, culturally appropriate way. The company sets a high moral standard for itself, and is not content merely adhering to the minimum requirements of the law. It also avoids producing products or services that are harmful, or are perceived as harmful or sinful in some cultures.
Example: A company in Asia has found that through its business activities the majority of employees in the business have accepted Christ and many local people have been influenced by the gospel. New companies have been started in remote places and resulted in new churches be established as well. In addition, many employees are actively investing time to influence their communities. The government has given the business awards for their activities and as a consequence, those in the business have had a chance to model right living before officials and become a positive influence in their region.
Example: A successful Costa Rican healthcare enterprise Clínica Bíblica has partnered with other ministries with similar objectives. It works in strategic partnership with Roblealto Children’s Ministry whose mission is to minister to the spiritual and physical needs of Costa Rican children from difficult situations. This mission is closely aligned with its own healing ministry through business. Clínica Bíblica uses its medical expertise to meet the medical needs of Roblealto children and benefits by ministering to children they would not otherwise meet.
5. Seeks the holistic welfare of employees
The company sets a high standard in the way it treats its employees. An ongoing effort is made to make the work and working conditions as safe and pleasant as possible. Employees are treated with dignity, and are given opportunities for personal and professional growth. The value of the family is upheld.
Example: Being able to work at home provides weavers in the “D company” with the flexibility to attend to other responsibilities such as family, field work and other jobs. Women, often excluded from many aspects of business life, can freely and equally participate in making rugs.
Example: After experiencing periods of neglecting both God and family because of business pressures, TRP Limited instituted a plan and accountability structures for rest and renewal. Current practices include one day per week to pray and plan for business, church and family needs.
6. Seeks to maximise the kingdom impact of its financial and non-financial resources.
The managers and owners recognise that God is ultimately the owner of the company. As such, they focus on how to maximise the kingdom impact of the company. For some companies, they donate money to other ministries. Other companies may have less financial freedom, but will contribute to the advancement of God’s kingdom in other ways, such as through employee development programs, the management of its supply chain and so forth. A word of caution is appropriate here. Some people feel strongly that corporations should tithe from their profits. We prefer a less legalistic approach for two reasons. First, as pointed out in Principle #1, it is sometimes more appropriate to retain profits. Second, some people will be tempted to think that tithing fulfils their Business as mission obligation and they will not aggressively seek other ways to use their company for Christ. Generosity is good, but more importantly, the managers and owners should take a holistic view of Business as mission, and how to integrate a business and mission strategy.
Example: The D weaving company started as a job creation project, targeting the economic, spiritual and personal welfare of the villages in which it works. More than a decade after its founding, this commitment had outgrown the initial project and produced an additional commitment to founding schools. Today D company supports more than ten schools, which have impacted over 600 families in 100 villages. It has also helped finance the construction of several churches in the surrounding villages.
Example: Clínica Bíblica uses its surplus income to support its many dependent community ministries. The network to which it belongs uses its combined income to subsidise the medical care of all needy patients. They divide income into three: one third towards building and maintenance costs, one third towards medical equipment and one third to fund other medical or social action ministries.
7. Models Christ-like, servant leadership, and develops it in others.
Managers of Business as mission businesses lead by example, and reflect Christ by serving others. Furthermore, they mentor and disciple others through word and deed. Questions about faith and its relevance are encouraged, and handled in a contextually appropriate way. Decisions are checked against the question of “What would Jesus do in this situation?” Managers meet regularly for prayer, and employees are encouraged to do the same. Employees, customers, and other stakeholders are prayed for by name on a regular basis. In some cases, a spiritual mentor (such as a local pastor) is retained by the company for the purpose of emotional and spiritual care of employees.
Example: The founder of a company in Asia shares: “Our employees learn from us that service to our customers is the foundation of our business. In fact, being willing to serve is an eternal value. Business is God’s training ground to teach us to serve.”
Example: In the BA company in South East Asia they have been learning about living the Gospel. John relates: “The Lord was showing me the power of discipling people in the workplace. Where do Christians spend most time? Where will character flaws show up? Is this in church on Sunday or in the weekday workplace? Therefore, where should people be discipled? In many church meetings the Word is only spoken. In the workplace it must be lived and Christian discipleship modelled in response to real challenges.”
8. Intentionally implements ethical Christ-honouring practice that does not conflict with the gospel.
Kingdom businesses operate on moral and ethical principles of the Bible. These can be followed by all business people to their benefit. Kingdom businesses are enterprises whose purpose are to produce goods and to perform services that accomplish God’s will on earth as revealed and proclaimed in the Bible. They intentionally apply Christ’s teaching to their business life and practice. They ensure accountability systems that address areas of ethics and Christ-likeness. They carefully evaluate their goods and services to ensure they do not conflict with the message of the gospel.
Example: Adhering to Christ-honouring business ethics has limited some financially profitable business opportunities for TRP Limited in Central Asia. Fluctuating bureaucratic and economic conditions and instances of corruption have added to the challenges of doing profitable business in an ethical manner. The founder has support from a Christian mentor and a network of like-minded business people in Central Asia. He also understands that an abundant prayer life and deep knowledge of God and His word are NOT optional if one wants to do effective spiritual work in the business world.
9. Is pro-active in intercession and seeks the prayer support of others.
Managers and owners seek prayer support from others and maintain open lines of communication with those prayer supporters. Satan will do everything possible to sabotage the kingdom goals of the company, so specific attention must be given to spiritual warfare. Pro-active intercession for the business is integral to the leadership of the company.
Example: In the beginning of the business, the founder of a company in Asia was not prepared for the degree of spiritual warfare he encountered. He didn’t intentionally focus on prayer, either by himself or with the few believers he knew. As time went on he determined that ‘prayer is work’ and through prayer as well as organising others to join him, he began to see results. He has found that systematically having someone praying for each employee each day was the best investment that he could have ever made.
10. Seeks to harness the power of networking with like-minded organisations.
As the proverb states: two are better than one and a three-strand cord is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Companies that are networked can be a powerful force. Often multiple organisations (for-profit or non-profit) can accomplish more for the Kingdom by working together than by working separately. Good Kingdom businesses seek out those relationships and are open to serving other organisations that have similar goals.
Example: The founder of TRP Limited has been involved in setting up a loose network of about 200 people within a Central Asian country, and another 50 outside of the country, who are interested in pursuing kingdom business in that country. A web site is being set up to facilitate networking and to encourage believers doing business in that country.
Example: From 1991 to 1993, AMI averaged sales of over $10 million per year and currently have equity in nine operations in East Asia. From this position of strength AMI has established strategic alliances with more than 15 non-profit agencies to do education, development and church-planting work among local East Asian and Muslim communities. In each company the Great Commission (GC) strategy co-ordinator, networks with local church leaders and creates strategies related to evangelism, discipleship and church planting. Expatriates are spiritually accountable to a church or mission agency, and have contracts that describe and specify their job descriptions and working terms.
Our aim here has been to offer a set of guiding principles for those who wish to put Business as mission into practice. This is not a definitive list and will no doubt be refined through collective experience; however, these points offer a starting point. The principles were drawn out from the Issue Group’s own knowledge and experience of best practices. Case studies submitted especially for this paper as well as others existing literature were also used. Case studies that most fully reflected the principles were then chosen as examples. Some of these can be found in full in Chapter 5 and Appendix C. For further reading on existing Business as mission ventures as well as other examples of best practice, please see the Resource Directory in Appendix F. In particular the books: On Kingdom Business, by Yamamori & Eldred, Great Commission Companies, by Rundle & Steffen, and Transform the World by Swarr & Nordstrom are especially helpful and instructive in this regard.
The purpose of this chapter is to tell some Business as mission stories. These cases will give the reader an idea of what Business as mission really looks like in practice.
The style and depth of application of the key Business as mission principles will vary, sometimes dramatically, from context to context. The particular methods and strategies used must be diverse and creative depending on each business, its primary focus and context. These short stories show how these principles can manifest themselves in different practices and priorities of the business. They show how often the principles were learned by trial and error. They show that principles were sometimes applied intentionally and in other cases unintentionally.
These stories are included to give the reader a taste of the different ‘flavours’ of Business as mission that we can learn from and be inspired by. Two additional cases can be found in Appendix C.
(a) Company Background
“Michael”, the founder of “TRP Limited” moved to a Central Asian Republic in 1997 after working 13 years in the medical sector. He was motivated by his passion to see a reproducing and self-sustaining church movement there. The prayer guide Operation World calls this country the “largest unreached nation” on earth. In a population of 71 million, there are only about 2,400 national Christians in about 75 small congregations.
Michael first opened a liaison office for medical equipment imports. Then in 2000, while on a trip to his home country, he met the owners of a large, global, food trading company. The CEO was sympathetic to Michael’s Christian vision, and because the company wanted to expand its business, agreed to train and mentor him as a food and agricultural products buying agent. Using $110,000 in private capital, Michael and his wife established TRP Limited in 2001 as a trading and consulting company.
The learning curve was very steep, but Michael was able to find a Christian mentor who had extensive international business and trade experience.
In only their first season, TRP Limited accounted for over 20% of the bottled extra virgin olive oil exports to the U.S., sold in some 7,000 stores in 30 states. They have developed their own brand that with a distinct “natural, healthy and fair-trade” emphasis. TRP Limited’s other work includes having a consulting role with a large importer of edible nuts into China, negotiating a contract with a Fortune 500 company in the area of renewable energy, as well as other food and agricultural projects.
(b) Description of Specific Business as mission Practices
Michael was the only foreign speaker at a national Food Symposium in his sector. His work has given him the opportunity to speak on television and to be written up in the most popular national business newspapers. His role in the business community led to Michael being asked to serve as the secretary of a national Community Association in his city.
Michael’s business and community involvement have given him the opportunity to share the good news with his employees and others in the community. His real life experience in the business world has enabled him to have more empathy and authority in counselling work with those in the small church where he serves with two others as a non-paid pastor.
Michael is passionate to see more business people who are walking with Christ share the vision and play an active role in his and similar countries. On a voluntary basis, he has been involved in setting up a loose network of about 200 believers and another 50 outside of the country, who are interested in pursuing business in that country. Business educators and students, as well as experienced business people have made short term visits to assist. Several “Business Consultations” have been held. A web site is being set up to facilitate networking and to encourage believers doing business
(c) Analysis of Company and Practices
The company is self-supporting, but the start up capital has not yet been repatriated.
Adhering to Christ-honouring business ethics has limited some opportunities for financially profitable business. Fluctuating bureaucratic and economic conditions and instances of corruption have added to the challenges of doing profitable business in an ethical manner. Michael hopes that recent reforms will improve the business environment as the country applies for EU membership.
(d) Lessons Learned
Be Customer and Market Centred: Without customers and effective ways to get the product to the market no company can survive. Marketing means “loving your customer as yourself.”
Sometimes Free Advice Can Be Valuable: Government, academic experts and mentors from the Christian business world will sometime give gratis assistance. Mentors can turn out to be people that we already know but whose business skills we have not previously valued.
Get Professional Help: Attorneys, accountants and consultants can be costly, but the mistakes that are made by not using them can be deadly.
Balance & Rest: After periodic periods of neglecting God and family because of the demands of the business, the need for accountability and a plan for rest and renewal became evident. Current practices include one day per week to walk in the hills or at the coast to listen to God, pray and plan for the business as well as church and family needs. An abundant prayer life and deep knowledge of God and His word are NOT optional if one wants to do effective spiritual work in the business world.
- is a Farstan weaving project providing jobs in villages around the second largest city in Farstan. It strives to empower the poor through village ownership of production assets and to provide education by supporting the development of schools in the villages.
Weaving is a traditional skill, but villagers wanting to work with D are trained in order to guarantee quality designs and workmanship. D provided looms for participating villagers to use in their homes. D also provides the raw materials for the artisans. Completing a weaving project might take several months so D makes partial payments to the producers to provide operating capital and family resources during the production process.
D is essentially a marketing organisation for the artisans targeting an international market and utilising an alternative trade organisation. This marketing strategy enables D to pay artisans effective wages significantly above the going market wage.
The enterprise has had multifaceted impact on the villages. In addition to more than doubling the income of the artisans, the company has helped to establish several schools. One school has 750 students of which over half are females. With sustainable income many are making long-lasting commitments to the village and doctors have returned to the villages they once abandoned, in the hope of making a lasting difference.
The enterprise also supports families. The flexibility afforded by placing the weaving looms in the artisans’ home allows villagers to attend to other responsibilities including family and field work. Women, often excluded from many aspects of business life, can now freely and equally participate in weaving.
Each village elects a head supervisor from among the workers. The supervisor is a resource to other weavers in the village. The village will collectively identify the specific needs of the community.
The weavers and supervisors find they relate to each other in ways they might never have experienced otherwise. A Muslim supervisor to a Christian worker ceases to be identified as Muslim; instead, they are friends and partners working for a common goal and the welfare of the entire village.
Tom Sudyk worked for 12 years in the law-enforcement field before beginning his career in business, starting and selling over 20 companies. In 1999, he went on a trip to India to assist a mission agency with a financial integrity issue. He became aware of the Indian government’s restrictions on foreign funds entering India particularly for Christian missions. Sudyk saw the opportunity to start a company in India to create funds for missions.
(b) Company Formation
After identifying an industry (medical transcription) and hiring a Christian Indian manager, Sudyk started a company in Chennai, India. He then secured a US medical transcription company as a customer and the business started operations in early 2000. The company’s initial capitalisation was approximately $150,000 with the business becoming profitable after two years. It has since expanded to include software development, data conversion and CAD (architectural drafting) design as well as a medical transcription training school.
(c) Company Ministry
The initial goal for the company was to generate funds for mission agencies. It was soon realised that much more could be done to spread the gospel. Now with over 60 employees, the company holds daily prayers attended by Christians, Hindus and Muslims and has bi-weekly Bible studies. The company is able to emphasise personal care for employees and actively demonstrate the love of Jesus through the leadership of Christian managers. Beyond being salt and light within the company, the company’s management has helped form two churches and a Christian elementary school.
The company has provided technical and financial assistance to a computer- training school for physically disabled individuals and hired several of their students.
(d) Replication – Next Generation
Sudyk recognised that American business students who felt called to Christian service/missions were encouraged to leave business school and enter theological training. He formed an NGO and began a college internship program to encourage business students to use the vehicle of global business for the spread the gospel into countries that are closed to traditional mission work. Currently the NGO works with over 200 Christian colleges and, through an alliance with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, a significant number of secular universities and MBA programs.
(e) Lessons Learned
It is easier to teach ministry to a businessperson than business to a mission person. They focus on good business practice and integrating ministry into the business rather than starting a mission and trying to posture it as a business. If the business thrives, so does ministry to its employees and community, all without foreign funding or donations.
In 1989 “Bob”, the company’s founder left the multinational corporate world to focus on developing Great Commission companies. He wanted to do world-class business while facilitating church-planting work in the 10-40 Window.
