Business as Mission
The Lausanne Business as Mission (BAM) issue network asks the question, ‘How can we shape business for God and for good—among all peoples?’
We have had two global think tank processes: Global BAM think tank #1 (2002-2004) and #2 (2011-2014).
The first one 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. It produced the first Lausanne Paper on BAM and the BAM Manifesto.
Some other major outcomes of the first global think tank:
- It helped to clarify and define what BAM is—and isn’t.
- It catalyzed BAM initiatives all over the world.
- It created a global network of BAM practitioners and thought leaders.
There is no one universally agreed definition for Business as Mission, but there are some key common denominators in the global BAM movement. The following is the working definition used by the second global think tank.
Business as Mission is:
- Profitable and sustainable businesses
- Intentional about Kingdom of God purpose and impact on people and nations
- Focused on holistic transformation and the multiple bottom lines of economic, social, environmental, and spiritual outcomes
- Concerned about the world’s poorest and least evangelized peoples
The purpose of the second global BAM think tank has been to invigorate the global Business as Mission movement, to equip and encourage those who want to serve God and the common good in and through businesses—among all peoples.
The Bible shows us God’s truth about human work as part of God’s good purpose in creation. The Bible brings the whole of our working lives within the sphere of ministry, as we serve God in different callings. The Cape Town Commitment II-A-3, II-A-7
To that end we launched over 30 national, regional and international working groups. Some of these groups focused on a particular issue in the Business as Mission movement, and others were concentrating on BAM in and from a particular region or country. Each group has produced papers, analyses, case studies, tools, and resource directories as a result of this dialogue.
The Think Tank project has resulted in a massive global gathering of both intellectual and social capital for the BAM movement. In addition to the written materials, we have built networks and have gathered together in person at the Leaders Forum and the Global Congress on Business as Mission, both held in Thailand in April 2013. The intention is to now share and disseminate these gathered resources as widely as possible.
Each report to be published is one in a series of papers from the BAM working groups. Hundreds of leaders in the BAM community from every continent have contributed to these reports that have been released from October 2013 and onward.
These reports are not the end or the final destination of the BAM think tank processes. We will continue to grapple with issues and address needs and gaps. Some groups will continue and new initiatives will emerge. More regional and global consultations will be held.