Earlier this month, after two years of work, BAM Global published an Issue Group Report called Business as Mission: Unleashing the Power of the Congregation in the Marketplace. I had the privilege to serve as the Issue Group Facilitator, working with leaders from around the world who are passionate about BAM and the Church.
We believe that God established the Church as Christ’s body on earth to declare reconciliation and restoration to the nations, to creation, and to one another—and to do that every day of the week. This paper aims to rediscover the power, potential and synergy that flows out of the relationship between the local “church gathered” and the “church scattered” in the marketplace.
The BAM and the Church Issue Group focused on the role of business as mission in and through the local church. While the modern business as mission movement has been growing and expanding globally for several decades, much of this growth has been outside of local church contexts.
The BAM Manifesto
Yet the BAM Manifesto, published twenty years ago, thoroughly grounded this movement in the Church when it ended with these recommendations:
- We call upon the Church worldwide to identify, affirm, pray for, commission and release businesspeople and entrepreneurs to exercise their gifts and calling as businesspeople in the world—among all peoples and to the ends of the earth.
- We call upon businesspeople globally to receive this affirmation and to consider how their gifts and experience might be used to help meet the world’s most pressing spiritual and physical needs through Business as Mission.
To Build A Bridge Between Church Leaders and Marketplace Ministers
Our goal in this paper is to build a bridge between the leaders of local churches and those Christians called to be “marketplace ministers”—and to help them reengage and find common ground. To this end, we chose four areas to focus on:
- Overcoming Theological Hindrances: We examine some of the significant theological beliefs that have hindered the church from fulfilling its role as an equipper of disciples in the marketplace and we explore how to overcome them.
- Identifying Structural Obstacles: How the local church is structured has a significant impact on what it does or does not do, and we examine the impact of structure on message and methods.
- Recognizing Cultural Challenges: We acknowledge the marvel of the Church in its international and ethnic variety and examine some of the unique cultural challenges that impact various national and ethnic environments.
- Sharing Case Studies: We review case studies that illustrate the positive impact when the “church gathered” in local church communities and the “church scattered” in the marketplace in business reengage with one another.
At the end of the report, you will find recommendations and resources, including a self-assessment tool for both pastors or church leaders and church members.
Our prayer is that disciples of Jesus in the marketplace will be committed to making him known to the nations by word and deed. May the local church and the Church globally grow in its capacity to equip these disciples to be a light to the world in their companies and communities.