Bob bought a controlling interest in AMI, a consulting and manufacturing firm specialising in the technology sector. Within a few months, they had four employees. From 1991 to 1993, the company averaged sales of over $10 million per year in turn- key technologies in lighting and other high-automation manufacturing. They currently have equity in nine operations in East Asia.
The company has managed new factories in East Asia on behalf of publicly traded American companies, and has smaller manufacturing and representation offices in the Middle East and North Africa. The capitalisation for these manufacturing ventures is generally US$ 1-10 million, with AMI holding between 15 and 100 percent. They have established strategic alliances with more than 15 non-profit agencies to do education, development and church-planting work among local East Asian and in some sensitive communities.
The large investment of money and high technology gives them strong political leverage. East Asian governments generally welcome foreign manufacturers, especially those with larger capitalisation. When a company makes money and provide jobs for the local people, the government will not interfere unless the business is openly breaking the law or embarrassing the government (causing it to ‘lose face’).
Each of AMI’s operations has a Great Commission (GC) strategy co- ordinator, a spiritual entrepreneur and consultant who networks with local church leaders and creates strategies related to evangelism, discipleship and church planting. GCs are on the local company’s board of directors to ensure the presence of annual GC plans that are ambitious but culturally achievable. Such plans set goals, define purpose, and create synergy for maximum kingdom effectiveness.
AMI emphasises church-planting or ministry teams focused on cities or people groups. Expatriates are spiritually accountable to a church or mission agency, and have contracts that describe and specify their job descriptions and working terms.
Normally the team leader is not the general manager. Bob has found that standalone kingdom entrepreneurs are limited both in terms of finances and effectiveness. They need to be part of a team for accountability and encouragement. When AMI started working in a certain Central Asian Republic during the early 1990’s, the number of Muslims who were followers of Christ was fewer than 10. Within a few years, however, many employees were meeting for discipleship on a weekly basis with more than 80 people of the majority faith who are now followers of Jesus. This demonstrates the effectiveness of a team of kingdom professionals.
The management teams are multiethnic and multinational. This gives companies a broader network and provides more specialisation in skills to meet targets. In companies with only national employees, workers may struggle to communicate with multinational companies and have a limited business perspective.
Not all the managers are Christians, but most are GC-committed Christians and no key managers are antagonistic to the GC goals of the company. Salaries are based primarily on performance and not donor support. It is difficult for a manager to make good decisions not tied to his or her compensation. They do allow part-time non-nationals to receive compensation via non-profit groups.
AMI companies have significant export markets, which help to insulate against local corruption. They also provide political leverage as the government recognises that the companies bring profits from external markets that stimulate local economic growth.
Bob shares: “We are God’s fellow workers. We plant the seeds by using business, but God gives the growth”.
A manufacturing enterprise in Asia was started in 1988 with an idea, 5 employees, and $10,000 in capital. Within 15 years, the enterprise had grown to 350 employees, exports of $3,000,000 and $400,000 in profits.
(a) Early misunderstandings
The founder, “Jim,” had some early misunderstandings regarding the purpose of his business and good business practices. He thought that because he was doing “God’s work” that God would cut him some slack and not make him adhere to normal business laws that other successful business people follow. It took time for Jim to understand that business is a system that God has ordered by His laws and ordained in creation. To redeem it we must understand and operate within its “natural law”.
Jim assumed that the business was only a vehicle for something more important. He didn’t realise that people would connect his authenticity in business with authenticity in other things, including his words.
Pressures in the business that should have caused Jim to trust God more wore him down instead. He expected ministry to happen after work rather than through opportunities in business. He did not look to daily normal business activities as a means to disciple people. He missed opportunities. Jim admits he wasn’t prepared for the spiritual warfare he encountered. He didn’t do the work of praying well, either by himself or with the few believers he knew.
(b) Lessons learned through experience:
Jim learned that the system of ‘business’ is another of God’s creations. Learning the system is like getting to know Him. It is honourable, not worldly. The ‘world’s ways’ are attempts to short-circuit His system. Business was never meant to result in temporary reward, but always intended to create money and develop eternally valuable skills which gives us the chance to invest in other eternal things.
Prayer is important work and is the key to seeing results. Jim found that praying for people BY NAME, not by group, gave the most visible results. He mobilised many to join the prayer effort. Jim found that systematically having someone praying for each employee each day was the best investment he ever made.
Business is God’s training ground to teach us to serve. Look at management books and see what they say about serving. Service is a skill we will need to be able to put on our employment application in the New Jerusalem. Business allows us to practice it now! Jim realised that the events of the business day were the best place to disciple people. It is possible to see hundreds of people and their relatives impacted by the gospel while running a business.
(c) Bearing Fruit
Jim learned that successful business can holistically transform both individuals and communities. The majority of employees in the business have now accepted Christ. Christ’s name has been lifted up in hundreds of ways and events. The influence of the gospel has been extended to many people beyond the business itself. In addition, Jim and his team have been able to start new companies in remote places which have resulted in new churches. A fellowship of newly employed beggars has emerged. In addition many employees are actively investing time to influence their communities. Believers are trying to establish Christ’s kingdom in an area known to be in the control of many witches.
Business creates opportunities. Governments recognise an entity positively when it has benefited its people. The government has given the business awards for their activities. As a consequence, Jim and others in the business have had a chance to model Christ and witness to local government officials.
Money is being put back into society and the church, rather than taken from them for support (millions of dollars in salaries). Many “missionaries” have been on the field for many years without need of any external financial support.
Jim is aware of all that could be done better and his own incredible weaknesses. However, he hopes that his lessons learned will be able to encourage others – to God’s Glory.
Part III: Enabling the Body
Releasing Untapped Resources in the Global Church
Business as mission is a part of a wider movement that is emerging. This is the result of entrenched barriers within Christian thought and church culture being broken down. These barriers relate most strongly to the sacred-secular divide, which by extension has produced a clergy-laity division.
In Evangelical language, the term ‘full-time ministry’ has meant serving as a “professional Christian” in the role of Pastor, Missionary or Evangelist. However, we must acknowledge the ministry of the laity, that is every member of the Body of Christ serving God, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in every arena. In business and the marketplace, Christian business people are called and gifted to live and operate in Christ-honouring ways. They are to be ‘salt and light’ through business.
This is foundational for Business as mission, which affirms, equips and deploys Christians to make a transforming impact for God’s kingdom in and through business. We need to mobilise business people to take up their vital role in fulfilling the Great Commission. This is especially true in places where the name of Jesus is rarely heard or understood and where His care and compassion is rarely experienced.
We must think in terms of mobilisation of business people from all nations, going to all nations in cross-cultural expressions of Business as mission. However, we should not neglect same and near-culture expressions of Business as mission. It is vital that we affirm and equip Christian business people in close proximity to the areas of need and mobilise them for this cause. They are the ones who can most readily make a lasting transformational impact in their own communities and nations. They are usually struggling for support in Christian cultures that often regard business with suspicion and often even hostility.
Whether ministering cross-culturally or within their own culture, Christian business people must be encouraged in their calling and vocation of business. If they feel called to serve Christ, they should no longer be automatically directed to give up their business life and minister in the pattern of a traditional ‘pastor’ or ‘missionary’ (which is often wrongly held up as a ‘higher calling’). Business people have unique skills and experience that the world needs in order to experience the full good news of the gospel.
As for the relationship of business to serving God, when people ask how their lives can “glorify God”, they are not usually told, “Go into business.”… When students ask, “How can I serve God with my life?” they don’t often hear the answer, “Go into business.”
Wayne Grudem – Business for the Glory of God, Crossway 2003
There is a role for church leaders to affirm and help to mobilise business professionals and entrepreneurs. The result would be that business people are liberated to recognise their workplace or business as their primary arena of ministry and then intentionally consider how they could be ambassadors for God’s kingdom both locally and globally.
Steps for Mobilisation
1. Imparting Vision
Mobilising for Business as mission begins with vision impartation. Essential messages to convey are God’s view on creation, work and business, His calling to minister holistically, to manifest His kingdom in the marketplace and to pray and work for transformed lives and societies among all peoples.
Who has the entrepreneurial gift? Who has a calling to business? Who is equipped? We must avoid the danger of thinking that the only Western business people can do Business as mission. All countries have entrepreneurs and business people. Those with a business gifting need to be identified and encouraged. In some cases business people will leave a country to go to another. An effective Business as mission strategy will include the identification of key business people in their own culture or country, who can be affirmed, trained, equipped and deployed. Mobilisation will always include this identification process.
One of the most essential elements in mobilisation is that Christians in business are affirmed in their calling. Christian business people should be released into service in the marketplace. They need on-going affirmation as they remain in business. Church leaders should consider laying hands and praying for business people on a Sunday morning. This is important for others like teachers, social workers, engineers and lawyers as well.
Mobilising for Business as mission goes beyond affirming Christians who are in business. Business as mission poses questions such as: How can you make an intentional impact for God’s kingdom in and through your business? In Business as mission the business is both the medium and the message. If God has called a person to business, the next question is: Where should they do it? Where the gospel need is greatest, or it’s message weakest? We need to be proactively recruiting for strategic deployment and help business people to develop their place in the mission of the church.
Successful Business as mission implementation pre-supposes that the right people are used for the right activities. If there is a cross-cultural element to a Business as mission initiative, it becomes even more important that people with the right skill sets are being recruited and deployed. Each business, organisation and network involved in Business as mission should develop criteria and qualifications required for successful implementation.
6. Training & Equipping
This step could involve a variety of content or format, from basic business training to learning cross-cultural communication skills. A critical success factor is for experienced business leaders to provide hands-on mentoring to new recruits.
7. Mobilisation of Resources
Additional resources are required for Business as mission and include access to networks and contacts, to develop markets, to match opportunities with personnel et cetera. Without these, the resource of capital alone is insufficient. However, the mobilisation of capital is in itself a vital component. There is sufficient potential capital that could be available from investors with a ‘kingdom perspective’, if they were made aware of these strategic investment opportunities that have eternal value.
New human resources are required and may come from a new generation of young entrepreneurs, educated in business schools and trained in real marketplace companies. They could be partnered with business leaders who provide experience and financial capital for these young leaders.
Business as mission takes a global view. It is an integral part of the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world. Business as mission is about going from everywhere to anywhere; affirming, enabling and deploying business people from east and west, from south and north. Part of the mobilisation process must include getting help from and being connected with strategic opportunities to serve in other countries.
Problems and Barriers
Many major barriers have already been touched upon. A key barrier which has reoccurred throughout the preparations of this paper has been the reality of the sacred-secular divide and the clergy-laity division. These barriers must be overcome to effectively mobilise for Business as mission.
Other hindrances include when a congregational leader understands the issues and strives to be supportive, but is often limited by the demands and responsibilities of running the local church. We must also be open to learning from other members of the Body of Christ. For instance, there is much to learn from the Reformed and Catholic traditions that have done significant work on the theology of work, on being good stewards of creation and participating in God’s redemptive work in the world.
Specific barriers include the fact that business people have often been under- utilised, misused or looked down upon. Additional problems that were recognised encompass the influence of prosperity theology, confusion with other related by different strategies, the need for consistent quality control and guarding against fraud and the level of risk taking and work involved:
There is a widespread failure to realise the potential and calling that business people have as agents of God’s kingdom. There can be a sense of passivity and a vague feeling of guilt when business people resign themselves to simply filling church pews and writing checks to ‘redeem their wealth’. Others are frustrated in roles that do not suit them, instead of finding acceptance and pleasure at being used by God in the way he has shaped and gifted them as business people.
Many business people find themselves treated as cash cows. They are only approached for their money by the church or Christian organisations. In some cultures, profits of a business owned by a Christian are to be given to support their church without question. Being in business does not necessarily mean that there is a lot of personal or company money available. They may be in dire financial need, perhaps making less money than their employees or struggling to capitalise the business or meet cash flow demands. There is a danger of seeing business from a mere utilitarian perspective. Business is not simply a source of funding for “spiritual ministries”. Instead, business can be a ministry in itself and the use of profits or personal giving should be complimentary to that.
(c) Looked Down Upon
The Church is still struggling to understand God’s view on work, business, wealth creation and money. All too often business people are looked down upon because they are “dealing with mammon” since they are operating in difficult arenas prone to corruption. However, money is not evil in itself. The Bible says that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). This misunderstanding creates a sense of distance and rejection for many business people causing an unnecessary rift between church and business. This must be overcome as we are mobilising for Business as mission.
I think that negative attitudes toward business in itself is ultimately a lie of the enemy who wants to keep God’s people from fulfilling His purposes.
(d) Prosperity Theology
The other extreme of those who are suspicious about money or seeking a profit, are those who have been strongly influenced by prosperity theology which advocates abundant material provision as a sign of God’s blessing. We must ask, “Why did God give us money?” The Bible teaches a balanced view where God blesses us with material goods, but they are to be both enjoyed AND used for His purposes. The teaching of stewardship is required, with an emphasis on eternal investment.
(e) A Distinct Strategy
Business as mission is a distinct strategy to create profitable commercial enterprises with an intentional kingdom purpose. A challenge will be to prevent confusion that it is merely a new donor strategy repackaged or renamed to enhance fundraising. Business as mission is an emerging strategy which is complimentary to, but distinct from, other economic development programs or mission endeavours.
(f) Ensuring Quality Control and Guarding From Fraud
As Business as mission grows and develops we need to increasingly consider how to avoid fraud, uphold ethical standards, as well as develop and encourage quality control and integrity checks. Not everything calling itself Business as mission will necessarily be what we define here as Business as mission. Sin and wrong motivation will result in the distortion or counterfeiting of something which has tremendous potential for good. Sometimes lack of quality will come from bad practice rather than from malicious fraud. Not everyone seeking investments will have good accountability systems.
(g) The Level of Risk-Taking and Commitment Required
Mobilising for Business as mission requires a different approach to other forms of mission. Business involves a different level of risk taking. There are issues related to personal financial equity and welfare of employees. Other issues impact on family, finances, time schedule, church ministry, community and how people are viewed in the workplace. It is necessary to develop a strong Christ-like perspective of persons and material things.
It is important to recognise that starting up a business in ones own country is very difficult and the reality is that the vast majority of new businesses do not last five years. Adding a cross-cultural dimension adds to the complexity and level of risk. This is because of other issues such as corruption, the lack of a conducive environment for business and the challenge of cultural sensitivity. The level of hard work, focus and commitment that is required should not be underestimated. There is the potential to put extra strain on other relationships and may not be understood by people whose world has been framed by an 8 hour a day job.
There are an increasing number of resources and initiatives for Business as mission mobilisation. The Resource Directory in Appendix F provides a comprehensive list. It is worth highlighting some categories of mobilisation tools and models that exist and are working. Articles, books and websites are important in the mobilisation process. So are Christian business people with exposure to Business as mission that are able to envision and enthuse others. Several organisations and groups around the world are organising vision trips, field trips and exposure trips to give people a personal motivational experience. These and other groups provide opportunities to donate to or invest in Business as mission initiatives.
There are Business as mission meetings and consultations. These have been at local, national and regional levels. In the UK there are local Business as mission groups, in Uganda there is a nation-wide network and in Central Asia there is a regular regional consultation.
There are many mission agencies that are supportive of or engaging in Business as mission strategies. Business as mission is presented as an opportunity for service alongside other ministry opportunities. These agencies are developing new policy and structures for partnership with and the mobilisation of new Business as mission initiatives.
This Lausanne Occasional Paper on Business as mission is in itself intended to be an instrument to be used in mobilisation.
As business people are mobilised, we do not want to create a separate ‘business track’, a Business as mission movement disconnected from the broader mission efforts of the church. It is important that we do not settle simply for a horizontal partnership or network of ‘Business as mission’ practitioners and initiatives. Business people must ask themselves how they will fit into the whole, both in terms of broad vision and in real partnership. How will ‘Business as mission’ connect with other Christians exercising their gifts and callings, whether in Law-as- Mission, Medicine-as-Mission, Education-as-Mission, Bible-Translation-as-Mission, Radio-as-Mission et cetera. Together we can have a greater impact. Vertically linked we are more likely to see holistic transformation of people and communities. In our reflections, strategies and implementation, we need to constantly consider the whole the Body of Christ at work.
Given the enormity of the task and the huge potential in the body of Christ, there will always be a great need for more and better mobilisation. There is a great deal more that could be done, more comprehensive suggestions for strategy are made in Chapter 8: Strategic Recommendations.
The Vital Role of Mission Agencies and the Church
In this chapter we want to explore the importance of partnership, helping churches and mission agencies relate to Business as mission. We will tackle philosophical and operational considerations that commonly arise in response to Business as mission.
We recognise many changes are taking place in the church and missions arena. We affirm that the Body of Christ has many expressions. There are individual entrepreneurs, businesses, Business as mission networks, marketplace ministries, sending and supporting churches, local churches on the ‘receiving end’, emerging churches, denominationally linked agencies and inter-denominational mission agencies. These all come in various sizes, shapes and forms.
In practice, Business as mission can connect with different kinds of church and mission entities, as the diagram below shows. Ultimately churches, mission agencies and kingdom businesses have the same purpose: to bring glory to God’s name among all nations. Partnership and unity between different entities and initiatives working towards this common end will only strengthen God’s people and make kingdom endeavours more effective.
During our consultation process, business people as well as church and mission leaders identified obstacles to effective partnership and together looked at solutions. A summary these obstacles and solutions can be found in Appendix D.
The Context for Partnership with the Church
The Church has a vital role to play in affirming and equipping business people in their Great Commission mandate.
There are various contexts through which a relationship between Business as mission and the church can manifest itself. These contexts often overlap with each other.
(a) Business as mission and the Local Church
It is crucial that any kingdom business initiative work in partnership with the local church(es) in close proximity to the business wherever possible. Otherwise the danger is that new initiatives will disenfranchise the church, instead of strengthening it. Strengthening the local church must be an aim of every kingdom business.
Any partnership between Business as mission and the local church must strive for a win-win situation, where each party benefits and affirms the other. This is possible where the same vision for God’s kingdom is shared. Churches provide fellowship for business people, ideally equipping and energising them for their vocational ministry. Churches and pastors can provide teaching, training and pastoral support for business owners and professionals. Business people can bring their management and other skills as a contribution to body life. Kingdom businesses might provide employment for some church members, which is vital in areas where unemployment significantly weakens the church.
There is a need for partnership through prayer, mutual encouragement and in ministry projects together in the community. A local church might initiate new Business as mission ventures as part of its own outreach, or it might encourage its members to launch and support new Business as mission leaders who are gifted entrepreneurs.
(b) Business as mission and the Sending Church
Church leaders and congregations play a vital part in facilitating Christian business people to take up their role in building God’s kingdom. Churches can affirm, help recruit and equip those being sent out for Business as mission work. Organising short-term teams of business professionals to use their education and expertise in a cross-cultural mission setting has proven highly effective. Business people bring their gifts and entrepreneurial ideas and can release creativity and resources for the church’s mission strategy.
(c) Business as mission Where There is Little or No Local Church Presence
Business as mission is a strategy that can give access to places where there is no public expression of the local church. Business planting and church planting can go hand in hand. Although a distinction between the roles of spiritual leadership and employer might be helpful to avoid conflicts of interest. In this context, Business as mission can model partnership from the initial stages of local church growth, despite a hostile environment. It can open doors for transformational ministry where traditional mission models and other expressions of the church are forbidden.
For example, in a Middle Eastern country an Arab tribal leader is the local owner of a Business as mission business. He has excellent connections with the local government and is the only believer in the community. The community respects him because he has shown genuine concern for the physical needs of his people. An agreed portion of the profits of the company are invested in development projects in his area. It is expected that a church will emerge in this area in the next generation.
In some parts of the world such as the Arabian Peninsula there is a significant expatriate community. A variety of international expatriate churches exist where there is no indigenous church. This presents an opportunity for expatriate Christian business people to use their business skills to encourage the expatriate and persecuted church in the community.
For example, an Arab expatriate church felt intimidated in an Islamic country. A vision was born encouraging the church to make a difference in their community, sharing the love of Christ. The pastor of the church initiated a school project that employs members of his congregation. The quality of education attracts children from the local upper class. As a result the church can touch and influence the local community while at the same time running a for-profit business.
Missions Organisations and Business as mission
Business as mission is a strategy that is gaining momentum in both mission and Christian business communities. While there is a marked distinction between these two communities at present, new ‘bizzionaries’ 3 are being mobilised that have a more integrated approach. The distinction will diminish in future generations. We very much encourage the multiplication of such initiatives. New mission support mechanisms and sending entities that are focused on the special nature and need of Business as mission are required.
3 A business person with a kingdom mission, a word coined to demonstrate the hybrid nature of this new breed of missionary combining the attributes of a businessperson and missionary.
For-profit business can adapt to different kinds of cultures, methods and structures better than some other types of mission activity. Therefore, whilst not drawing a false barrier between business and ‘mission’, it is important to look at how these different mission approaches and structures might work together.
Mission agencies and businesses might use different structures and methods to reach the same goal. However, honouring the integrity and uniqueness of both in form and function will allow each part to serve the other and the whole body together.
Swarr & Nordstrom – Transform the World, 1999
There are several levels that mission organisations can engage with Business as mission:
- Mission organisations can affirm and endorse Business as mission as a Capacity can be increased through acceptance and openness.
- Mission organisations can offer their experience and resources in informal or formal collaboration with kingdom businesses.
- Mission organisations can be a vessel through which kingdom businesses can be born, nurtured and multiplied.
Mission pastors, mission executives and field leaders should advocate for Business as mission through their organisation even if close collaboration is not possible. This increases the opportunity for Business as mission practitioners to work on good terms with other local ministry ventures. This encourages healthy support of one another in the field.
We suggest that all mission executives and leaders should grapple with the concept of Business as mission so that they are able to affirm in principle the idea that business can be a powerful strategy to disciple nations.
To “get it” in our experience, does not happen overnight. It requires patience and consistent communication. We must model Business as mission, not simply lecture to the field and home offices on the concepts. Doors of understanding are cracking open as men and women begin to see examples of businesses that are not simply financial generators for “the real work”, but are ministries in and of themselves.
Mission agencies can be vital partners to help business set appropriate mission (kingdom) goals. They can help with issues of accountability through ongoing input. Mission personnel can help evaluate whether a business venture is suitable for the local context or culture. Mission agencies can give input on the bigger picture, helping to strategically deploy a business. They can help link the business with the wider work of God in a nation or particular community.
Mission agencies have local knowledge, support networks, contacts, training tools, cross-cultural and language skills, appropriate literature and evangelistic tools, etc. that can benefit Business as mission initiatives. Mission personnel can be seconded to help the business with pastoral support or spiritual mentoring for their staff. Mission agencies and businesses can work on joint projects in the community. They can work together to disciple new believers within the business. Mission organisations can help mobilise interest, prayer support, short-term teams or personnel for the business through their more extensive networks.
(c) Starting Business as mission Initiatives
Many mission personnel are already among the Business as mission pioneers. They are confronted daily with the needs of the communities they serve. They have seen how Business as mission is an appropriate and effective response to those needs. A major asset possessed by such pioneers is a deeply felt compassion for the people they serve. Some of these Business as mission practitioners have led certain organisations to thoroughly evaluate Business as mission as a strategy. Those agencies have either embraced business ventures as part of their own outreach or have entered into strategic partnership with kingdom businesses closely related to them.
There are philosophical and operational considerations related to the integration of business and mission in partnership. The strengths of each can be combined to produce increased fruitfulness. However, there is a potential for tension as these traditionally different entities meet. There are inherent dangers as each represents a different culture. We hope this section will assist agencies and churches to grapple with the implications of this new movement in mission. 4
Philosophical Considerations and Differences in Approach
(a) Doubt about for-profit activity or the close association of economic and mission activity
For centuries the predominant view has been that missionaries should be donor-supported within a not-for-profit context. The prevailing view has been that one can either serve God or make money. Only recently, some activities such as microfinance have gained acceptance. However, overtly for-profit models still attract suspicion. Why do we assume that non-profit organisations are better for society than for-profit business? What makes small business morally superior to big business?
Our organisation is working with former Tibetan-Buddhists that are passionate about planting churches in their homeland. Security issues make traditional church planting work prohibitive. These young men are purchasing yaks, goods, and other materials, travelling into villages with no known witness, selling their goods, signing contracts for future goods and services, developing relationships, as a result small groups of believers have spring up. The in-country director is a former owner of an auto parts store from the US, who “gets it”. His mission agency doesn’t. In addition to running this project, which has seen 20 small businesses launched, he runs a couple of small companies of his own in order to maintain his visa status. The agency has asked that some of these companies close, as they are becoming profitable. He, on the other hand, challenges the new small business owners to be as profitable as possible, in order to grow, maintain legitimacy in the eyes of the villages, and employ others.
Historical examples exist where economic power has resulted in distortion of mission objectives and actually harmed the gospel. We must acknowledge this and learn from these mistakes. However, this does not mean that we should totally dismiss the potential for good that business represents. Rather, organisational safeguards and careful evaluation of the implications of our activities on future generations are in order.5
4 The following discussion represents a brief overview of the key issues. For an example of how one mission organisation has handled these and other considerations please visit: www.businessasmission.com ‘Guidelines’ for Youth With a Mission. Also see other mission agencies listed in the Resource Directory.
5 For a thorough examination of these issues, see William J. Danker, Profit for the Lord: Economic Activities in Moravian Missions and the Basel Mission Trading Company, (William Eerdmans, 1971, Wipf & Stock, 2002)
(b) Fears that business attitudes and culture will alter the ethos of the organisation
For obvious reasons, there is likely to be differences in priorities, expectations and approach between a business entity and a mission agency. Business culture is different to the culture of a typical mission organisation. There is a need to look at policies, procedures and strategies to discover how to make room for the business strategy without causing undue tension Careful examination of the ‘DNA’ of the organisation, along with ongoing evaluation and clear communication are necessary. Keeping the business structure somewhat distinct from the mission structure is likely to be beneficial.
(c) Fear of focusing only on physical/economic transformation that does not extend to spiritual transformation
There is a concern among many that business activity can overshadow evangelistic proclamation, spiritual transformation or church planting. Good cases of Business as mission, with holistic kingdom goals have proved that this does not have to happen. Business as mission should always seek to practice and proclaim the fullness of the kingdom of God in a sensitive manner. Kingdom business people realise they can not simply allow people to go hell wealthier than they were before. Business provides a credible basis for being present while demonstrating a concern for the whole life of the men and women they seek to lead to Christ.
Working in the wealthy and sophisticated and wealthy country means that our business does not contribute to the overall economic development of the country. However, our business is more than an entry strategy. A valid reason for being here in this capacity is that it is a holistic approach. We are placing ourselves in this arena and running our business in a Christ-like manner. Our actions speak louder than our words!
(d) Fear that the mission force will be eroded or corrupted through business
Another concern is that Business as mission efforts may cause a conflict of interest. There is a danger that mission personnel might jump on the business bandwagon without a workable plan. This would lead to failure of both business and ministry objectives. Others might view business as an easy means to an end (visa, financial income, access strategy etc.) and find themselves so distracted by the demands of the ‘means’ that their original ‘end’ is never reached. Thorough policy development by mission agencies including clear leadership and accountability structures for Business as mission is necessary to prevent this from happening. Business expertise, a solid business plan, adequate capitalisation and the formation of clear kingdom goals are essential. Fraudulent business must be avoided through a thorough assessment of each opportunity.
The demands or even the success of the business, could lead some to stray from their original mission goals. Thought must be given to ownership structure and the use of profit in order to provide adequate accountability and to guard against falling prey to the love of money. These are dangers for any Christian in any business. It is easy to be seduced by worldly values and ambition (2 Corinthians 1:12). But this also applies to all types of ministry. The key to prevention is to nurture a godly personal motivation. This is a matter of personal discipleship and accountability. Spiritual oversight and evaluation processes can help to keep biblical values at the forefront. Context is a factor since corruption and unethical practice is more accepted in some societies. Training in Christian business and financial ethics appropriate to the cultural context is required.
In China, there is saying “bu jian bu shang”, which when translated means “one cannot be successful in business without first being cunning”. We are sad to see Christian businesses, founded with the aim of glorifying the name of God, fall prey to worldliness. I know of a Chinese Christian brother who uses his business premises to disciple young believers and serves as an underground church for regular meetings He is able to contribute substantially to the mission work in that region. But when I casually asked him for advice on a business problem, his solution was simple – do it the way any Chinese businessman would. I was particularly disappointed that the missionary organisation that received his donations did not raise an eyebrow over his actions.
(e) Doubts about whether missionaries should get involved in business – or business people in missions
Being an effective mission leader does not imply that a person will make a successful businessperson. Just as a businessperson needs to understand good mission practice, a person with a missionary background needs to understand and respect good business principles. Understanding, openness to learn and above all practical experience are the best indicators of future success. There is a clear need for people to be teamed with others with complementary skills. Working alongside established entrepreneurs (or missionary veterans, as applicable) is essential.
In the business world outsourcing and strategic partnerships are the norm. There should be openness to providing expertise to one another. There is no need for kingdom business to automatically bypass traditional missionary structures and organisations. In order to be effective, synergy is needed. Affirmation of each other and the right application of complimentary gifts and abilities is of primary importance.
Many mission people who have tried to make the transition from ‘full time ministry’ to holistic ministry through Business as mission have often been idealistic. They often discover that Business as mission is even more full time than ‘full time ministry’! They have been ill equipped, or given their ‘blessing’ before a serious assessment was made of the feasibility of the project or of the ability of the person who carried the vision. In our part of the world I see a lot of mission people with great potential to be successful in the transition to Business as mission. We are entering an era where they can make the transition because support structures and the expertise needed for accountability and evaluation are coming into being.
Operational Considerations for Business as mission
What follows is an outline of some operational considerations that arise when mission agencies incorporate into their organisation a Business as mission strategy. These are mostly questions that organisations will have to answer for themselves depending on their situation.
