Should Business as Missions (BAM) receive missionary funding?

Updated: Nov 21, 2019






Key definitions:

Missions – is any cross-cultural ministry beyond the normal outreach of the local church which has as its purpose the fulfillment of the Great Commission by making disciples of Jesus Christ, intentionally contributing to the planting of churches and/or the training of indigenous leaders to do the same. We give priority to evangelism, discipleship, and leadership training aimed at establishing and strengthening local churches, especially where there is little or no access to a biblical understanding of the gospel.

Missionary – is a “sent one,” an individual especially selected, trained, and sent by their local church to minister across cultural and/or geographic and/or linguistic barriers with the purpose of establishing and strengthening biblical local churches through evangelism, discipleship, and leadership training. A missionary is providentially guided to missions commitment, selected, equipped and prepared under the leadership of their local church, communicates personal vision, develops and maintains a spiritual and financial support partnership, works under designated field authority, reports to sending constituencies, and fulfills field ministry objectives, strategies, and goals.

Business As Missions (BAM) – is the intentional use of business, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, and entrepreneurial relationships and opportunities by Christian practitioners for the purposes of Christian ministry goals. The concept has application to the domestic business environment for any Christians in the workplace. In missions, it can take many forms, e.g.:

  1. Seeking and accepting a placement assignment in a foreign country;

  2. Expanding a business to a selected cross-cultural location;

  3. Starting a business overseas;

  4. Starting a business or accepting a work contract in an

environment that has little or no access to the Gospel;

  1. Developing cross-cultural business relationships with goods

or services providers in a limited access country; and,

  1. Micro-enterprise, relief and community development, etc.,

aimed at reaching a particular people group otherwise unreachable by “open” Christian ministry.



Is BAM work “missions”?




How can we determine whether or not a BAM work is a church supportable missions ministry? Here are some distinguishing marks:



Issue



Business (not missions)



Missions via business



Initiative



The business venture was started by a company or individual apart from the church’s initiative or goals.



The business venture was started because of the church’s initiative or goals.



Accountability



The business and its goals and activities are under control of the individual or company that started it.



The business and its goals and activities are guided by and under the control of clear ministry objectives through the church and mission agency.



Worker Qualifications



Business oriented workers with no particular cross-cultural training, ministry training and experience, or calling to full-time service validated by the sending church. The worker/employee is a Christian but not considered a missionary .



Workers competent in business but having specialized training, ministry skills & experience, and calling validated by the sending church. The worker/employee is considered a missionary.



Financial Support



The business or employment opportunity rises or falls on its own merits apart from financial backing from the church. Fund raising from the congregation at large is not allowed.



The business or series of business opportunities may supplement or even eclipse the need for personal support for the missionary workers. Fund raising, as needed, through the Missions Team and as a missionary is allowed.



“Proceeds” and Equity



Proceeds and benefits belong to the owner and workers with no special obligation back to ministry or church connections. Equity belongs to the business owner .



Proceeds and benefits are expected to benefit the ministry and offset the need for church financial support. Equity may belong to the sponsoring agency or church.



Strategic Focus



Location and opportunities are chosen primarily for personal or business reasons with ministry involvement as a by-product.



Location and opportunities are chosen for strategic ministry focus reasons with business involvement as a means to those ends.

#BAM #businessasmissions #missions

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