Last week we began a three-part series on the Triple Bottom Line of Business as Mission (BAM).1 The first bottom line was that every business has a goal of profitability and sustainability.
The second bottom line is the creation of value, particularly job creation.
Mike Baer, in referencing the kingdom of God, understands that the book of Matthew speaks about the kingdom of God being “not yet,” but it also speaks of it being “here and now.” In short, Kingdom living is about living out the principles of Jesus in every sector of life, including the workplace. It demonstrates the integration of our faith with our work. We bring the kingdom of God “…on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10) via business transactions because business creates value and we have the opportunity to create holistic value based on the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, etc. A business owner in Asia, Pete, says it succinctly, “Everyday on the factory floor is an opportunity for discipleship.”
One of the key values created by business is jobs. When we think of Jesus being very aware of the social condition of his day and doing something about physical realities such as hunger, danger, illness, and death, we can easily transpose his practical concerns to the concerns of today.
The Gallup Corporation recently surveyed over 150 nations in their renowned World Poll of major issues of life. They wanted to “…discover the single most dominant thought on most people’s minds….” Says CEO Jim Clifton, “Six years into our global data collection effort, we may have already found the single most searing, clarifying, helpful, world-altering fact. What the whole world wants is a good job.” 2
Consider the world conditions of today – extreme poverty (30% of the world living on less than $2 a day), unemployment in some countries over 50%, victimization and exploitation, disease (such as the Ebola crisis in West Africa or the Zika outbreak in Brazil), wars on several fronts and persecution. Job creation will not heal all of this but growing economies creating good jobs brings dignity, opportunity for positive relationships and the ultimate transformation of individuals and communities. God created humans to work and be productive (Genesis 1:28), to work heartily “as for the Lord and not men” (Colossians 3:23) and “…shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father…” (Matthew 5:16). This all takes place in the marketplace of work.
IBEC consultants, coaches and subject matter experts have valued experience at work because they know it is their “high and holy calling.” Their success in the marketplace uniquely qualifies them to coach and train entrepreneurial business startups in hard places in the world. One of the bottom lines for them is job creation.
Note a few affirmations from the 2004 “Business as Mission Issue Group”, chaired by Mats Tunehag:
- We believe in following in the footsteps of Jesus, who constantly and consistently met the needs of the people He encountered, thus demonstrating the love of God and the rule of His kingdom.
- We believe the Holy Spirit empowers all members of the Body of Christ to serve, to meet the real spiritual and physical needs of others, demonstrating the kingdom of God.
- We believe that God has called and equipped business people to make a Kingdom difference in and through their businesses.
- We believe the Gospel has the power to transform individuals, communities and societies. Christians in business should therefore be a part of this holistic transformation through business.
- We recognize both the dire need for and the importance of business development. However it is more than just business per se. Business as Mission is about business with a Kingdom of God perspective, purpose and impact.
- We recognize that there is a need for job creation and for multiplication of businesses all over the world.
- The real bottom line of Business as Mission is – “for the greater glory of God.”
“The gospel that does not deal with the issues of the day is no gospel at all.” Martin Luther
1 Sometimes we use the term Kingdom Business which Mike Baer defines as “…a business that is specifically, consciously, clearly and intentionally connected with the establishment of Christ’s kingdom in this world. In other words, it is directly involved in making disciples of all nations. (Baer, Michael. Business as Mission: The Power of Business in the Kingdom of God, p. 14).
2 Jim Clifton, The Coming Jobs War, p.10.
Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures