There are many components to a startup anywhere in the world, but a business endeavoring to be a Kingdom company achieving the Quadruple Bottom Line has extra requirements. Those requirements help to ensure the integration of faith and work so that both “mission” and “business” achieve results. These seven questions are frequently used at the micro-level as related to the specific employee, but this article features macro-level responses, so the kingdom company maintains its BAM calling. The true stories are told in more detail in the book cited at the end of this article.
- What am I expected to do? (Is the role clear?)
Emily is a manager with the largest provider of digital services in the Asian country where she has lived for five years. DTG is a Kingdom company, committed to the Quadruple Bottom Line. She explained to me that immediate on-the-job training is an important component in the company. DTG in Asia, Africa, and Europe views the company as a transitional stepping-stone toward greater things for most contractors and many employees since there is high turnover in business process outsourcing companies like DTG. This is an opportunity for DTG to teach how to interview, transition, and how to deal with cultural differences, entrepreneurship, and leadership, and how to serve with Kingdom values. From the start employees see the big picture of what is expected of them in a Kingdom company.
- Why is my job important? (Are the connections clear?)
Peter Cunningham and his team at Hamara Agriculture, have trained over 13,000 small farmers in Zimbabwe, Africa. He hires thousands of employees in the agricultural college, training programs, poultry, and cattle operations. When I interviewed students, Anthony said, “I have always wanted to be a small-scale farmer and to know God and have a greater relationship with Him.” He went on to describe the “life” he felt the moment he stepped on the grounds of the center. “Ebenezer has changed me,” he said. “And now I want to pass it on to others.” Anthony and hundreds like him know how important their agricultural training and job is to be reaching all of Africa with jobs and the good news.
- Do I have the authority and resources to do my job?
In my early 30s I was appointed principal of a K-12 school in Brazil. I had taught high school for a few years and managed a fish processing plant, but what did I know about teaching third grade, for example? So, I went to Judy’s classroom after school and said, “Judy, you can get these little eight-year-olds to love learning and teach them lots of stuff – all of which would scare me spitless.” Then I told her that my job was to help her to be successful and provide the resources she needed. I would back her, and together we would serve the world of each child. As a BAM business manager, your job is to do likewise – to make each employee successful and give them authority to do their job.
- To whom do I go for help and for sharing ideas?
Tim’s Coffee and Bakery is well established in SE Asia. Each of its 13 establishments strives to help each employee to know where to go for help. Quoting from a recently published book,1 Mari, a project manager, says, “I have learned a lot from our senior managers who care for us as people and create a family environment.” Huy says, “I love being part of the Tim’s team as I can improve and develop to be a better person and leader in such a positive working environment.” Jason affirms that after working at Tim’s, he now knows that in whatever field he enters in the future, he wants to serve and help people – something he experienced at the company. Each employee knows where he or she can get help and can talk freely to the supervisors.
- How am I doing? (How does feedback come?)
Most people have heard of “managing by walking around.” Well, it really is that way at First Step English Institute (FSEI). The profitable company of 60 teachers and over 700 students in the PRC believes in being constantly in touch with all 60 teachers and the secretarial staff. Co-founder Sue, says it this way:
“Our method of training them is for them to do their jobs well with
the method we saw Jesus carry out as he trained his disciples: spend
a lot of time with them and show them how He did His work. After
some time, He gave them the opportunity to try it themselves as He
sent them out. Then, He processed their experiences with them and
continued to build into them as He raised them to the next level.
Everything He did with them had meaning. He was looking to have
them transformed by being with him. That’s our goal for our students.”
- How can I improve and grow? (Professional development)
PhotoUp is a photo-editing company in the Philippines with 300+ employees and contractors. They have an up-front built-in plan to develop each employee. This includes micro loans, communication tools, leadership training, and coaching. The company taught new skills during the Covid epidemic as part of its plan to value each worker and help him/her grow.
The Service Master Company during its 70-year history of rapid growth, had two end goals – to honor God in all they did; and to help people develop. They focused on both in their drive to be a true Kingdom company. They demonstrated that helping people grow and develop was of intrinsic value; and it brought about other goals such as profitability. There was a culture that every employee became a better person and was better qualified when they left the company.
- What are the rewards for this job?
A Kingdom company has built-in incentives for being a part of the company community. Such is true for the Nguvu Dairy in Uganda. As a company hiring a couple of hundred employees, many with a highly traumatized background, have articulated this foundational principle:
“We believe that healing and recovery from trauma and exploitation is
possible for each man and woman, regardless of current vulnerability.
TMP aims to instill hope by providing opportunities to work in a safe
environment and to be involved at all levels of the business. We focus
on an individual’s strengths and resilience, and we encourage them
to articulate future goals.”
Nguvu Dairy has integrated faith and work and the rewards are temporal and within reach of everyone. FSEI is another company which demonstrates that promotions to higher levels of responsibility with the help to build into the teachers the people skills necessary to prepare them for a supervisor position. Each new level or position requires more of the model/assist/watch process from the one training them—very much like discipling does.
1 All these companies are included with more depth in the recently published book, Missions Disrupted: From Professional Missionaries to Missional Professionals, by Larry Sharp, Hendrickson Publishers, 2022.
Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures