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.

Friday, August 18, 2017

5 STAGES OF THE BIRTH OF A NEW BAM COMPANY

Peter Shaukat , CEO of Transformational SME (TSME), identifies five stages in the emergence of a new business as mission company. Each stage, from conception to launch, involves the integration of missional and commercial elements.
Preparation Stage
This is before the ‘baby is born’, the preparation that has taken place even before the business journey starts. It is about recognising what God has already done in the practitioner’s life in regards to their sense of missional call and life experiences; the tapestry woven together in their life before the BAM entity begins to be incubated. Preparation includes both business preparation and missiological preparation. What has God been doing to both missionally and professionally prepare the person, in terms of their skills and competencies?
This is where mentoring should begin: Tell me what God has been doing in your life? Tell me what your sense of call is? Tell me how God has been preparing you? The incubation process needs to begin there. The incubation of a new BAM business is the result of the process that God has already been doing before that.
Perception Stage
The perception stage is the next step. This is about gaining an understanding of what is going on in the environment that God has called you to do business as mission within; and what God wants to do through the business. What is going on in that environment in commercial terms? What are the needs? What is the market? What is the specific missional element? What is the missional calling to the people group? How is God raising up your business? The perceiving stage addresses the question: What is your business going to be about, commercially and missionally? This is the beginning of the gestation stage of the new business.
Activities in the perception stage will include formal market research, missiological research, taking exploratory trips, etc. There is no hard and fast rule, but this perception process needs to be at least 6 months to a year of really studying the market.
There are a couple of common stumbling blocks in the BAM movement in this stage. On the commercial side there has too often been inadequate market research. BAM companies have moved prematurely to the launch of the business without adequately researching the market. This is the stumbling block of falling in love with your product and discovering after the fact that the market doesn’t have the same affinity for it! Mentoring comes into this process. The BAM practitioner will need someone who is business-minded to ask good questions, to ask have you thought about these things? Where are you getting your commercial perceptions from? Have you checked out the local Chamber of Commerce? Have you met with government officials? And so on. The other common stumbling block is inadequate understanding of the missiological, anthropological, and sociological issues that are at play.
TSME has engaged with lots of BAM practitioners over the years at this perception stage; asking them questions around market, around their business readiness, around missiological understanding, etc. We have found that some practitioners need more commercial development, while others need more missiological development.
Persuasion Stage
This is the period of incubation that primarily involves team building, persuading others to join you. If you hold that it is risky and hard to launch a BAM company in isolation, as an individual, and that it is ideal to build a team around this business idea, then incubation will involve this stage of persuasion. Persuasion follows on from the perception stage and is about envisioning others and getting your team lined up, your investors lined up, engaging your spouse, and so on. From a funding perspective that will involve getting your ‘family, friends, and fools’, or, alternatively, your ‘love capital’, lined up for the start-up. The persuasion process is critical, it is bringing others on board, with commitment, with a willingness to sacrifice, to get to the point of ‘we’re going to do this together’.
The persuasion process also includes working together with national Christians and understanding together the context and business. This will involve persuading each other of the vision and intent of the company, and further refining what might work and what won’t. This should be bilateral; an expat that is not willing to listen to national Christians on what tweaking and refinement is needed is doomed to failure. This of course is not the same thing as listening to all voices – for there will be many nay-sayers and people who just don’t get it.  Choose your national counsellors with discernment and humility.
Through the persuasion stage you will also be perceiving new things about what God is doing. So these are not cut and dry, consecutive stages, this is an iterative process, where elements from previous stages repeat and intensify one another. It is like a river flowing in a linear direction, but within that flow there are eddies and circular movements sometimes carrying you forward, sometimes backward. In business incubation you get this reinforcement between persuasion and an even greater perception, as the vision for the business moves forward.
At this stage, the mentor is more hands-off. There is a mentoring process there, but it says to the practitioner, “If you are not able to persuade others to join your team, then I am not able to persuade them for you.” What is needed is availability and more of a Barnabas-type encouragement role. If you are the BAM practitioner, you have to do that persuasion process yourself to engage others to join your team, to finance your business and so on. For the business incubator the key role in this stage is to be an encourager to the persuader.
This is one of the key reasons that TSME has not funded start-ups. TSME has itself gone through the incubation process and as we developed our business model, we perceived that businesses could start with available resources from people closest to the entrepreneur – especially if it is a lean start-up – but it was the continuation process that they were most struggling with, in financial terms. We also realised that when the funding comes too easily at the start-up phase, the resilience of that persuasion process can actually be undermined. We fund businesses that have already been through that persuasion process, that have already got others engaged to start the business, and now they need to develop it.
Planning Stage
This is the detailed process of getting all the essential elements of your business lined up – the business planning process. It is understanding what the inputs to the business are, in turn, moving through a finite set of business processes, to what the business outputs are. Again it is an iterative process, after all, how can you persuade people if there are major unresolved pieces of the business planning process? However, persuasion begins first, because you need people willing to join you so that the planning can take place in a team context, otherwise you will be planning in a vacuum. You need to get people lined up behind the vision before the planning is complete, because in a sense it will never be complete. Although, there will be elements of the persuasion stage that will be dependent on presenting a decent plan – and that is legitimate and to be expected.
In terms of the services that are provided in the planning stage, again coaching and mentoring are very important. It is important to be thinking through with people experienced in business who can help you plan. This is where the traditional concept of incubation and the activities of the incubator are often centered. There is classically this idea of a ‘hothouse’ environment or facility where there is mind-share with like-minded groups, where the incubator has a group of experienced, committed coaches who are helping to refine the business plan and that the business planning process is being acted on step by step.
Business as mission is not a purely commercial enterprise, so the planning process for BAM companies is going to include missional planning and the development of a spiritual impact plan. This may include a cultural adaptation and language learning phase, living with a national family, for instance, or other necessary preparations.
Perseverance Stage
This is the launch cycle, where the ‘baby is born’ in sense – and where it might be keeping you up at night, there might be teething problems! The incubation process involves persevering through the phase of business start-up. What do you need at that point? This is where field-support in terms of mentoring and coaching, and prayer support is needed.

