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What is Business as Mission?

Monday, August 04, 2014

Many business professionals and church leaders today are hearing of the term “Business as Mission” (BAM). While there are many variances to a perfect definition, I like the expression of J.D. Greear of the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC, “Christians in the marketplace today are able to gain access more easily to strategic, unreached places. Globalization, great advancements in technology and urbanization have given the business community nearly universal access.”

Greear reminds us that God has placed in his church the skills necessary to penetrate the most unreached parts of our world – and those skills are business skills. Business people should focus on a two-fold vision, “whatever you are good at, a) do it well for the Glory of God; b) do it somewhere strategic for the mission of God.”

Mats Tunehag, one of the leaders of the BAM movement suggests that Business as Mission (BAM) is simply “legitimate economic activity (business) by a workplace professional which serves as a vehicle for sharing the love of Christ…” He and the Lausanne committees on BAM insist that BAM activities must be profitable and sustainable, create jobs and local wealth; and produce spiritual capital (disciples of Jesus).

Such a definition would encourage one to think that BAM could, should and does take place in every workplace in the world where God’s people in business are faithfully living like Jesus and looking for ways to bring people to know him. And while to a certain extent that is true, BAM over the past 20 years has tended to think in terms of “developing impoverished” countries and unreached areas where Jesus is relatively unknown.

Three propositions may help to justify and explain the Business as Mission movement:

  1. The Sanctity of Work   It is important that we all have clarity on the biblical divine understanding that God is a God of work, and he intends his people to be workers (Genesis 1). We should not feel guilty or feel like second class Christians when we succeed in business; God expects us to drive for excellence, to be ambitious and to do “all for the glory of God”  (I Cor 10:31). While business and work can temp us to sin, work and business are fundamentally good and provide many opportunities to glorify God (See Business for the Glory of God, W. Grudem).
  2. The Christian at Work   This proposition suggests that Christians should engage in work like anyone else but live differently from everyone else. Christians work ethically, view their customers differently, love and serve others, seek justice and use their work to serve their communities. In so doing believers become a testimony and draw others to become followers of our Savior.
  3. Work and the Kingdom of God  The book of Matthew suggests that the kingdom of God is “not yet” (heaven) but also “here and now.” As we create jobs and wealth, we are advancing the kingdom of God which essentially is obedience to the Second Commandment (i.e.to love our neighbors). The Great Commission enjoins us to make disciples of “all peoples.” So the Christian businesses that we develop here in our home neighborhoods represent a transferrable model. We can participate in business startups, franchises, or multinational business efforts abroad in the developing world and all the while live like Jesus. That is Business as Mission.

Here is a quote from a recent memo from a friend who is a kingdom business entrepreneur in an Asian country: “Upon entering a local office where local authorities facilitate some aspects of our company, I saw my national friend who manages the office. Amidst the hubbub we greeted one another and caught up on personal news. Suddenly my friend asked, “Do you have a divine connection? I’m sensing a positive energy emanating from you and I don’t know what it is.”  Stunned, I replied, “ Well as a matter of fact, I do have a divine connection to Jesus!” I then went on to explain who Jesus is and His presence in my life. He listened intently. Something is happening in my friend’s heart and mind…something we believe that God is doing.”

So Business as Mission is not “business as normal.” Neither is it “missions as normal.” It is living out the commands of Jesus in the workplace: to love our neighbor and make disciples so individuals and communities are transformed – spiritually, economically and socially – for the greater glory of God and the establishment of his church.

Larry W. Sharp,  Director of Training – IBEC Ventures

IBEConnect July 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A NEW INITIATIVE - FREEDOM BUSINESS ALLIANCE  

In June, the core team of the Global BAM Think Tank on Human Trafficking came together for a face-to-face strategy meeting and produced the vision and structure for the newly-formed Freedom Business Alliance (FBA). FBA exists to promote and equip the global community of faith-based freedom businesses and ultimately endeavors to empower those who are trafficked and otherwise exploited to find sustainable freedom through enterprise. The core team will be conducting research, writing freedom business management resources and planning a kickoff conference. We are very eager and excited to come alongside the great work these groups are already doing and provide them with the tools they need, while also helping start ups think through business decisions.  

IBEC Ventures has been a key partner in prayer and financial contribution to make the FBA launch and strategy meetings possible, and the FBA team is looking forward to future collaboration. Thank you to IBEC and many others for joining us in this endeavor! 

- Marcia Leahy, for the team

WELCOME BOB BUSH, MANAGING DIRECTOR  

Last month we sent a press release announcing the selection of Bob Bush as the new Managing Director of IBEC Ventures. We look forward to his leadership and he gives us an introductory greeting here:  

      "Words cannot even begin to express how grateful and humbled I am to be a part of such an incredible team. Our desire is to use business as a tool to transform lives, families and communities, and to ultimately spread the Good News to unreached people all over the world. I have no doubt in my mind that we will continue to grow God's Kingdom, as we turn to Him regarding everything we do. Our team at IBEC Ventures is here to assist entrepreneurs who have a passion to operate sustainable ventures that live out the gospel...reaching the unreached is what we are all about!
      Please do not hesitate to contact any of us at IBEC Ventures if you have any questions at all. Thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to helping you in every way possible."