(a) Legal and Structural Issues
Structural and legal boundaries must exist between business and charitable or not-for-profit organisations. These are fundamentally important issues that must be acknowledged and will require policy. The term ‘Business as mission’ does not mean a business masquerading in a charitable structure. There must be no confusion between the mission entity and the business entity in legal terms. Legal and revenue related issues arise that are related to the tax-exempt status of the charitable organisation. Being open and accountable about sources of funding or donations is essential. In the eyes of the government these boundaries exist to prevent not-for-profit entities competing unfairly with businesses. Great care must be taken when positioning any new business entity with regard to an existing not-for- profit organisation. Professional expertise must be sought.
In BA Company, we believe that a business should be both excellent in whatever business it is doing, and at the same time be excellent in the ways of the Lord. They are not mutually exclusive. The mission community must not assume that a business will be excellent simply through much prayer and perseverance. It cannot simply assume that every unqualified person with a mission calling will do excellent business so long as he entrusts himself to the Lord. In other words, not every missionary should be given the money to start a business just because he has the vision. He needs to be equipped, not only spiritually but also technically, or he must have access to people who are.
(b) Funding & Salary Issues
Questions arise over whether a Business as mission worker should receive a salary through the business if they are also part of a mission agency. Or should they maintain an income from the agency or through donor support? Mission personnel pursuing a business strategy may have to combine sources of income to minimise the negative aspects of relying on either one or the other. In some cases in the initial stages, the business may only be able to support a minimum salary or none at all. Will prayer and support networks be maintained? What will the supporting churches think? What is an ‘appropriate’ level of income or standard of living and life style? Should income be supplemented by business revenues? Will this create tension within the organisation? What should the accountability structure look like?
The issue of financial control might arise. A comment made by Indonesian mission leaders highlights this: “How will we control them (the ministry workers) if they have their own income, and are not looking to us to meet their needs?”
(c) Recruiting and Training
A special recruiting and training strategy is needed. Areas such as biblical knowledge, cultural awareness, language training (if necessary) and spiritual maturity will need to be assessed. It is likely that kingdom business initiatives will require skill sets which may not naturally be found through the organisations normal recruiting procedures.
In our business we have made it a policy to take on potential BAM-ers and given them a ‘safer’ environment to learn and develop. On the field we have laid down a number of training criteria for both the ‘stout business person’ who feels God is calling them to take their business into an unreached situation; as well as for the ‘stout missions person’ who feels God is calling them to walk the Business as mission route.. When it comes to people who have been in missions for a long time, there is a need for serious soul searching and good business coaching by people IN THE FIELD. For business people, our initial list of required training included the ‘Personal Financial Freedom’ course6, the World Perspectives course7, helping them understand the spiritual dynamics of doing business for the kingdom together with an awareness of the spiritual warfare involved. For all potential BAM-ers we asked them to do a business feasibility study and a ministry feasibility study.
6 Earl Pitts, Walking in Financial Freedom and other resources, see www.wealthrichesmoney.org
7 Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorn, ed. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, (more info from www. perspectives.org)
(d) Pastoral Care & Accountability Structures
Systems for accountability must address business and financial goals, kingdom goals for the business and community and personal growth and development goals. It might be appropriate that different people or entities to hold the Business as mission initiative accountable in each of these different areas. For example a board of directors should monitor the financial/business decisions. A Great Commission Coordinator (GCC) or spiritual overseer should monitor the company’s Great Commission goals. The mission agency could help in that arena as well as help monitor goals for personal growth and development of personnel. There can be significant overlap between these different areas so integration may be appropriate.
An agreement about pastoral care should be reached. Pastoral care should be made available outside the leadership structure of the business itself. Resource sharing across organisations is often a good strategy.
Our mission has a team of counsellors in three locations across our region. They are made available to the wider mission community, including the BAMers for pastoral care, training (preventive counselling!), crises management and regular counselling.
(e) Staffing and Resource Issues
There must be a realistic assessment about what resources can be released to support Business as mission initiatives and how support services will be administrated. Where kingdom businesses operate in close proximity to other ministry activities, an understanding should be established (even written) on how resources and personnel (staff time, facilities and so on) will be shared. A clear distinction must be made between which financial resources are allocated to which entity. This will usually be a legal requirement.
I have been in the home offices of many organisations across the globe and have actively advocated Business as mission as a concept. I usually get an enthusiastic response from home office folks when I share the potential for business to be a catalyst for holistic church planting efforts. But home office people have full plates. They are often suspicious or threatened by anything that smells of ‘more work’. The big challenge we have faced is finding implementers that are actually able to serve the strategy that they endorse in principle.
(a) Christian Missionary Fellowship (CMF) International
CMF International is a mission agency that has added Business as mission to its overall mission strategy. They have formed a separate but linked, not-for-profit agency. They did legal research into the question of taxation of for profit ventures within the non-profit realm. They make capital investments into businesses that allow them to place personnel on the field, often among an unreached people group. The mission organisation is involved in recruiting, training, accountability and pastoral care for Business as mission personnel. Start-up capital is raised through both venture capitalists and churches that want to donate funds where they see a mission purpose. Financial sustainability is a key marker for success. Two businesses are already profitable. The have established a policy related to ‘excess profits’ that ties profits back into related ministry activities. Each venture has a culturally relevant ministry plan that is as important as its business plan.
For a fuller case study on CMF – see Appendix E.
(b) J Organisation
J. Organisation takes indigenous evangelicals who reside in unreached environments and who have a passion for the gospel and gives them small business training. They focus on market-driven concepts and biblical foundations for enterprise. They help these people get started in their own small business via a loan. The purpose is always to aid in expanding the kingdom among their own people. J Organisation actively partners with agencies on the field who oversee the local program. Churches based in the USA supply short-term teams of business professionals and funding.
One example that is working is with former Ethiopian Orthodox Priests that are passionate for planting churches in northern Ethiopia. There is little gospel activity present in that region. These church planters work closely with and under the spiritual authority of an international mission agency. They are trained in biblical story telling as part of the kingdom strategy. They are starting small companies primarily using irrigation pumps. They travel to different villages and use the pumps to take water from rivers to irrigate farmers’ fields. There is a charge for providing this service. This business activity creates the opportunity for relationships, which opens doors for sharing the gospel. Each church planter has four villages that are visited twice a month. He is able to do business to meet his personal needs and while doing that he can encourage small groups of believers in each village. One of these groups is made up entirely of “customers”.
(c) Kuzoko Game Reserve
Kuzoko represents a major business investment in the Blue Crane Municipality of the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. It is in one of the poorest provinces in the country with 87% unemployment and a HIV infection rate of 20%. Given the high unemployment in the region, the strategy was to make an initial investment that would then stimulate other economic activity. The game reserve is projected to create over one hundred jobs on a sustainable basis. The management of Kuzuko Game Reserve is also encouraging the employees to set up their own enterprises. One such business is a fencing company that employs 70 people. The Kuzuko Game Reserve management has assisted the new company in drawing up a business plan, raising capital and contract negotiation. The creation of jobs makes a significant impact on unemployment and poverty in the area.
As employers they believe that they should not also play the role of the pastor, so they invite other agencies to come and run mission and church programs. They encourage staff to attend services but there is no coercion or discrimination. Spiritual transformation is taking place through Kuzuko as they facilitate missions. The result has been that almost 50% of their employees have come to faith in Christ.
Part IV: Looking Forward
Specific Steps for Action
We recognise that the Holy Spirit is awakening and restoring the business community to use its skills and resources for building the kingdom of God. In alignment with the strong emphasis of Lausanne Forum 2004, we recognise mission as holistic transformation. Transformational, kingdom focused business is therefore part of our mission. In order to realise the potential of this movement and following God’s leading; it is our imperative to take strategic action.
First we identify some general areas around which we should give prayerful consideration for the development and implementation of strategy. This will be followed by some specific recommendations and a call to action directed to key parts of the Body of Christ.
(a) Imparting Vision and Mobilisation
The concept of business as a kingdom building resource and its strategic nature is still fairly new and sometimes even foreign to many. As outlined more fully in Chapter 6, there is a critical need to impart vision for transforming business and for the development of numerous mobilisation tools and programmes.
(b) Significant Release of Capital
Adequate capital will be required to implement successful Business as mission initiatives, especially on a larger scale. In order to enable the generation, release and appropriate use of significant wealth to meet the needs of the Business as mission movement and the communities that are to be targeted, a “framework of leverage” is needed. This would involve bringing together of venture capital, merchant banking and other relevant business skills. Those who have experience and competencies in these domains need to intentionally and creatively engage with Business as mission. It is imagined that this will include using the skills, resources, networks, etc. of trans-national corporations and government agencies as well.
(c) Matchmaking Both People and Capital
Both people and capital exist ‘out there’ in the Christian business community and beyond. Mobilising these resources is the first step. However, many viable Business as mission opportunities have suffered as a result of not making the right connections. A major challenge is to proactively develop matchmaking processes. This will take people and resources. Facilitators are needed together with an adequate support and accountability structure.
In order to support and multiply the development of new and existing kingdom businesses, there is also a great need for mentors. Those with the relevant experience, networks, intellectual capital and technology need to be intentionally seeking to develop business-to-business mentoring models.
(d) Capacity Building
Once we have begun effectively mobilising and matchmaking new resources in terms of people and capital, do we have the capacity to handle them and offer effective deployment and support services? At the sending end, do we have the capacity to accommodate and train people? In field, is there a receptivity to accept and integrate these strategies? We need to ensure that we have functional entities on both ends that can effectively handle people and money and make strategic decisions. We need effective cross-cultural communication and to build understanding, both between sending and in-field locations and between those from a business culture and those from a mission culture.
(e) Capturing Intellectual Capital
There is a need for good theology and research as well as relevant strategy, for reflection as well as action. We need to further develop the theology of work and business in conjunction with field-based strategies and practice. There are lessons to be learned from the history of missions and from Business as mission initiatives that have had a transformational impact.
(f) Case Studies
A crucial facet of capturing intellectual capital is the gathering of case studies. Case studies need to be researched, documented and evaluated. Telling inspiring stories, sharing good practice and learning from experience will assist in all the other areas of strategic action.
There needs to be a commitment on the part of kingdom businesses themselves to consistently document sector-specific case studies of cutting-edge business initiatives and enterprise. This should be done through analysis and the application of thorough reviews generated by adequate evaluation mechanisms.
(g) Macro Level Thinking
We want to effect radical, holistic transformation of society’s economic systems and structures. The reality of globalisation is increasingly having direct impact on people of all nations and cultures everywhere. As Christians we must intentionally seek to align business with kingdom of God purposes at a macro level.
We must focus strategic thinking on the equipping and enabling of kingdom businesses that can competitively operate in a global market. This should include taking into account emerging markets and global trends. By capitalising on emerging opportunities, there is the potential to put kingdom businesses in the best position to set the pace and industry standards and, as market leaders, to command significant market share on a global level. For example, emerging issues include the movement of human and intellectual capital, technology transfer and outsourcing to emerging markets. Another important area requiring consideration is how to respond to the global implications related to changes in access to and the use of essential natural resources such as water and energy.
(h) Building of Strategic Alliances
In business it is important to always look for leverage points and alliances that can create synergy. There are churches, mission agencies and market place ministries involved in or exploring Business as mission. Where there is a felt-need, it is important to explore the benefit of creating national, regional and international strategic alliances with others that share values and purpose.
We also need cross-discipline partnerships between business and areas such as politics, education, healthcare and other relevant areas. There needs to be an emphasis on the development of strategic partnerships and alliances that can leverage political influence at local, national, regional and global levels. This could include, engaging government at both the local and national levels, as has been the case in areas of Central Asia.
(i) Consultations, Events and Facilitators
To be able to empower and support the Business as mission movement, people are needed to serve as facilitators. There is a need for regional and national Business as mission consultations, facilitators and equipping events. Funding is needed to further these.
“Holy people must stop going into “church work” as their natural course of action and take up holy orders of farming, industry, law education, banking and journalism with the same zeal previously given to traditional evangelism, pastoral or missionary work.”
Dallas Willard – The Spirit of the Disciplines
Specific Strategic Recommendations
(a) To the Church World-Wide
There is a need for the church to recognise that the Holy Spirit is restoring the role of business in the mobilisation of resources for mission and the extension of God’s kingdom. The following are strategic recommendations:
- All churches and Christian organisations, on every continent, must closely examine beliefs and practices with regards to:
- the sacred-secular dichotomised worldview
- the clergy-laity concept and
- To develop concepts of a biblical holistic worldview, that positively restores the role of business into the church at
- To catalyse and mobilise the business community through affirming, equipping and releasing business people for their kingdom building vocational role.
- To endorse and promote the Lausanne Business as mission Manifesto on the role of kingdom business and Christian business
Practical tip: give a sermon (or two!) on Business as mission, using the material provided in this report!
(b) To Christians in Business
Business in itself is an activity that can glorify God. In addition it is a strategic means by which the great commission and the great commandment can be fulfilled. Considering this, the following recommendations are given:
- Receive the affirmation of the vocational calling of business. Strive to further understand the theological basis of how business practices and profits can be something good and gifted by God.
- Discover God’s specific purpose for your business. Strive to identify kingdom returns as well as financial returns. Identifying the impacts of the business on the local economy and environment and how the business can work with the local church and the church at large.
- Establish a clear accountability and support framework for the business in terms of the economic, social, environmental and spiritual impacts.
- Identify potential mentors and leadership development relationships.
And if God has called and equipped you to do business, ask yourself:
- Where shall I do business? Maybe you are called to an area of the world where the name of Jesus is rarely heard or in the most poor and needy communities or nations?
- How can I do business in such a way that God is being glorified? How can the kingdom of God be demonstrated and manifested in and through my business? Do I have a kingdom of God plan for my business as well as a business plan? Should I invite someone to be the “kingdom auditor” of my business?
- Can I assist by being a mentor to someone in my country or in other countries?
- What other Christians in business can I link up with, others who also have a vision for business as mission?
Practical Tip: Use the Resource Directory accompanying this report to find relevant books and websites to help you explore these issues.
(c) To Workplace and Marketplace Ministries
There are numerous workplace (or marketplace) organisations and ministries around the world. They have different purposes and agendas. We recommend that these groups:
- Learn about business as mission and transformational business and prayerfully consider embracing and incorporating business as mission into their ministries.
- Develop partnerships with others that are working on business as mission, whether churches, missions agencies or other workplace ministries.
- Sponsor and facilitate national and regional business as mission consultations and joint collaboration and learning.
- Mobilize your constituencies to participate in business as mission initiatives.
Practical tip: Include business as mission in the program in one of your meetings!
(d) To Mission Agencies and Executives
Mission agencies are key partners and need to develop a framework for engaging with the work of kingdom businesses. It is recommended that they:
- Develop a kingdom business perspective by utilising current and future programs of learning, applicable to both short and long term personnel.
- Encourage and facilitate research and case studies for specific enterprises and their kingdom impact.
- Create collaboration between mission agencies and businesses in order to further mutual objectives and release resources.