This material was first published in the BAM Think Tank Report on BAM Incubation.

The Parable of Mission Camp - Enterprising Ministry For the Next Wave

 I had a dream in 1994. No, really...

I had happened every night for several weeks, and each night the dream continued on adding  the next chapter of the story. I wrote it out, and even sent to a friend to edit it. I lost it to a computer virus in 1995.

I am brought back to it today 22 years later because I think the time is right for it, the story makes more sense now than ever.  The story unfolds like the lives of those called to Kingdom Business Entrepreneurship with whom I have worked  for all these years since the dream.  If you are called to minister before God in enterprise, Prayerfully consider whether there is a message here for you.

  1. Arrival By accident
  2. The Hotel
  3. The Cafe
  4. The Camp
  5. The Tower
  6. The Equipping Center
  7. The Perimeter
  8. The Kidnapped
  9. The Raiders
  10. Reconciliation


Monday, June 12, 2017

Three Things Company Culture is, Three Things it is Not

The following points are shamelessly stolen from a blogsite called Military Leadership Methods, and is about how the Marine Corps built and is managing its culture.  The U.S Marines are a very long and successful cases study of deliberate organizational Culture management. The article points to three things that company Culture is, and is not ( editor has created the question bits)

1.  It is the result of  collective interactions.
2.  It Is not "owned by anyone". Even North Korea Culture is influenced by how Kim Jung Un's  leaders choose to react to his control.

Who owns the culture here? The answer shouldn’t just be the boss or any one person. Is everyone encourage to engage in culture discussion? If leadership is not looking through a wide lenses at culture it can miss the people who are talking about it, leaving you exposed when it changes without you.

2.  Culture exists in every company every minute every day. Sometimes We try to influence it by deliberate events. The events only influence the culture. 

2.  Culture is not a set of standards. The Real Culture is not what people say. It is more. It is how they interact with tasks and people, what  they say, do, and the choices they make when no one is looking.

