Restoring Enterprise to its Place in the Body of Christ

Business as Mission, Kingdom Business, Great Commission Companies, Purpose-Driven Business, Enterprising Ministry, Kingdom Entrepreneurship - It goes by many names, but there is a new, and yet very old calling in the Global Body of Christ. Many believers are called to walk out their calling in the marketplace. A subset of those believers are called to plant and grow businesses that serve God and the rest of the church. It is their ministry, enterprising ministry, that we describe, support, and explore here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Clarifying the 7 Mountains - 10 Principles

What REALLY is the 7 Mountain Message? from Os Hillman on Vimeo.

(Lee Royal, 5-27-2011)
The Seven Mountains Strategy is Not:
The Seven Mountains Strategy is:

A simple organizational strategy for bringing the full message of Christ  across a wide cultural spectrum.
  • It illustrates that believers are called to influence individuals at different places in time and culture
  • It helps believers value gifts used by people in other areas to reach people
  • It is a helpful strategy now, but like any strategy it will fall by the wayside when it is no longer helpful,   (for example, during the "Great Awakenings" tent meetings were effective)
  • Like any good strategy,  a heretical group may use it in appropriately
Some seem to have misunderstood or co-opted the 7 Mountain Strategy, so here are 10 Principles guiding how the vast majority of evangelical Christians engage culture in America.

As a Christ Follower in the United States of America,
  1. We support the constitution of the United States.
  2. We have the right to carry our faith where ever we have access in the culture, in private or public.
  3. We have the right to to try and persuade others about our faith, as well as about our political beliefs.
  4. There are laws and practices in place that prevent from harassment and unwelcome advances; and they are adequate to prevent abuse without infringing on #3. above.
  5. We do not have the right to force others to participate with us in our faith.
  6. Our faith shapes our beliefs about justice and government, and we have the right to try and persuade elected officials, like any other member of American society; we also have the right to vote our faith-born convictions.
  7. A law shaped by voting our faith-born convictions is not a religious law, it has become a civil law under the constitution.The constitution does not provide for the stripping of religious principle from underpinning civil law.
  8. We support the protection of the rights of voter minorities to practice or not practice their faith, and to have a meaningful vote of their counter-majority convictions. This prevents the tyranny of a man-made theocracy.
  9. The constitution of the United States prevents the establishment of a theocracy, even if the majority of voters vote it to be so. 
  10. The Gospel of Jesus stands on it's own legs in the face of any other faith or human institution;  
The 7 Mountain battle strategy used by a few Christian Reconstructionists must not be confused with a 7 Mountain framework used more widely by Christians not trying to create a man made theocracy.

-Lee Royal

does this answer your question Bill?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

25 BAM Lessons Learned

I was part of a BAM Environmental Engineering business called Paradigm Engineering Owned By Johnny and Karen Combs. Their vision was to operated a kingdom Business. I served several roles there, including Human Resources and Community Services Officer. I was the Business as Mission Officer for the company. We collaborated with many pioneering BAM organizations,as well as doing our own activity.

What follows is a quick summary of some lessons learned about BAM.

Background of  the Paradigm Engineering BAM Movement

Many people in leadership came from Baptist and Bible Church backgrounds; however, since the Business was not affiliated in anyway with any particular mission group, we were able to cross mission  organization boundaries well.  We partnered with a number of  denominational and Non -denominational groups who generally came from the evangelical Christian world.  We also workd with a  number of local churhces in the developing world. With them, and on our own, we completed a body of business and market research across cultures, east and west across rural, urban and suburban settings. The work and research was based on best practices, interviews, and trial start up business plan analyses.Next,  Two single enterprise business start ups were then conducted using a water purification/bottled water store in developing country suburban and rural environments, one in Mexico and one in Liberia. Both are in operation in one form or another. Our next project was the SEED Center. Glenn White of  businesstry, who had been doing alot of work and writing in that area came on board to develop the concept.

Servant Entrepreneur Enterprise Development (SEED) Centers(r) is the name Waters of Mercy, doing business as as Business Without Borders  gave to our concept of mutual supporting business enterprise start- ups.

Some Lessons Learned

1.   There is no "one size fits all" set of businesses that work for BAM everywhere. Even similar settings in similar cultures may not work. Therefore, a detailed individual project assessment is needed for each proposed BAM business or SEED Center, in each location, even if they are in the same region.

2.   Local church leadership in areas that could benefit from BAM/SEED centers often have incorporated the worst the western church has to offer in terms of their understanding of the place business in God's Kingdom. In some cases the local church leadership even believes that business is, by its very nature, corrupt work of the devil. This belief system must be assessed and understood before a time line is developed for implementing a BAM Project.

3.   Both the formal and the informal business practices of the target area must be fully understood in the business plan development for a SEED Center.

4.  The agenda and measurable objectives of the Funders/underwriters of BAM projects, including SEED Centers, must be clearly defined, in writing, before a BAM Project is launched.

5.  There are several systems that must be assessed before a project is implemented and findings incorporated into the design. For example, security, political stability, organized criminal activity, etc. must be assessed. A safe with a chain link embedded in a concrete may be essential equipment in the the business plan.

6.  Most Western business equipment is designed with high technology and low labor needs in mind. In most BAM Project settings, low-tech equipment is the most resiliant choice, and design we need to help the local entrepreneur design work processes that employ more people to make up for it. a business franchise designed in the west for the west and supported by a western small business specialist needs a complete rethinking and redesign, and will have higher labor needs than one would expect in the west.

7.  Some sort of microfinance system should be part of most SEED Center  or business cluster.If not, the financial transaction processes for the businesses should be carefully thougt through

8.  Highly Motivated Believer Business Behavior (HMB3) is an essential ingredient for BAM success anywhere. It is characterized by self-directed positive, ethical, entrepreneurial actions like selling, consistent process discipline, product improvement and excellence, assertively monitoring the competitive environment, creative problem solving, good shepherding of people, product and money, and good listening skills.In short, taking ownership of all business activities. Hireling Behavior is characterized by being an ethical steward,who has traded their time for money. They are not willing to take many risks on behalf of the business. They treat the tribal leader or real owner like a respected boss. It is really about commitment.

If  ham and eggs are needed to make a meal, the pig demonstrates an HMB3 level of commitment, while the chicken that produced the eggs demonstrates a hireling level of commitment

10.  Tribal ownership, including local church group ownership, diffuses individual responsibility and discourages HMB3. Even Strong believers demonstrate Hireling Behavior under tribal ownership.

11.  An international denominationally planted BAM project or SEED Center often suffers at the hand of tribal ownership. Most missionaries know that in the developing world, if you, a westerner built it, you are expected to maintain it, where it is a Church Roof or a BAM Project.

12.  Every business needs an accountability structure made up of mostly believing business people. An accountability structure controlled by church leadership is tribally owned. If denominational group church leaders do not not trust the believing business people they brought in, this needs to be sorted out before you initiate a BAM project and spread that mistrust to the local BAM Project.

13.  A BAM business makes a profit and hires people; a BAM-Titled Mission Project creates business-like activity until the money runs out. There may be a place for both, but it is destructive for future projects to mistake one for the other.

14.  Just like a new new church plant has some spiritual barriers to over come, so does a new BAM activity.
Like any successful church plant, a successful BAM activity needs to prepare for spiritual "pushback". It needs to have the same prayer support as any other mission activity no matter were it is.

15. Every piece of machinery, equipment or supply needs to be available locally. To design a business that requires special outside help creates dependency on believers outside the local church; this should be discouraged.

16. One on One discipleship is needed for every new business owner. This can be done by local church leaders, and can create a healthy non-controlling interaction for ethical discussions. Local church leader coaching by supporting church leaders is needed to make this key relationship work.

17.  Pray for discernment about influences that are not readily transparent. Believers in other countries sometimes display one set of behavior to Western visitors, and another to each other.

18.  Funding plans should include awareness of the "burn rate" for a start up.  The funds needed for start up are like fuel. If you run out of fuel before your covering your own needs the business must end. It should be clear there is no more. Therefore, monitoring the the "burn rate" is a healthy activity for everyone.

19.  Every business has a business cycle and a life cycle. Individual businesses have births, lives and deaths.An anointed, called, gifted entrepreneur will start many businesses in their lifetime.

20.  Church leaders will need help to not "freak out" if a business phases out or dies. The SEED Center or business cluster can lengthen the life of a business,  They design churches to last for the long haul, so this is a hard concept for them.

21. The most important thing to remember is that any BAM activitiy is about investing in the local believer, who is called to be an entrepreneur.  Every Believing Entrepreneur needs at least one, preferably many, mentors, coaches, and peers.

22.  Understand the role of BAM support people and organizations. Our calling is different. God gives us a love for entrepreneurs, even if some of us are not entrepreneurs ourselves. The must have a God given love for the believing entrepreneur.

On a Trip back to Texas from Zacatecas, Mexico, where we we had set up a BAM project that supported a kids feeding program, paid for by mothers who now bought their bottled water from the Water Store, the Missionary said to me, "Lee, don't those kids and mothers make you just want to sell everything and come down here to work?" I had to stop for a long time to pray about why I did not feel led to do that. I said "No, but I want it makes we want to stop and do everything I can to Help guys like you all over the world."

23.  There is a need beyond Micro-enterprise. For every micro 100 entrepreneurs, perhaps 10 move on to hire workers outside their family. There is a need for different support structures as well as training, and especially, mentoring needed for these transformational entrepreneurs.

24.  Budget about 1.3 the amount of time and money you think you may need to implement a BAM project.

25.  The vision of the local believing entrepreneur is what God blesses. The western entrepreneur supporter brings encouragement and technical skills

Business as mission is not a new concept, but Christianity has seen a resurgence in reestablishing work as worship. Missions with business  has grown as doors to traditional missionaries have closed But unless we learn to love and invest in Kingdom Entrepreneurs, and figure out how to share our lessons learned, BAM will be relegated to become just another missionary tactic.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What is Business as Mission? ( BAM )

First, BAM or Business as Mission is the idea that there is a "calling" to business. Why, how and where do carry out my calling? How do I interaction with other people in the Body of Christ? How do I connect? Here is a brief introduction.

In 2004 a group of  believing global business leaders gathered, and after much prayer and work, wrote  The Lausanne Occasional Paper 54 They said that God is at work in a new way, all over the world, both in the market place and in the Church. This dynamic movement within the Body of Christ is based  on God’s love for the world and His call to His Church.  It is a new wave of activity that is closely linked with the work of the Holy Spirit throughout history.  It is a relevant strategy for the 21st century.  God is raising up a new work force of men and women from around the world.  These men and women are on a mission for God’s

glory in and through business.  Christian leaders in business, church, missions and  beyond have all concurred that God is at work and business as mission is  dynamically meeting the various needs of a world in desperate need of the whole Gospel.

In a nutshell:
  • Workplace ministry or Marketplace ministry  can be done in any workplace and is vital component to BAM but is not, in itself, BAM
  • Tentmaking is a way to earn a living while doing missionary work, but is not BAM
  • A business owned by Christians may or may not be BAM activity
  • Using business as a "platform" to send missionaries is not BAM, and many BAM practioners have questions about the integrity of this approach
  • A Kingdom Business Professional is a believer serving his or her purpose in any worplace that may or may not be a BAM activity.
A BAM business is a business a real business, a purpose driven business, created and designed by entrepreneurs with the express -purpose of  serving their role to advances the kingdom of God, not to take anything over, but to full fill the great commission (Matt 28 19-20), using the gifts that some believers were given.

A fully grown and balanced  BAM organization has Six defining characteristics:

1.   It makes a profit
2.   It's enterprises engage the world by creating business
3.   It deliberately engages its believing and non believing employees with workplace ministry
4.   It deliberately engages the community where it lives and works as Ambassadors for Christ
5.   It deliberately engages its customers and venders knowing it overtly represents Christ
6.  It deliberately engages the local Body of Christ as a siblings in the body of Christ here on earth.

There are two kinds of BAM Organizations:

a. A Greenfield BAM organization ( a start up owned by believers designed according to BAM principles)
b.  A Brownfiled BAm organization (a business owned by believers started in the traditional way and having been redesigned.

A BAM activity also usually  has Chaplains integrated into workpliace ministrt, and intercessors integrated into the business processes of the company.

 Here are some Great Resources:
BAM Books:
I hope this is you jumping-off place. May God make your way straight and clear, and may the seed He planted in you produce a hundred-fold in advancement of God's Kingdom.