- Develop wider and more creative recruitment campaigns for those with business skills, including the creation of opportunities for business people through the church.
- Develop long term business as mission strategies within the organisation – this would include undertaking surveys and audits on business as mission activities.
Practical tip: Write about business as mission in your newsletter, magazine, website, etc.
(e) To Christian Training Institutions
The changing face of missions and the reducing number of people entering Christian training institutions needs to be addressed. The following recommendations are applied to Bible Colleges, Seminaries, Christian Universities and other centres of Christian learning:
- Incorporate a kingdom business perspectives course into current and future programs of learning, for both short and long term programs.
- In order to enrich recommendation number 1. encourage and facilitate current research and case studies on specific enterprises and their kingdom impact.
- Develop and run courses encompassing a biblically integrated holistic worldview. Develop and run courses on business as mission. These courses could also be offered and made available to MBA and Economics students in other academic institutions.
- Create internship programs with kingdom focused companies and encourage collaboration of these companies in joint learning.
- Encourage the creation of kingdom business alumni networks and kingdom focused business-angel and venture capital network.
Practical tip: Run a one-day seminar on business as mission, see Resource Directory for further tips.
(f) To the Christian Media
The rise of new multimedia technology provides an opportunity for the expansion of kingdom business initiatives. In order to achieve this, the following actions are recommended:
- Help facilitate the use of all media available to promote business as mission activities and materials such as case studies, articles, regular feature columns that promote transformational business awareness through examples.
- Use of multimedia and on-line technology for kingdom business training, development and guidance
- Encourage closer working relationships between business and the media in developing media strategies and policies, taking into account issues of sensitivity and risk.
The Lausanne (LCWE8) 2004 Forum Business as Mission Issue Group worked for a year, addressing issues relating to God’s purposes for work and business, the role of business people in church and missions, the needs of the world and the potential response of business. The group consisted of more than 70 people from all continents. Most came from a business background but there were also church and mission leaders, educators, theologians, lawyers and researchers. The collaboration process included 60 papers, 25 cases studies, several national and regional business as mission consultations and email- based discussions, culminating in a week of face to face dialogue and work. These are some of our observations.
- We believe that God has created all men & women in His image with the ability to be creative, creating good things for themselves and for others – this includes
- We believe in following in the footsteps of Jesus, who constantly and consistently met the needs of the people He encountered, thus demonstrating the love of God and the rule of His
- We believe that the Holy Spirit empowers all members of the Body of Christ to serve, to meet the real spiritual and physical needs of others, demonstrating the kingdom of
- We believe that God has called and equipped business people to make a Kingdom difference in and through their businesses.
- We believe that the gospel has the power to transform individuals, communities and societies. Christians in business should therefore be a part of this holistic transformation through
- We recognise the fact that poverty and unemployment are often rampant in areas where the name of Jesus is rarely heard and
- We recognise both the dire need for and the importance of business development. However it is more than just business per se. Business as mission is about business with a Kingdom of God perspective, purpose and
- We recognise that there is a need for job creation and for multiplication of businesses all over the world, aiming at the quadruple bottom line: spiritual, economical, social and environmental
- We recognise the fact that the church has a huge and largely untapped resource in the Christian business community to meet needs of the world – in and through business – and bring glory to God in the market place and
We call upon the Church world wide to identify, affirm, pray for, commission and release business people and entrepreneurs to exercise their gifts and calling as business people in the world – among all peoples and to the ends of the earth.
We call upon business people 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.
The real bottom line of business as mission is AMDG – ad maiorem Dei gloriam – for the greater glory of God
Business as Mission Issue Group
8 Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization
Appendix A. PARTICIPANTS
Business as Mission Issue Group, Lausanne Forum 2004
Mats Tunehag, Sweden – Convenor
Wayne McGee, USA/Africa/UK – Co-convenor
Josie Plummer, UK – Facilitator
Forum Issue Group Members Crystal Alman, Colombia/USA Etienne Atger, France
D Batchelder, USA
Alan Bergstedt, USA
Branko Bjelajac, Serbia & Montenegro
Mark Boyce, USA
H. Fernando Bullon, Costa Rica
David Bussau, Australia
Joao Mordomo, Brazil
Julie Chambliss, USA
Chuck Chan, China
David de Groen, Australia
Miguel Angel De Marco, Argentina/USA
Hartwig Eitzen, Paraguay
Norm Ewert, USA
Dan Fredericks, USA
Hans Udo Fuchs, Brazil/Angola
Edward S. Gaamuwa, Uganda
Zack Gakunju, Kenya
Ricky Gnanakan, India
Harry Goodhew, Australia
Paul Heiss, USA
Kent Humphreys, USA
Neal Johnson, USA
Isaac Kasana, Uganda
Dibinga Kashale, Cote d’Ivoire
Victor Kathramalla, India
Jorg Knoblauch, Germany
Sergey Lisunov, Kyrgyzstan
David Llewellyn, USA
Stuart McGreevy, UK
Roweena Mendoza, Philippines
Alfred Neufeld, Paraguay
Jorge Nunez, Argentina
Flavio Jason Orr, Brazil
Mike Perreau, UK
Doug Priest, USA
Bill Rigden UK/South Asia
Steve Rundle, USA
Lindy Scott, USA
Tom Sudyk, USA
Lynda Sudyk, USA
Daron Tan, Malaysia
Eric Tan NH, Singapore
Dennis Tongoi, Kenya
Tim Waddell, USA
John Warton, USA
Jane Wathome, Kenya
Cade Willis, USA/Singapore
Galina Zhanbekova, Kazakhstan
DMM, Turkey Kay, Turkey
Additional Issue Group Members (Contributing by email but not at Forum)
Mike Baer, USA
Steve Beck, USA
W Chan, Hong Kong
M G, India
Makonen Getu, UK
Martien Kelderman, New Zealand
Scott McFarlane, USA
Xavier Molinari, France
Dwight Nordstrom, USA
John Ong, Singapore
M Stoltz, USA
Kim Tan, UK
Dag Wilund, Sweden
Appendix B. ASSIGNMENT AND PROCESS
The Forum 2004 was convened by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE) with the vision to examine through unprecedented global inquiry, the trends and needs in evangelism and in response, develop specific action plans for Church leaders to use in addressing our most difficult local and global evangelism issues.
The brief from LCWE to each Issue Group was to create a well researched paper on the assigned issue which would be presented at the Forum and consequently published as a Lausanne Occasional Paper. The paper was to:
- Identify the questions that are involved in the topic and outline the obstacles to breakthroughs in global evangelism directly related to the
- Consider the theological underpinning of the
- Collect some of the best case studies that will help others to understand the issue and ways of responding to
- Develop specific and pragmatic strategies which will stimulate the Church to action, encompassing recommendations that could be implemented globally, nationally, and
Purpose and Objectives of the Business as mission Issue Group
The business as mission Issue Group first examined this task as it related to business as mission identifying their main purpose and primary objectives:
To examine the obstacles, challenges and opportunities to glorify God globally by furthering His kingdom through the strategy of business as mission and through our deliberations and findings to bring strategic recommendations to the Church world-wide on ways to respond to these opportunities and challenges.
To examine God’s purposes for business and to develop a biblical perspective on stewardship, work and business as it relates to the holistic mission of the Church in the world.
Learn from examples of Christians who have made strategic differences in societies through business, especially on the mission field, seeing the kingdom of God impact peoples lives spiritually, socially and economically.
Explore ways to mobilise the Christian business community, impart a vision for business as mission, affirm them in their calling and provide connection for practical application for their ministry in mission settings.
Explore business as mission’s potential impact and implications on existing mission and development paradigms and practices: theologically and operationally.
Identify national, regional and global business as mission networks and initiatives and support them by producing a comprehensive list of available resources including published materials, training programmes, web based resources and others.
Working Groups were formed to tackle each objective with each Issue Group member contributing to one or two of the Working Groups. Discussion and writing papers on various critical issues for each objective took place by email in preparation for the Forum. Before the Forum in September 2004, the Convening Team prepared a draft document based on the sum of the preliminary work. The majority of the Issue Group members gathered together during the Forum for vital discussion and further editing work, as well as for strategic planning for the future. The authorship of the paper is therefore rightly attributed to all of business as mission Issue Group contributors which are listed in Appendix A. The final editing however was carried out by the Convening Team who assume full responsibility for any errors and omissions in the finished document.
Business as mission Issue Group
Mats Tunehag, Convenor
Wayne McGee, Co-convenor
Josie Plummer, Facilitator
Appendix C. ADDITIONAL GENERAL CASE STUDIES
In Singapore in 1991, John who was a career missionary was given a consultancy by a local Christian business man. The business man would continue as Principal Consultant and make the money, John would disburse it. Sensing that there was something more, they set up BA as a limited liability company to own the consultancy and other businesses that the Lord might give them. John understood that BA was to establish righteous, redemptive businesses, dedicated to the Lord and operating on kingdom principles.
John shares: “There is power in discipling in the workplace, where most Christians spend much of their time and where their character flaws will be exposed. In church the Word may only be spoken: in the workplace it must be lived, and Christian responses modelled in real (e.g. ethical) challenges. It is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish, but it is better still to teach a suitable man to manage a fish farm. Then he will learn not just a practical skill, but character and ethical skills”.
BA now operates in SE Asia, E Asia and the Middle East. BAX (in a less- reached SE Asian nation) was established in 1995 as an investment company, with seed funding from BA Singapore. Later an import-export company was added. The companies now employ expatriates from several nations and numerous nationals. Business activities have included rural craft, tile-making and sewing projects; an art and design studio; a coffee shop employing ex-prostitutes; a metalwork business employing youths from squatter communities and a website design business. Garment inspection and palm sugar export are being investigated. Each project has its own rationale. Some have been small, replicable, village-based and people- intensive. They have enabled preaching points and churches to be set up and people have come to Christ. Others reflect BA’s concern for the very poor and disadvantaged, and some of these run with associated small-business loans. We are now developing projects to employ more educated urban nationals in whose hands the future of the nation rests.
BAX has spun off a local NGO that now involves around 150 nationals and has become the main ministry arm. It incorporates a small children’s home and job creation projects.
Since 1995 a BA representative office has provided a ministry platform in a large, less open nation. This has enabled a language translation business whose primary objective is to disciple young nationals. More recently a restaurant has been set up, to employ nationals with a wider range of skills. BA does not run these businesses.
Underlying values of the in-field businesses are to model righteous business with redemptive purpose; provide independence, dignity and discipleship through employment; and give legitimate identity to foreign professionals and local church leaders
Those involved view the Lord as the owner of BA. Equity holders sign a declaration that they are acting only as stewards, and have no beneficial interest. Business and Great Commission (GC) oversight are kept separate. The GC Overseer sits on the Board but has minimal operational function.
The idea is not to build a BA empire. They have avoided a business conglomerate approach. The companies are linked relationally but not legally. Oversight operates through servant leadership, spiritual authority and fellowship. They accept the risk of possible abuse of the BA name. The prayer is that BA businesses will spin off indigenous movements amongst the target peoples. These may be businesses, local NGOs, churches… or new business as mission movements!
John has no interest in business for business’ sake, he says: “To chop down a tree, we use the best available tool: whether a sharp axe or chain saw. For world evangelisation, the best tool may often be business. I soon discovered that carrying a business card is a conversation starter, whereas saying ‘I am a missionary’ is a conversation-ender! Our Gospel is too powerful to lock up in traditional concepts of mission, church buildings and activities”.
BA Singapore has released some US$200,000 to support missions and missionaries globally. The investments prioritise business as mission start-ups with people whom their staff know and can relate to. These projects must have GC oversight and short-term initial support for missionaries from the developing world.
John concludes: “Our in-field companies have been only marginally profitable, and have not usually financially supported the field missionaries who have set them up. Viewed as business this is not great – but neither is the performance of many other businesses in our operating environments. The most important thing is that a range of ministries have been established without creating dependency or the need of donor funding”.
Clínica Bíblica: The Business of Healthcare; the Ministry of Healing
(a) Purpose, History and Structural Overview
The Clínica Bíblica Hospital and Medical Centre in San José, Costa Rica, has grown and adapted over 75 years to boldly proclaim the kingdom of God through improving the medical and spiritual well-being of a community in need. Clínica Bíblica (literally, ‘Bible-Based Clinic’) is a Christian ministry-become-enterprise that was originally founded 1921, by British missionary couple Harry and Susan Strachan. The Strachan’s arrived San José to focus on evangelizing a largely godless population. What they encountered was an infant mortality rate of 1 in 3 and a hungry and chronically ill child population in desperate need of medical care. Their vision soon expanded to improving the physical wellbeing of the population, especially its children.
From opening its doors in July 1929, the Clínica Bíblica committed itself to bringing medical care to the Costa Rican population regardless of race, religion, or ability to pay. Today, the original two-story building still stands in the shadows of the five story hospital, a twelve-story medical offices complex and a 180,000 square foot addition that will triple the size of the hospital when it is finished. This mammoth campus, in the centre of what is quickly becoming San José’s official medical district, is today’s Clínica Bíblica.
From day one the clinic encountered what many organisations with similar goals encounters: exponential demand versus limited resources. During the 1940s and 50s, Clínica Bíblica was able to play a key role, through the generosity of many Americans and the heart of many local professionals, in the expansion of medical availability in Costa Rica.
Additionally, the quality of the medical services at the clinic attracted even the wealthiest citizens in need of emergency procedures and routine care. For the first time, the doctors were able to charge a fee for services provided, and the ministry was no longer so largely dependent upon donations. This would prove to be crucial in later years. Even today, Christian or non-Christian, wealthy or poor, residents from anywhere in the country will tell you that Clínica Bíblica is simply the best medical care there is in Costa Rica.
During the early years, the operations and finances depended largely on one woman from Winnipeg Canada. Dr. Marie C. Cameron who served as chief surgeon at the hospital for thirty-six years. Her decision to retire in 1968 left a seemingly bottomless hole. Faced with financial and missiological crisis, the decision was made by the largely North American leadership to close the hospital in one month. It was at this crossroads that a crucial decision had to be made that would affect the hospital for decades to come. The question was: Is the quality medical care and excellent medical training that Clínica Bíblica provides so valuable to Costa Rica that the local community will be willing to direct as well as fund the clinic themselves? The answer: Yes, it was.
The funds were raised in under thirty days and, with great reservation, the hospital was turned over for the first time to Costa Rican ownership. In 1968, Clínica Bíblica came under the direction of the newly formed ASEMECO (Costa Rican Medical Services Association). The board of volunteers is largely Costa Rican and is responsible for all ASEMECO decisions. It exists to grow and sustain the hospital and all its other ministries to meet the medical and spiritual needs of Costa Rican citizens.
Today, the majority of patients arrive not in taxis or luxury cars at the front doors of the hospital, but by public buses coming from the various neighbourhoods and slums surrounding the city. These poor (and often refugees from nearby countries) who fall through the cracks of the national Social Security system, enter Clínica Bíblica’s doors to receive the medical care they are prevented from receiving at a state hospital. Quite simply, Clínica Bíblica’s policy is not to deny medical care to anyone, regardless of citizenship or financial ability.
The hospital is open twenty-four hours a day, filling prescriptions, performing surgery, or fighting cancer. This kingdom work expands beyond the borders of medicine. On the second story of the hospital is the chaplain’s office, who leads staff Bible studies and makes daily visits to patients’ rooms for prayer. There is also an in- house beauty salon. The clinic believes that those who look good, feel good, and it strives to meet all physical needs of the person during their stay in the hospital.
With so much ‘charity,’ how does Clínica Bíblica remain financially sustainable? This is the key: Those who can pay for the medical services and medication they receive do pay. They will pay, because they want the best. From there, people pay on a sliding scale according to ability. The combined income from every department, laboratory and farmacía in the ASEMECO network, as well as reimbursements from the Social Security department of the Costa Rican government, are enough to subsidise the medical care of all needy patients. One third of income goes towards building and maintenance costs, one third goes towards medical equipment and one third goes to fund other medical or social action ministries throughout the community directed or supported by ASEMECO. As an example, during the Fiscal Year 2003, ASEMECO generated $20.6 million. The five year average had been $15.7 million. After supporting its many dependent community ministries and subsidising thousands of patients, ASEMECO earned nearly $1.6 million in profits.
(b) Lessons to learn from Clinica Biblica
- Unashamed presentation of the gospel — proclaiming the Kingdom of God will be accepted (tolerated at least) if the product or service provided is the best available
Several years ago, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new hospital expansion, the President of Costa Rica turned over one shovel of dirt. Gospel tracts produced by the clinic are displayed prominently at every admissions desk, yet over one hundred non-believing doctors still come to work each day. Why? Because Clínica Bíblica offers the best medical care available. Much of this case study comes back to this reality, but it cannot be overstated for the simple reason that being the best in an industry opens financial, governmental and influential doors that few other attributes can.
- Incorporating non-Christian workers into an evangelical Christian enterprise environment can maximize performance and create internal witnessing opportunities
Surprisingly, only half of the medical staff employed by the clinic profess to be evangelical. Faith is not the deciding factor for employment. For Clínica Bíblica to hire only evangelicals would compromise the quality of their service and eliminate a key ministry to many of Costa Rica’s most successful medical professionals. The desire of ADEMESCO is to hire the best professionals available and to integrate them into an overtly evangelical environment. This is, in itself, an internal ministry of the hospital.
Roblealto chicken farm and children’s ministry in San José, closely linked with Clínica Bíblica in community outreach efforts, also employs hard-working believers and non-believers alike. Roblealto invites them into a Christian environment where they are exposed to weekly Bible studies, daily prayer and the personal witness of dozens of co-workers who view their job as their ministry. Obviously, there are some positions in these ministries —especially Roblealto children’s ministry, for example, where evangelical Christian workers are essential to the mission of the enterprise.
- Implement local leadership at all levels of the organisation and intentionally transition to local leadership over a period of time
From the outset, local Costa Rican women with hearts for the mission of the clinic volunteered their time and services to assist as nurses especially in the areas of surgery and gynaecology. Taking advantage of this willing workforce, but very aware of its narrow skills base, the hospital opened a nursing school less than ten years after the inauguration of their first facility. As the hospital has grown, so has the nursing school. Today, the school is looked upon as Clínica Bíblica’s greatest contribution to Costa Rican healthcare. Numerous other medical missions around the world have failed or dropped into obscurity over the decades as the stream of North American medical professionals has dried up. Graduating and employing a constant supply of new Costa Rican nurses ensures a workforce that, by the nature of their education, is equipped to meet the high standards of the clinic. This educational opportunity alone is a kingdom-building activity and is beneficial to the longevity of the hospital.
Despite early reliance on foreign leadership, the hospital has empowered Costa Ricans in key professional positions within the organisation and it so commended itself to influential figures in the local community, that these individuals felt comfortable asking for control of the enterprise when the crisis came in 1968. Without the Strachans, Cameron, or other early professionals, the Costa Ricans would never have learned the skills they needed to be able to practice excellent medicine and to earn money in the process.
- Subsidising goods and services for those who do not need a subsidy is not always appropriate
If Christian enterprises are going to enter a community with the intention of offering goods or services at a subsidised rate, they must carefully consider where that subsidy will come from. If it cannot come in part, from other members of the local population the enterprise may need to be re-evaluated. The litmus test for Clínica Bíblica’s price list is whether the highest rates charged for medical care are still reasonable. The popularity of the hospital among Costa Rica’s wealthy and the loyalty of patients even with the existence of the other private hospital indicates that they are.
- A Christian business can remain true to its original mission without compromising its growth, and vice versa
The original mission of the Strachans has been carefully and prayerfully maintained over seventy-five years. Clínica Bíblica’s desire to minister to the spiritual and medical needs of the Costa Rican community, without access to medicine, children especially, remains uncompromised to this day. That does not mean, however, that the clinic ministers only to this population. In 1968, part of the reasoning behind the initial decision to close the clinic was that the majority of Costa Ricans without access to medical care were living in the rural areas and mountains outside the city. The clinic, it was thought, should relocate to a rural area to avoid mission drift.
Rather, thanks to the last-minute financial support and united leadership of local medical professionals (the first ASEMECO board) the hospital found a different solution. Remaining in the city and ministering to the medical and spiritual needs of the urban population would sustain a stream of income that could be used to fund new and expanded medical ministries in the rural areas. Trying to fund a rural medical enterprise without income from the main downtown facility would have been nearly impossible. Since that critical year, ASEMECO uses one third of its income to support ministries of social action, rural medical assistance and training, children’s health, and evangelism – all Kingdom activities done in the name of Christ. Mission growth and mission drift are two different things. Often, mission growth may provide the capital and influence necessary to ensure that the original mission is met for years to come.
- Interest for the Kingdom of God at large demands that Christian enterprises partner with others of similar objectives whenever appropriate
The first and best example is ASEMECO’s partnership with Roblealto Children’s Ministry. Again, Roblealto’s mission is to minister to the spiritual and physical needs of Costa Rican children from broken homes or abusive situations. While not entirely self-sustaining and dependent upon large sums of donor support, much of Roblealto’s income comes from profits of a chicken-hatching operation under the same name that meets 85 percent of the Costa Rican demand for egg- laying chickens. How do these two Christian ministry-businesses work together?
Clínica Bíblica uses its medical expertise to meet the medical needs of Roblealto children and benefits by ministering to children they would not otherwise meet. Roblealto is able to more fully fulfil its mission by meeting immediate medical and nutritional needs of its children. For both of these organizations to refrain from cooperation would compromise the breadth of Clínica Bíblica’s ministry and the depth of Roblealto’s.
The biblical principles found in the literature of Clínica Bíblica are the same ones that are encountered in practice. They are able, while fully embraced by a modern secular society and government, to successfully and sustainably proclaim the Kingdom of God through economic and ministry activities that meet the very real spiritual and medical needs of their own people.
Appendix D. OBSTACLES AND SOLUTIONS TO BUSINESS AND CHURCH/MISSION PARTNERSHIP
In this exercise we were looking at barriers in terms of both perception and reality. We initially divided the Issue Group into I) business people and II) church/mission people to discuss obstacles and concerns from both sides of the existing sacred/secular divide. For some the distinction was false because they would have described themselves as either, but we asked them to choose which they most related to for the purpose of the discussion. We then mixed the groups and discussed solutions.
Obstacles Perceived by Business People:
What are the obstacles and concerns to partnership between missions, churches and business?
- Lack of clear lines of demarcation between what is business and what is church including lines of responsibility, accountability, expectations up front. Conflicts of interest of personnel involved in business between activities in church/ministry and time/money allocated to what they do.
- Control of the assets and operations of the business by the local church in the partnership.
- Misunderstanding of business concepts, especially profit which is perceived as bad or unholy. A feeling that money and profit are dirty, money is the root of all evil instead of the love of money and especially in an ex-communist society.
- Each side is intimidated by the other; business is intimidated by the spirituality of the church people.
- Different language, culture and work ethic, misconception that missionaries spend time praying and relating and will forgive if they are cheated while business people are tougher and want things done.
- High expectations on the business as mission person by the church, that he should give away all his profits as opposed to recognizing it as a ministry in itself.
- Misconception of business by the church in terms of being seen as only providing finances or serving on committees or should give free services to the church, etc.
- In some countries, business people are using their status in the church for their own commercial purposes instead of spiritual purposes.
- Business and church would each want the best people – competition.
- Potential conflicts related to mixing of money from non-profit/church with business. Jeopardizing tax-free status of the non-profit will complicate matters.
- Pressure of needing to be accountable for how many souls are saved as business as mission company reports to the home or local church.
- Holistic mission is not readily understood among the clergy, dualism is ingrained and perpetuated by pastors in their seminary training and clergy may be too busy to try to understand holistic mission concepts.
Obstacles Perceived by Church/Mission People
What are the obstacles and concerns to partnership between missions/churches and business?
- Seminaries reinforce the sacred – secular and clergy – laity dichotomy.
- Spirituality and poverty in some places are closely associated (e.g. Latin America) so poverty may be spiritualized.
- Tendency towards ‘independent types’ running business (entrepreneurial spirit) can often result in the lack of association, affiliation and partnership or a sense of belonging to a bigger movement or a church, church planting movement, mission agency etc.
- Business people in other nations tend to go to international churches rather than local churches.
- Business people do not learn the local language or the cultural context at a deeper level.
- Whoever has the money holds the power, shown in cases of pastors not challenging morality or ethics of business people, projects stand or fall with the nod of a businessperson, board members who do not know missiological issues, but have the money-take-project decisions.
- Mutual lack of respect for each others gifting.
- Discrepancies of lifestyle between pastors and business people.
- Business people don’t tend to talk about structural sin very much. Latin American churches see structural sin challenged in the Bible and talk about it, there is a ‘disconnect’ between first world business people and this perspective in the developing world.
- Dilemma of whether an economic solution should be used for a ‘biblical’ problem.
- Church has little business experience.
- Business is essentially ‘survival of the fittest’, individualistic and this is opposite to the faith, which is inclusive.
- Bad experiences of the wrong mixing of church and business matters have soured things. This is a historical fact.
- A need not to polarize pastors and business people because there are pastors who are both business people and also pastors. We need to acknowledge this. There are models of this in Africa.
- Mission agencies and churches feel it is their responsibility to do mission so there can be an obstacle in seeing a businessman with a different lifestyle doing mission.
Suggested Solutions to the Obstacles and Concerns
From mixed groups of business people and church/mission people:
- Just as we pray for regular missionaries, we should pray collectively for successful Business as mission efforts
- Make it clear who determines which ministries are blessed by profits of a business as mission company. Should the church of the business person be involved in determining where the money goes?
- Need to build bridges between churches and businesses, start at the local church level within congregations.
- Examine the areas where both groups can help each other. Run a business as mission course in seminaries and at the local church level. Teach about God’s word in the marketplace and its applications.
- Secular – spiritual dichotomy can be addressed at the grassroots level. business as mission business people have to disciple other ‘business as mission’ business people.
- Need for ‘one-on-one’ dialogue between business people and church and mission people rather than organization to organization. Not a debate but a dialogue.
- The money that is wanted by the church should be addressed up front by the business. Business never asks money from the church so it should be same vice versa.
- It is a good idea for the church to validate that the business can use its profits for good works in the community. That this is an appropriate use of the profits. This does not refer to tithing.
- Seminaries have addressed business as mission – setting models, training individuals and in some countries having teachers/leaders partially or fully supported by business.
- In seminaries, successful business people who have seen business as mission working should teach it.
- At the mission agency level business as mission should be taught by practitioners.
- Recognize that there are two cultures – business and mission, we should be applying the cross-cultural missiological methods that we know!
- Take business as mission people, pastors and theologians to business schools to help them understand the ethical issues. Help business people catch a vision for the need.
- In the seminary or business school you should have a business as mission practitioner and a theology teacher teaching side by side.
- Business as mission people and other lay people should teach – empower laity.
- Money be given anonymously so no one feels they have the right to pull strings and exert authority.
- Business people should assimilate themselves into the local community so they are accepted by the local church. For example, some contexts local churches have to invite you to attend, a business person has a good opportunity to be invited by a local church because they are assimilated into the community, they relate with the locals.
- Rather than follow the Western church model of full time minister as an ideal, look for leadership in the local church to model Ephesians 4:12.
- Training programs, case studies, demonstrations of appropriate use and levels of profit.
- Pastors could go to businessmen asking how they could help them fulfil their ministry or add to their business as mission ministry instead of businesspeople fulfilling a role in the church.
- Integration, accountability and the need for transparency. The need for team building where business people and mission people work together to encourage integration between the
Appendix E. CASE STUDY OF MISSION AGENCY INVOLVEMENT IN BUSINESS AS MISSION
Christian Missionary Fellowship International
CMF International, which is fifty-five years old, became involved in what we called “bi-vocational missions” a dozen years ago. Admittedly, we knew very little about business when we started and our earliest adventures included subsidised employment opportunities (teaching English) as a visa platform involving a valid and easily understood way to link with people for witness in restricted access nations.
Our personnel had ESL certification at the college level and held down real jobs.
We determined to form a separate, but closely linked, not-for-profit agency whose name did not include any Christian terminology. Since a major purpose of this agency would involve business, we did legal research on the question of taxation for profit ventures within the non-profit realm. The new agency has its own headquarters; has a separate slate of officers; receives funding from donors; and we have included staff at the new agency who have successful business experience, (i.e. volunteers who had opted for early retirement or who do not need full time jobs).
Our staff have taken the business as mission message to the churches that support our agency. Business people have responded with enthusiasm. We have scheduled short-term trips with these people to lecture in national universities and other settings, to evaluate business opportunities, and to help us partner with and establish several businesses. Others with business experience have helped us write or evaluate business plans.
We have forged a link with a strong campus ministry at a US technology- based university from which we recruit people to work in our businesses overseas. Some of our traditional missionaries have been “re-tooled” and now function in established business as mission roles. One dentist with African missionary experience now runs a profitable and government approved dental clinic on another continent, with proceeds from the business used to aid the persecuted church.
One of the businesses with which we are involved is a chemical processing venture. Our capital outlay is but a small portion of this multi-million dollar facility, but this investment allows us to place personnel in the facility to be directly involved with the local workers, their families and their communities. Another business just starting is a physical fitness and learning centre in an urban city in Asia. We also have a specialised rock-crushing venture that links an indigenous church, a well-established overseas company, and foreign mission personnel who are focused on an unreached Muslim people group.
Our personnel overseas are members of teams and are linked with team leaders for member care (in country if possible, otherwise via regular personal visits). Supervision comes from their team leader or an appointed work supervisor. Our home-based staff are involved in recruiting, screening, training and supporting personnel. Accountability and operations are shared by the traditional mission agency staff and the business as mission staff. We have not written new policies and procedures for our business as mission efforts, but we do revise our traditional missionary procedures to fit our business as mission personnel.