God bless, Bob

DIALOGUE WITH US...
The Business as Mission movement has seen encouraging success stories and much positive growth in the last fifteen years. As the movement continues to grow and more organizations and individuals engage with BAM as a powerful vehicle for Kingdom expansion, we are increasingly seeing the movement develop as a dynamic ecosystem. Take some time to...
 
Evaluate the implications of organizations pursuing Kingdom ends in BAM independently versus with a mindset of interdependency and collaboration.

Consider viewing organizations engaged in BAM as a value chain network, interconnected and with the ability to collaborate with other participants in Kingdom efforts.

We'd love to hear your perspective and dialogue further! Reach out to 
Gwen Rapp.
UPCOMING IBEC NEEDS

+  International tax, legal and accounting expertise
+  Engineer to draft medical facilities layouts

+  Financial analyst 
+  Grant strategist around international healthcare 
+  IT support and logistics
(Contact: Larry Sharp)

DID YOU KNOW?   

IBEC has a summer intern, Lindsey Blest, helping to establish and ramp up our social media platforms. Our next letter will detail more about these exciting developments. 

The BAM Think Tank offers some great papers on its website - check these resources out at www.bamthinktank.org. Go to Reports/New Papers.

The next OPEN Expo is coming up November 6-8 and we encourage you to participate. IBEC will also be holding some training sessions for our consultants who attend; contact Gary Willett for further information. Register for the main event here:  www.openexpousa.com.

+ IBEC is collaborating with the Global Enterprise Network (GEN) of the Navigators to develop a robust training program for consultants, coaches and mentors to missional entrepreneurs. A pilot program will be tested this year with the full launch scheduled for spring 2015. Thanks to Gwen Rapp for spearheading this.

Ken Leahy recently gave a presentation at a BAM conference on who IBEC is and what we do. See it on YouTube at: http://www.youtu.be/LfgNc8_GhpA.

The Barrington Group in China has a great clip which presents several elements of BAM. Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=illJc5lxEzA&feature=player_embedded


IBEC coordinates church seminars on themes of Business as Mission and helps provide on-ramps for people to engage in BAM. Contact Larry Sharp if you have an interest for your church, college, organization or business group. Examples of the seminar modules are available.

A REMINDER...which confirms the Triple Bottom Line

Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself…go and make disciples of all nations…”

Gallup world survey says, “…the single most searing, clarifying, helpful, world altering fact: what the whole world wants is a good job.” (Jim Clifton reporting on a worldwide survey in the book The Coming Jobs War).



 

 facebook.com/ibecventures 

twitter.com/ibecventures 

www.ibecventures.com | info@ibecventures.com

IBEC Ventures Appoints New Managing Director

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Perkasie, PA – The Board of Directors of IBEC Ventures announced in June 2014 that Mr. Bob Bush has joined the consulting firm as Managing Director. Mr. Bush comes from twenty-seven years of progressive and successful sales, marketing and business leadership positions. Most recently he served as Senior Director for Business Development for Daylight Solutions and was responsible for establishing strategic decisions and vision for the commercial division.

Mr. Bush holds an MBA from Regis University with work experience in multi-national, early stage and mid- size companies. He has significant experience in helping companies to grow through recruiting and personnel development, sales, strategic and tactical planning, training and policy development. A recent supervisor comments, “Bobʼs commitment to excellence, coupled with his integrity and work ethic, is second to none”.

Bob himself states, “I am extremely excited about this opportunity...my experience building businesses (both domestic and abroad) coupled with my genuine love of the Lord, will allow me to hit the ground running...” IBEC Board chairman, Don Worthington states, “I believe Bob is the right leader for IBEC Ventures as we enter our 7th year of business development around the world.”

IBEC Ventures has established itself as a consulting group focusing on business start ups in the most spiritually unreached and economically impoverished areas of the world. They provide consulting services to Kingdom For-Profit businesses aimed at producing reproducible models and local value through job creation and resource development, as well as followers of Jesus. IBEC serves the growing community of Business as Mission business owners and developers – all for the glory of God. 

IBEConnect April 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014
CAN YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE RELATIVE TO BUSINESS AS MISSION? 

+  Job Taker
+  Job Maker
+  Job Faker

(Answer at the bottom)

IBEC GROWTH  

IBEC is all about people – people overseas in need of Jesus and a better life; people running kingdom businesses; IBEC consultants and Subject Matter Experts; investors, donors, and the list goes on. 

