Untruths I have been told about Business as Mission (BAM)

As I have travelled around the country, given seminars in churches, schools, various small groups, and taught full courses in four colleges/universities, I have heard many comments which have intrigued me at best, and disturbed me at worst.  I was reflecting on some of them recently and share them with you here, with my perspective on an alternate truthful statement.

  • BAM is a passing fad, and it will be something different before long (a pastor where we were presenting a weekend workshop). Truth: BAM as a name is new and may be passing but the concept goes back to the Bible; for example most churches were planted by regular working Christians (Acts 8-17).
  • BAM is not of interest for a seminary curriculum (major seminary executive after we had presented a possible curriculum for pastors.) Truth:  Pastors have an important role in teaching parishioners and need to “…prepare God’s people for works of service…” (Ephesians 4:12).
  • BAM is not biblical and is not of interest to our church (a senior lead pastor in a large church after I led several seminars Friday – Sunday). Truth:  A study of Theology of Work reveals God to be a worker God; he gave the first man and woman a job to do; and work is an important place to live out Kingdom values. (Col. 3:23).
  • BAM is not a valid philosophy or strategy and distracts from the real purpose of our agency (an executive of a large mission agency after we had shared in a video training program). Truth:  Agencies have added good value to the spread of the gospel in the past, but God does not require them.  The real purpose of serving God is to bring Him glory and help all people to follow him, and the workplace is a good place for that.
  • I don’t see how BAM contributes to church planting (a missionary in Europe). Truth:  It is always good to re-evaluate and be open to new ideas in a rapidly changing world.  Churches are composed of disciples of Jesus.  The more important question than how churches are planted is how do people become followers of Jesus especially in countries where Christians are restricted and persecuted?
  • BAM is really the same as bivocational ministry (pastor also working in industry). Truth: Bivocational ministry is an option in places because a salary paying job may allow a pastor to survive while the church is immature.  Business as Mission (BAM) is a person with a full-time job in business using the relationships and position to make disciples of Jesus.

Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures

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