One of the markers of a business as mission project is financial viability over time. In most of our business ventures, we are at the front end of the process. These businesses are only in the first couple of years of operation. Two are already profitable. Our Board has developed an “excess profits” policy that ties such profit directly to related ministry efforts. Indeed, each venture has a culturally relevant ministry plan that is equally as important as its business plan.
Not every traditional mission agency should become involved in business as mission, whether for reasons of divine call, resistance from staff or donors, ability to undertake business ventures, or experience. Within our mission, we have encountered some resistance from Board members, missionaries, churches and home staff. However, we have persevered by including the business as mission strategy along with the other mission strategies.
Our Board of Directors, together with spouses and agency staff, scheduled a Board meeting in a “closed-country” specifically to try to understand some of the challenges that exist in a context where business as mission represents the strategy of choice. We heard reports from our various business partners as well as case studies from other business as mission efforts. Following the meeting, on-site visits were made to our business as mission projects.
Business as mission is but one approach to countries inaccessible to traditional missionary methods. There are opportunities for linking with the local church and partnering with local believers. Our mission’s strategy in such contexts has involved ministry through humanitarian, educational and business spheres.
(b) What Next?
Initial start-up capital for business efforts need not only come from venture capitalists. We have found that churches, usually larger churches, become energized about business as mission and are willing to contribute funds if they can see a missional purpose. There is much than can be done.
We need time to demonstrate the on-going financial viability of our ventures and we need to more fully develop the policies and procedures that relate to profit in the not for profit sector. We need to recruit additional professional people with mission interest who will live in cross-cultural settings and to evaluate their effectiveness in the holistic integration of business and mission.
In business as mission efforts, business people may need to be reminded to seek interaction with traditional mission personnel.
Appendix F. RESOURCE DIRECTORY
The resources compiled in this document are classified in the following categories.
II. Articles and Papers
III. Organisations, Networks and Web Links
IV. Training Institutions
V. Additional Tools
Befus, David R. Kingdom Business: The Ministry of Promoting Economic Development. Miami:Latin America Mission, 2002.
Befus writes from his experience in integrating ministry with economic activity and presents five models of integration. Spanish and English translations.
Burkett, Larry. Business by the Book: The Complete Guide of Biblical Principles for the Workplace. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1998.
Practical advice for how to apply biblical principles to business operation and management.
Bussau, David, and Russell Mask. Christian Micro enterprise Development: An Introduction. Regnum Books, 2003.
A handbook to equip practitioners and donors to build Christ’s Kingdom through Christian MED. Compares Christian MED case studies to secular practices.
Cleveland, Paul, Gregory Gronbacher, Gary Quinlivan, and Michel Therrien. A Catholic Response to Economic Globalization: Applications of Catholic Social Teaching. Grand Rapids, MI.: Acton Institute, 2001.
Gives a Catholic perspective on globalisation and a Christians responsibility in today’s global marketplace.
Chan, Kim-kwong, and Tetsauno Yamamori. Holistice Entrepreneurs in China: A Handbook on the World Trade Organization and New Opportunities for Christians.
Pasadena, CA.: William Carey International University Press, 2002.
Practical information on the economic changes taking place in China and the opportunities for Christian business entrepreneurs being created.
Danker, William. Profit for the Lord. Eugene, Oreg.: Wipf & Stock, 2002, originally published by Eerdmans, 1971).
Economic activities of the Moravian Mission movement and the Basel Mission Trading Company, gives a comprehensive history and draws conclusions to learn from for today’s business-as-mission activities.
de Soto, Hernando. The Mystery of Capital, Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else. New York, NY: Basis Books, 2000.
Examines the problem of why some countries succeed at capitalism and others fail. He finds a link to the legal structure of property and property rights of each nation..
Gibson, Dan. Avoiding the Tentmaker Trap. Ontario, Canada: WEC International, 1997.
Practical guidance for the prospective tentmaker, including a comprehensive resource list of books and organisations.
Gnanakan, Richard S. Work in God’s World: Insights into a Theology of Work. Bangalore, India: Theological Book Trust, 2003.
Theological reflections on work from an Indian perspective.
Greene, Mark. Supporting Christians at Work: A Practical Guide for Busy Pastors.
London: London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, 2001.
Grudem, Wayne Business for the Glory of God: The Bibles Teaching on the Moral Goodness of Business. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2003.
Examines how business, in particular ownership, employment, profit, money, inequality of possessions, competition etc. may glorify God.
Hamilton, Don. Tentmakers Speak: Practical Advice from Over 400 Missionary Tentmakers.
Duarte, CA.: TMQ Research, 1987.
Research led book sharing insights from tentmakers’ real life experiences.
Available at www.intent.org
Hammond, Pete, R. Paul Stevens and Todd Svanoe. Marketplace Annotated Bibliography: A Christian Guide to Books on Work, Business and Vocation. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002.
Comprehensive listing of 1200 books on marketplace-faith integration. The authors include a historical survey of the marketplace-faith movement and a variety of thematic indexes.
Hill, Dr. Alexander. Just Business – Christian Ethics for the Marketplace. Downers Grove, IL.: InterVarsity Press, 1997.
An introduction to business ethics and help for examining ethical issues that arise in any business development context.
Humphreys, Kent. Lasting Investments: A Pastor’s Guide for Equipping Workplace Leaders to Leave a Spiritual Legacy. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2004.
Rediscovering the common goals and visions that pastors and workplace leaders share. Steps for establishing and maintaining fruitful and powerful relationships.
Knoblauch, Dr. Jorg and Jurg Opprecht. Kingdom Companies: How 24 Executives Around the Globe Serve Jesus Christ Through Their Businesses. Self published, 2004.
Introduces kingdom companies – those businesses that operate on biblical values and as a means of spreading the gospel. Highlights principles for kingdom companies through short company profiles. (Contact: [email protected])
Lai, Patrick. Window Businesses: Doing Tentmaking in the 10/40 Window. Pasadena, CA:William Carey International University Press, 2003.
Practical guide for starting businesses as a tentmaker in countries at various economic stages.
Lewis, Jonathan, ed. Working Your Way to the Nations: A Guide to Effective Tentmaking. Downers Grove, IL.: InterVarsity Press, 1997.
A study guide and handbook on tentmaking, with a series of practical essays by experienced specialists. Available at www.tentmakernet.com – free to download in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean and Arabic.
Myers, Bryant Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 1999.
Theological basis for economic development and holistic mission, with discussion on the application of these principles.
Nash, Laura, Ken Blanchard and Scotty McLennan. Church on Sunday, Work on Monday: The Challenge of Fusing Christian Values with Business Life. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001.
A guide to improving communication between the worlds of church and business. They draw on extensive research including case studies and interviews, and define the obstacles to such communication..
Novak, Michael. Business as a Calling: Work and the Examined Life. New York, NY: The Free Press, 1996.
Examines the interplay between religion and business and the effect on the moral and social condition of a nation.
Ogden, Greg Unfinished Business: Returning the Ministry to the People of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003.
Advocating a lay driven model of ministry, he sets out important movements for the church to be able to her to place ministry back in the hands of the people:
Passive to active · Maintenance to mission · Clergy to people of God Teacher/caregiver to equipping enabler.
Olsen, J. Gunnar. Business Unlimited: Memories of the Coming Kingdom. ICCC, 2002, Scandanavia Publishing House, 2004.
The autobiography of Gunnar Olson, founder of the International Christian Chamber of Commerce. A story of an intimate walk with God which has lead to the author being used to influence nations. Available at www.iccc.net.
Prahalad, C.K. The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits. Upper Sadle River, NJ: Wharton School Publishing, 2005.
The relationship between business and development in developing nations. Examining the entrepreneurial ability and buying power of the poor.
Rundle, Steve, and Tom Steffen Great Commission Companies: The Emerging Role of Business in Missions. Downers Grove, IL.: InterVarsity Press, 2003.
Introduces principles for Great Commission Companies in the context of globalisation. Provides five case studies from businesses involved in mission.
Sherman, Doug, and William Hendricks. Your Work Matters to God. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1987.
Clearly sets out theological basis for work having intrinsic value in itself and in contrast to the ‘sacred-secular dichotomy’.
Silvoso, Ed. Anointed for Business: How Christians Can Use Their Influence in the Marketplace to Change the World. Ventura, CA.: Regal, 2002.
Silvoso shows how ministry in the marketplace should go hand in hand with building God’s kingdom and transforming society. He urges the church to overcome the barriers that remain to integrating business and ministry.
Schlossberg, Herbert, Ronald J. Sider and Vinay Samuel, eds. Christianity and Economics in the Post-Cold War Era. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1994.
Developed from the second Oxford Conference on Christian Faith and Economics, this book reproduces the 1990 Oxford Declaration itself and eleven critical responses on the subject of Christian faith and economics.
Stevens, R. Paul. The Other Six Days: Vocation, Work, and Ministry in Biblical Perspectives. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1999.
Explores the theological, structural and cultural reasons for the divide between those who “do” ministry and those to whom it is “done”. Stevens shows that the clergy-laity division has no basis in the New Testament and challenges all Christians to rediscover what it means to live daily as God’s people.
Suter, Heinz and Dr. Marco Gmur. Business Power for God’s Purpose. Greng, Switz.:VKG Publishing, 1997.
Introduction to the role of business in the task of world evangelisation, including history and ethics and some cases. Concludes with some principles for application.
Swarr, Sharon B. and Dwight Nordstrom. Transform the World: Biblical Vison and Purpose for Business. Center for Entrepreunership and Economic Development, 1999.
A Biblical introduction to the domain of business followed by some practical guides and principles for developing ‘Great Commission businesses’. Available at www.ceed-uofn.org.
Tongoi, Dennis. Mixing God with Money: Strategies for Living in an Uncertain Economy. Nairobi: Bezelel, 2002.
Examines the biblical view of money, taking into consideration some of the unique dynamics of managing finances in the Third World. Tongoi considers the socio-economic context of Africa, such as demands of the extended family and the lack of access to credit. Available at www.harvestfoundation.org/kenya.htm.
Tsukahira, Peter. My Father’s Business. Self-published, 2000.
Guidelines for ministry in the marketplace, drawing from authors experience as both a pastor and business leader.
Willard, Dallas. The Spirit of the Disciplines. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1991.
The application of the spiritual discipline for the Christian disciple.
Includes a chapter on the question ‘Is Poverty Spiritual?’.
Wilson, J. Christy, Jr. Today’s Tentmakers. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1979.
Introduction to the idea of tentmaking from one of the founding fathers of the modern tentmaking movement.
Yamamori, Tetsunao. Penetrating Missions’ Final Frontier: A New Strategy for Unreached People. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
Yamamori presents a challenge for tentmakers to go out into places other missionaries cannot, all in the light of the remaining task of world missions.
Yamamori, Tetsunao, and Kenneth A. Eldred, eds. On Kingdom Business: Transforming Missions Through Entrepreneurial Strategies. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003.
Divided into three parts: casestudies, essays and conclusions, this is a thorough introduction to the concept of kingdom business from a broad range of experienced contributors.
II. Articles and Papers
Baker, Dwight. “William Carey and the Business Model for Missions.” Unpublished manuscript (2001). Available at www.globalconnections.co.uk/pdfs/careybusinessbaker.pdf.
Chan, K.C. and Scott McFarlane. “Business-as-missions: Stewardship and Leadership development in a global economy” at Christian Business Faculty Association annual conference, Northwest Nazarene University (October, 2002). Available at in[email protected]
Christensen, Derek. “Training Endurance Food for Serious Tentmakers.” in International Journal of Frontier Missions 14:3 (1997)133-138. Available at www.ijfm.org
Cope, Landa. “Economics: Old Testament Template” Unpublished manuscript. Available at www.ottemplate.org.
Cox, John. “The Tentmaking Movement in Historical Perspective.” in International Journal of Frontier Missions 14:3 (1997) 111-117. Available at www.ijfm.org
Daniels, Denise, Tim Dearborn, Randel S. Franz, Gary L. Karns, Jeff Van Duzer and Kenman L. Wong. “Toward a Theology of Business” at The Fifth International Symposium on Catholic Social and Management Education, Bilbao, Spain (July, 2003) Available at The Center for Integrity in Business, Seattle Pacific University – www.spu.edu/depts/sbe/cib/scholarship_cib.htm#papers
Dean, Judith. “Why Trade Matters for the Poor” at 20th Anniversary Conference Association of Christian Economists, Washington, DC (January, 2003). Available at www.ec-i.org/articles.htm
English, David. “Paul’s Secret: A First-Century Strategy for a Twenty-first-century World” World Christian 14:3 (2001) 22-26.
Ewert, Norm. “The Role of Business Enterprise in Christian Mission” in Transformation 9 (1992) 7-14.
Grenz, Stanley J. “God’s Business: A Foundation for Christian Mission in the Marketplace” in Crux 35:1 (1999) 19-25. Available from Regent College publications: www.gospelcom.net/regent/regentnew/crux/
Hagan, David. “Strategic Impact Through Multiplying Modular Business” in International Journal of Frontier Missions 15:1 (1998): 27-28, 46. Available at www.ijfm.org.
Hock, Ronald F. “The Workshop as a Social Setting for Paul’s Missionary Preaching.” in The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 14:3 (1979) 439-450.
Lai, Patrick. “Starting a Business in a Restricted Access Nation” in International Journal of Frontier Missions 15:1 (1998) 41-46. Available at www.ijfm.org.
.“Tentmaking: In Search of a Workable Definition” Unpublished manuscript (2000). Available at www.tentmakernet.com/articles.
Lupton, Bob. “Markets and Missions” at EC Institute (August, 2003). Available at www.ec-i.org/articles.htm.
Markiewicz, Mark. “Business-as-mission, or How two Grocers changed the course of a Nation” at Central Asia Business Consultation (1999). Published by Business Professional Network [email protected] or excerpts at
McLoughlin, Michael. “Back to the Future of Missions: The Case for Marketplace Ministry” in Vocatio (2000)1-6.
Llewellyn, David. “The Witness of Work: Business-as-mission” Unpublished manuscript (2004). Available at www.businessasmission.com/pages/papers_articles
McFarlane, Scott. Six Ways to get involved in the Business-as-missions Movement” in Regent Business Review 11 (2004). Available at www.regent.edu/acad/schbus/maz/busreview/articlesindex.html
Morris, Robert. “Shrewd Yet Innocent: Thoughts on Tentmaking Integrity” International Journal of Frontier Missions 15:1 (1998) 5-8. Available at www.ijfm.org.
Nordstrom, Dwight and Jim Nielsen. “How Business Is Integral to Tentmaking” in International Journal of Frontier Missions 15:1 (1998) 15-18. Available at www.ijfm.org.
Norrish, Howard.“Lone Ranger: Yes or No?” in Evangelical Missions Quarterly 26 (1990) 6-14. Available at www.wheaton.edu/bgc/EMIS/1990/loneranger.html
Packer, J.I. “The Christian’s Purpose in Business” in Richard C. Chewning, ed. Biblical Principles and Business: The Practice. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1990, 16-25.