One of those people who has been at the core of IBEC’s progress for the past seven years is Ken Leahy who has served as consultant, Director of Consulting Services, board member, and Interim CEO. Due to rapid growth in IBEC, Ken transitioned to full time consulting on April 1 and will continue as an IBEC advisor.  Board chairman, Don Worthington heads a search team for a new Managing Director with plans to have that person in place by June. 

We are delighted that Ken will stay connected and involved in the work of IBEC. Ken sends this encouragement --  

“I believe the Lord is opening up some great new areas of opportunity for the BAM community in the 10/40 window.  I see IBEC Ventures as being well positioned to contribute to those opportunities to use business to spread the gospel to the least reached peoples and to practice the great commandment to the least cared for people of that region.  I look forward with great anticipation to being part of what Jesus is doing through BAM and IBEC Ventures in the days ahead.”

The Leadership Team is stepping up and is insuring the same high level of service you have come to expect from IBEC. In addition, we are excited about continued growth with an increasing number of projects, enhancing our social media strategy, and also board development.  Larry Sharp will serve in a coordinating role for the next couple of months.  Gary Willet continues to serve as Director of Consulting Services; Jim Mayer, Director of Recruitment; Gwen Rapp, Consultant and Administrator; and Torrey Sharp, Director of Business Development.

Please mark November 6-8 on your calendar, which is the next OPEN Expo conference in Raleigh, NC  (www.openexpousa.com). IBEC will have a new wave of consultant training rolled out by then, thanks to much work by the Leadership Team.

HOW DO WE KNOW WE ARE SUCCEEDING?   
BAM companies and consulting firms (like IBEC) look for the triple bottom line.  Is the business becoming profitable and sustainable?  Is it providing social and community impact?  Is it living out kingdom values and making disciples of Jesus?

Here is a key indicator of spiritual progress from a tour company owner in Asia heavily impacted by IBEC consultants.

"Upon entering a local office where national people facilitate some aspects of our tour company, I saw my local friend who manages the office.  Amidst the hubbub we greeted one another and caught up on personal news.  Suddenly my friend asks, 'Do you have a divine connection? I’m sensing a positive energy emanating from you and I don’t know what it is.'  Stunned, I replied, 'Well, as a matter of fact, I do have a divine connection to Jesus!'  I then went on to explain who Jesus is and about His presence in my life.  He listened intently.  Something is happening in my friend’s heart and mind…something we believe God is doing."

KINGDOM BUSINESS OWNER (whose company is nearing profitability and sustainability)

UPCOMING IBEC NEEDS

+  International tax and legal expertise
+  Accounting
+  Marketing, social media marketing 
+  Grant strategist and writer 
+  IT and website development

(Contact: Larry Sharp at larry.sharp@ibecventures.com)

ANSWER...
A Job Taker is a professional person who takes a job (oftentimes with a large multi-national company) in a place unreached with the gospel so as to develop natural relationships for Christ and make disciples.

A Job Maker helps launch new job-creating businesses in unreached areas so as to create community value and make disciples of Jesus.  They may be entrepreneurs, business builders, coaches, investors or consultants.

A Job Faker enters an unreached country pretending to be someone he really isn’t.  This person usually has a missionary heart and skill but fakes it because missionary religious worker visas are not obtainable. 

IBEC's niche is in Job Making for Jesus. We do encourage Job Takers, but do not approve of Job Fakers.
A REMINDER...which confirms the Triple Bottom Line

Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself…go and make disciples of all nations…”

Gallup world survey says, “…the single most searing, clarifying, helpful, world altering fact: what the whole world wants is a good job.” (Jim Clifton reporting on a worldwide survey in the book The Coming Jobs War).



 

 facebook.com/ibecventures 

twitter.com/ibecventures 

www.ibecventures.com | info@ibecventures.com

An Architect and the Making of Disciples

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Many of us learn best through the narrative.  Stories demonstrate what we mean by "real business" and "real mission".  IBEC consultants helped this business in Asia to grow and develop.

An Architect and the Making of Disciples

Andrew is an architect. He loves boats and the water, and he owns a boat-building business in Asia, where he lives. Andrew also loves Jesus and wants more people in his country to follow Him.

Andrew is a legitimate business owner in this country.  Unlike most employers in the country, he is honest, fair, caring and supportive of employees, clients, vendors, tax authorities, accountants and neighbors. He can live out his faith in the workplace and use his profession to impact his staff of about 30 employees. In short, Andrew is “Jesus” to those who have never heard the good news.

When Andrew bought the business, there was not one employee who loved and followed Jesus. Recently I received this email from Andrew:

“A 56-year-old man just decided to follow Jesus and was baptized yesterday! He has a wife and two 20-something boys. He is a changed man and even his wife can see it. Please pray for him and his family, as I understand his wife will seek approval from her family to follow his ‘new faith’ in Jesus.”

Now Andrew has disciples on both sides of the cross — many following from afar and one following more closely. Andrew continues to run his business for profit, for creating jobs, and for making followers of Jesus.



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