You’re saying, “Duh.” Yes, I knew that business as missions was a hot topic. But I had no idea just *how* hot until this past weekend when I called in favors from 3 co-workers in Team Expansion to help me lead a workshop on the topic at a major missions mobilization event in Tulsa, OK at the downtown convention center there. I had fully prepared myself for the possibility that, in the end, there might be more teachers than students. To my absolute surprise, well over 300 participants jammed into the standing-only crowd. My panelists did a great job — one having worked for 5 years as a business training consultant in a certain communist land with over 1 billion people, another having worked for 5 years designing services that benefit tourists in a North African land, and the final having worked for 7 years serving in a Southeast Asian land with an agricultural spin-off. We talked about all the obligatory topics: definitions, principles, options for getting started, overcoming hurdles, interfacing with governments, and more — the whole nine yards. But it was when we opened it up for questions for the last 25 minutes that I really saw the hunger. Many of those 300 folks were so eager to pick the brains of my panelists that when I would finally call on them, some would pump their firsts and whisper, “Yes!” then proceed to ask their question. And they were great questions, too, showing that they had traveled well, processed their input, and dreamed of the future.
Maybe this “BAM” thing is so hot because today’s twenty-something’s are eager to grasp the latest fad. But as for me, I think not. I think there are some concrete reasons. First, they’re all so concerned about ministry among the poor. Launching a BAM ministry seems somehow more noble to them than “mere” preaching & teaching Christ. Second, I believe the interest in unreached peoples has finally hit stride. They realize that they’ll *need* BAM to get into most of these least-reached locations. Third, it almost seems that today’s twenty-something’s have come to value more highly the *concrete* and tangible outputs of a BAM ministry. Let’s face it — many would say the days of going door-to-door with a correspondence course (like I did in Uruguay in 1982) has long-since passed. Today’s students want to solve felt-need community problems, like obtaining fresh water supplies, setting up community health outreaches, and launching farms.
Are you discovering similar (or contrasting) principles? What are *you* noticing as you travel and speak. And, if you’ve been involved (or are right now) in these sorts of outreaches, are you seeing it too? What benefits do you see to embracing Business as Missions for your project? What pitfalls are you seeing? Would you write a brief testimony (in as broad a’ terms as possible)
And what resources are you finding for B.A.M. For example, do these help?
http://www.tentmakernet.com/ — where you can download a free PDF copy of “Working Your Way to the Nations”, a 208-page treasure-trove of tentmaking & business as missions principles and practical helps
http://www.globalopps.org/books/index.htm — where you can see a complete book list of helps
http://www.businessasmission.com/pages/books — more of the above
http://www.businessasmissionnetwork.com/2007/07/ — to find a top-25 book list for BAM
http://www.godisatwork.org/ — modeled after the well-known book by the same name
To what other resource lists and options would you direct learners?
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