Reapsome, Jim. “Paul: The Nonprofessional Missionary” Occasional Bulletin. (1997). Available at www.missiology.org/EMS/bulletins/reapsome.htm
Rundle, Steve. “Ministry, Profits and the Schizophrenic Tentmaker.” Evangelical Missions Quarterly 36:3 (2000) 292-300. Available at www.wheaton.edu/bgc/EMIS/2000/ministryprofits.html
Rundle, Steve and Tom Steffen. “Building a Great Commission Company” Regent Business Review 11 (2004). Available at www.regent.edu/acad/schbus/maz/busreview/articlesindex.html
Seibert, Dr. Kent W. and Scott McFarlane. “For the Love of Business: Demonstrating the Reality of God Through the Practice of Business” at The 20th Annual Christian Business Faculty Association Conference (October, 2004). Available at:
Siemens, Ruth E. “Why Did Paul Make Tents? A Biblical Basis for Tentmaking” in GO Paper A-1 (1998). Available at www.globalopps.org/materials.htm.
. “The Tentmakers and Their Churches: Mutual Responsibility” GO Paper A-9 (1997). Available at www.globalopps.org/materials.htm.
. “The Tentmaker’s Preparation for Work and Witness.” in GO Paper A- 5 (1997). Available at www.globalopps.org/materials.htm.
Schmidt, Karen. “Versatile Vocation – Using Marketplace Skills to Reach the World for Christ” in World Christian (1999) 31-33.
Stevens, R. Paul “The Marketplace: Mission Field or Mission?” in Crux 37:3 (2001) 7- 16. Available from Regent College publications: www.gospelcom.net/regent/regentnew/crux/
Swarr, Sharon B. and Dwight Nordstrom. “Best Practice for Business-as-missions” abbreviated from ‘Transform the World (1999). Available at www.tentmakernet.com/articles/bestpractise.htm
Taylor, Gary. “Don’t Call Me a Tentmaker” in International Journal of Frontier Missions 15:1 (1998) 23-24. Available at www.ijfm.org.
Tsukahira, Peter. “The Business of the Kingdom” Unpublished manuscript. Available at www.tentmakernet.com/articles.
Tunehag, Mats. “Business-as-mission” Unpublished manuscript (2001). Available at www.globalconnections.co.uk/pdfs/businessasmissiontunehag.pdf.
Warton, John H. Jr. “Employment and the Dignity of Life – the Economic Agenda of the Church” at Convention of Christian Businessmen in Panama (2002), and Argentina, (2003).
Wilson, J. Christy Jr. “Successful Tentmaking Depends on Mission Agencies” in International Journal of Frontier Missions 14:3 (1997) 141-143. Available at www.ijfm.org.
III. Organisations, Networks and Web Links
M = Mobilisation
N = Networking / Connecting
R = Resource Site
B = Have Businesses or Projects
T = Offers Training
S = Offers Services (other than educational)
MM = Marketplace /Workplace Ministry Site
MED = Christian Micro Economic Development Site
Advancing Churches in Missions Commitment – Business as mission – M / N / T www.acmc.org/bam
ACMC – Business as mission provides training and resources to equip mission pastors with the Biblical understanding that business people have a calling to their workplace both locally and globally. ACMC – Business as mission will work with mission committees and mission pastors to establish BAM programs in the local church
Bridge Builders International – M / N / B www.bridgebuildersint.com
A core ministry of BBI is Economic Development projects in the Baltic region.
Business as mission Resource Centre – Youth With A Mission – N / R www.businessasmission.com
Collection of resources for all those interested in Business-as-mission. Home to comprehensive lists of books, articles, web links and toolboxes. Also contains Guidelines for YWAM staff for business projects. A regularly updated copy of this paper and resource directory will be available at this site.
Business Professional Network – M / N / B www.bpn.org
Seeks ways to encourage and support others in the task of “missions through business.” Connects western world business resources with needs and opportunities in the developing world. See also BPN AG.
Centre for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development – T / R www.ceed-uofn.org
CEED has resources for people who have a call to disciple nations through the sphere of business. CEED offers ‘Frontier Business Creation’ seminars.
Christian Transformation Resource Centre – N / R / S / MED www.ctrc-cmed.org
Comprehensive resources for equipping Christians in the strategy of Christian micro enterprise development. Lists of organisations, networks, articles and resources.
Christian Missionary Fellowship International – M / B www.cmfi.org
Uses business development as a mission’s strategy.
EC Institute – M / N / T / R / S www.ec-i.org
EC Institute seeks to educate, equip, mobilise and connect Christian business owners, professionals and business/engineering students for business-as- mission. EC Institute does this through written resources, vision trips, training programs, conferences/ seminars/ workshops, internships and semester programs.
Ethnic International and Ethnic US exist to assist in economic development in emerging nations through the creation of businesses. They offer training with a special focus on French speaking countries.
Equip – M / T / S
They equip believers to transform societies, primarily by working with mid- market companies. Equip offers opportunities to become involved, including training, to go on consultancy trips.
Evangelistic Commerce – N / B www.evangelisticcommerce.org
Evangelistic Commerce works at bridging the gap between business and mission by using commerce to establish value added, large scale businesses that are blessing an economy through wealth creation, thereby creating a sustainable witness for Christ.
[email protected] equips and encourages company leaders to operate their businesses and conduct their personal lives according to biblical principles.
Global Disciples Network – Creative Access Associates – N / M / R www.globaldisciples.org
Brings together churches, mission agencies, businesses and concerned individuals to find ways for Christians to access restricted areas using economic development opportunities. Categorised list of weblinks to country, people group and mission research information.
Global Hand – S / N
Redistributes goods that are no longer needed by their original owners. Hold inventory list of equipment that may be of benefit to those starting businesses to save capital.
Global Opportunities – N / M / T / R www.globalopps.org
Helping Tentmakers disciple the Nations. GO has free Tentmakers Training and Articles available on it’s site, plus tentmaking stories, news, events and other resources.
IMPACT Center – M / N / T
IMPACT Center has a vision for mobilising business people – by networking with the global body of Christ and helping people to bring societal change in the nations. Yearly business seminar, with teaching and opportunities for trips.
Integra Venture – B / S / MED www.integra.sk
Integra is a Central and Eastern European co-operative initiative which helps grow small businesses. They help local entrepreneurs succeed, enabling them to become agents of community transformation.
Intent – N / R / MM / S
Intent’s vision is to network kingdom professionals for global impact. Resources for kingdom professionals serving at tentmakers. List of links to organisations and tentmaking opportunities.
International Christian Chamber of Commerce – N / T
The vision of ICCC calls for a world-wide network of committed businesspeople in contact with each other, exchanging ideas, products and services; and thereby, proclaiming the rightful authority of Christ to the world at large.
International Coalition of Workplace Ministries – R / T / N / S / MM www.icwm.net
ICWM is a network of workplace ministries with one common goal – to transform the workplace for Christ. Comprehensive directory of organisations, events, articles and publications related to integrating faith in the marketplace.
InterVarsity Ministry in Daily Life – R / MM www.ivmdl.org
IVMDL Resource Group exists to help the church recover the biblical truth that God calls all Christians to minister daily in the places they live and work. Contains directories, bible studies, book lists, articles, casestudies.
Jubilee Action – N / B
Jubilee Action’s work includes the Business Partnerships concept – Jubilee Action is re-defining how charities tackle poverty by using effective business partnerships with local people, to develop significant commercial ventures that will transform poor communities.
Kenya Investment Trust – N / S [email protected]
KIT seeks to reduce poverty among Kenyans through access to business credit, provision of business training, counselling, mentoring, lobbying and advocacy for an enabling environment and facilitating networking of local and international businesses guided by the principles of Jesus Christ.
Kingdom Business Forum – M / N
KBF exists to advance the concept of kingdom business. Through KBF, investors, entrepreneurs, business professors and students, and mission leaders can come together to share information. Regular teaching and equipping events.
Leaders GIFTS – T
Leaders GIFTS produces specialised media training resources for leadership development and services in all spheres of society
Marketplace Leaders – R / S / MM www.marketplaceleaders.org
Marketplace Leader’s purpose is to help men and women fulfil their God- given calling in and through their work life. They offer teaching, equipping services and resources.
Menonite Economic Development Associates – B / M / S / MED www.meda.org
MEDA is an association of Christians in business and the professions committed to addressing human needs around the world through business-oriented economic development programs, and to applying biblical teachings in the marketplace.
OPEN Networkers – N / T / S / R www.opennetworkers.net
OPEN exists to upgrade, serve and facilitate tentmakers who are currently on the field working among the least reached peoples of the world. OPEN provides a network for servicing and coaching tentmakers through relationships built on trust.
Partners Worldwide – M / B / N / T www.partnersworldwide.org
Partners Worldwide encourages and equips Christian business people to help the poor and each other in partnerships. List of opportunities to get involved.
Scruples – MM / N / R
Online marketplace community with numerous discussion forums and resources, including business-as-mission.
Strategic Christian Services – T / N www.gostrategic.org
Strategic Christian Services seeks to educate, train, and work with people who want to see transformation take place. They offer correspondence schools, seminars, educational products, and consulting services to churches, businesses, and governments.
Tentmakernet – N / R / M / S www.tentmakernet.com/index.html
Network of tentmaker mobilisers supporting national representatives.
Tentmakernet has resources, articles, details of events and a links list of most Tentmaking organisations.
Tentmakers International Exchange – N / M / T www.tieinfo.org
TIE’s aim is to be a service organisation for tentmakers, they mobilise, train and support Christians to use their vocations in ministry. They send a monthly email- newsletter.
Transformational Business Network – M / N / B / S www.tbnetwork.org
TBN is for those with a heart for using their business skills for God’s Kingdom – to bring spiritual and physical transformation where it is most needed. They offer short Exposure Trips on the field to link-up with projects. Annual impact conference.
Turkey Business Network – N / S Contact: [email protected]
Connecting kingdom companies in Turkey.
Uganda Bizzionary Network – M / N / S Contact: [email protected]
Connecting kingdom minded business people in Uganda.
World Partners – B / S
World Partners supports local initiatives in developing countries through entrepreneurial ventures with a Christian element. Assists national entrepreneurs who have a workable business plan with mentoring and capital.
IV. Training Institutions
ACTS Institute, India
Biola University, USA
Offers business-as-mission course modules.
Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College, USA
Resources and training courses for micro-enterprise and small business development.
Eastern University, USA
EC Institute, USA
Offers Global Business training and internship programs for senior and graduate level university students. Many participants receive college credit for programs.
The Macquarie Christian Studies Institute, Australia
MCSI offers programs in Market Place Theology.
Regent College, Canada
Offers Marketplace Ministries courses at the Marketplace Institute.
Regent University, USA
Singapore Bible College
Wheaton College, USA
Business-as-mission research focus with collaboration of missions and economics faculties. Also Centre for Applied Christian Ethics.
Whitworth College, USA
See School of Global Commerce and Management.
V. Additional Tools
Bi-Lingual Pro-Forma Business Plan in outline form for teaching and training purposes; available in English- Russian, English-Spanish from the Business Professional Network. www.bpn.org
Crown Financial Resources – online and training resources. Equipping people worldwide to learn, apply and teach God’s financial principles so they may know Christ more intimately, be free to serve Him, and help fund the Great Commission. www.crown.org
Dieu, L’argent, le Business et Nous (translated: God, Money, Business and Us): A series of seminars on cassette tape consisting of 3 sets in French from Ethnic International – Etienne Atger, Xavier Molinari and Wayne McGee. Contact: Ethnic International; c/o Xavier Molinari; 4, rue derriere les murs; 02570 Chezy sur Marne or [email protected]
Perspectives on the World Christian Movement – foundational training course introducing biblical basis for on world missions and what God is doing around the world. www.perspectives.org
Planning a Successful Small Business Seminar – A full outline of seminar can be found at the Scruples website. www.scruples.org/web/seminars/pssb.htm
Walking in Financial Freedom training course and other training resources by Earl Pitts. www.wealthrichesmoney.org
Appendix G. ENDORSEMENTS
“New leadership is needed in the 21st century, as we look at effective and holistic mission strategies. Business has historically been a key frontier in extending the Kingdom. The Lausanne think-tank has the potential of making a significant contribution to the churches rediscovery of empowering its business community to engage enthusiastically and proactively with its role in establishing the Kingdom of God on Earth!”
Stuart McGreevy, Chairman, TBN Transformational Business Network
“The use of business in global outreach is a strategy of choice for the context of the 21st century mission. People involved in entrepreneurial tentmaking, kingdom business, and transformational development through business, should partner with Mats Tunehag — a respected global mission leader — and his colleagues, as they are leading & organising a Lausanne think tank on Business as mission.”
Ted Yamamori, Lausanne International Director and Co-editor of On Kingdom Business: Transforming Missions Through Entrepreneurial Strategies
“Economic-based mission will bring a major change to the face of Christian missions, and it is more than just a new strategy—there is a promise connected to it: He who lends to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done (Proverbs 19:17). The Lausanne Think Tank will serve as a platform of mutual encouragement and inspiration. I am looking forward to be part of it.”
Jürg Opprecht, Founder & President BPN Business and Professional Network
“The Business as mission think tank is providing a wonderful opportunity for reflection on and inspiration for the creation and use of money (and “secular” work!) in the service of God. I enthusiastically endorse this project closely related to Jesus’ call to His disciples—to be “the salt of the earth”.
Rene Padilla, Argentinean theologian, missiologist, author and International President of Tearfund UK
“Business as mission is a relevant strategy to meet the challenges in the 10/40-window and beyond. The Lausanne think tank on Business as mission has significant potential of formulating practical approaches in support of God’s mission for the global church in the 21st century.”
Luis Bush, USA/Argentina Director, World Inquiry, founder of the AD2000 Movement
“As the market place is to the nations what the blood stream is to the body, created for its support and growth, businessmen and women are being called to embrace a new responsibility under God to transform the societies in world at large through creative acts of love. It is a call to fruitfulness and multiplication for the purposes of the Kingdom of God, and it is time for the poor and needy of the world to experience God’s love through business. This requires a release into a new dimension in our business experience in which corporate goals, strategies and plans become the outward manifestation of an inward walk of faith. Therefore, I warmly support Mats Tunehag and his colleagues, all respected global mission leaders, in their efforts in organising a Lausanne Think Tank on Business as mission.”
Gunnar Olson, Chairman and Founder of ICCC, International Christian Chamber of Commerce
“God has gifted some with the resources of mind and spirit to be businessmen and women. Business as mission seeks to support and encourage those who are gifted by God in this way. It aims to stimulate interest in, and commitment to, doing business as unto the Lord. Its desire is to assist business people to see the opportunities that exist, to use their skills and talents to bless those in the poorest and most needy parts of the world and to provide in those context credible opportunities to demonstrate and proclaim Christ. I warmly support this endeavour and the global think tank, recalling that in the earliest history of the Christian mission the saving news of Christ was often carried to new places by those who were seeking to do business.”
Harry Goodhew, Retired Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Australia