Business is an age-old practice but one that seems to have fallen mostly outside the parameters of modern mission thinking. But it wasn’t always like that. Paul as one of the original New Testament missionaries established a very good pattern as a maker of tents. William Carey, the father of modern mission, lived out this pattern in business too – first in the cobbler’s shop, then a printing press and other businesses he pioneered in India. And the Moravians of Eastern Germany let their business endeavours create a wide rage of mission opportunities.
So while Business as Mission (BAM) is really not a new paradigm of how to do mission, in today’s churches it requires a radical mind-set change. BAM is part of a new wave of mission methodology.
How does it work? Life in Asia and the Middle East is all about networks and business. Having a job/business gives credibility and having a business that creates local wealth gives influence. It is in this context that questions are asked and the good news spreads. Businesses that operate ethically always stand out, because how you do business is just as important as the business itself. The key to BAM’s success is rooted in the motivation behind it: when you operate the credible business with integrity, adding value to the local community, the ‘why’ question will always come up. The credibility from doing business is paramount, and relationships are the key.