 Is culture an “all the time” thing? If you are doing an event or two a year to “grow the team”, I can assure you that you are not driving culture, but it is happening. Don’t allow the discussion around who you are to be limited to an event, make culture something you talk about in meetings, performance reviews and with 1-on-1’s. You don’t need to announce it just weave it in, all the time.


3.  Culture Is a dynamic movie . It changes by means of every new person or leader you hire, every new product you develop, every new customer, every new competitor.

3.  Culture is not a snapshot. Any attempts to keep it frozen by leadership will cause a personality split between what the real culture is and what The leadership says it is.

– Change requires direction and attention, not resistance. As your company grows the culture will adjust to include the ever growing diversity in your workforce. Your leadership role is to help steer, not to ensure that nothing ever changes, because everything changes.
Marines believe they are the greatest fighting force on the planet. They will stand and fight when others would run because the culture permeates through every Marine. This way of thinking is not an accident, it is done on purpose all the time, in training, in briefings, and in how we celebrate our heritage. You can have that same effect in your organization.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Business as Mission:a Possible Funding Structure

Disclaimer: I'm a business guy trying to solve a business problem-and every business or non profit is structured differently. I'm not a lawyer, please don't take any of this as legal advice or execute any plan with out running it be legal where ever you area.I'd welcome a comment from someone who knows more than me.

Problem:  Many Non-Profit entities want to provide funding for Independent For-Profit business start up and expansions, which are providing an income source directly to a non-profit entity in a remote region around the world. This has been a difficult thing for 501(c)3s to do.

501(c) 3s can own for profit companies, as long as all income comes back to the 501(c)3.
But they cannot give money to an independent for-profit business except for services rendered.

Some States have created something called  a  Limited Low-Profit Liability Company, sometimes a  L3C. They may receive non-profit funds to execute the charitable purpose of the Foundation in some cases.

So: In example:

  1. Large Foundation or Other Non-profit is set up with a charter that includes Business as Mission Activities, and creating local bank-business partnerships.
  2. LC3 is set up to offer and administer Grants and/or business as mission low interest loans, partnered with a local bank near the business.
  3. L3C solicits projects  on behalf of one or more Foundations:
  4. A business plan is approved, for a specific project, in two parts: one part grant, and if business goals are met, the other part loan. It would also include interest subsidies to the partner bank and fees to the L3C.
  5. The charitable foundation gets a pre-approval letter from the IRS that the Foundation's principle funds can be used for that purpose, noting that returning principle funds will stay with the L3C.
  6.  The Foundation Funds and administers the Grant porition. andmovest the loan principle to the LC3.
  7. The L3C holds the loan principle, and expected fees in the Foundations account in the L3C.
  8. When criteria for giving the loan are met, The LC3 gives the loan principle, acting as the loan investor, to the local bank. 
  9. The LC3 pays the local bank near the business a pre-arranged difference from their normal interest rate to the lower BAM interest rate. (some local banks can charge high rates of interest)
  10. Loan principle and low BAM interest repayments are made back to the LC3, who puts it, by agreement, into the account LC3 set up for the Foundation. This principle may be loaned out again to another project as directed by the Foundation,
  11. As the Foundation's account in the L3C grows, it can use the funds to fund other projects but will not receive it back, and thery by maintains its charitable status.
Complicated, but one done, can get easier each time it is repeated.






LC3 Still not legal in Texas



Prior to 2008, the prevailing for-profit business entities required high returns on investment.   Because most socially beneficial business ventures are not highly profitable, organizations pursuing these objectives are commonly set up as non-profit corporations. The problem with non-profit organizations is that they have very limited access to capital due to IRS regulations that restrict profit-seeking objectives.   For social and community conscious business ventures to succeed, they need a flexible, lightly regulated business structure that allows access to investment capital. The L3C format was designed to satisfy this need.
In 2008, Vermont became the first state to enact legislation authorizing the creation of the L3C as a new business entity. Since then several states have enacted similar legislation making the L3C a viable option for socially conscious entrepreneurs. As of January 2012, the following states had enacted L3C legislation: Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming. 

L3C Structure

An L3C is structurally exactly the same as an LLC.   It has members, managers, an operating agreement, and flexibility with ownership rights. From a legal standpoint L3Cs differ from LLCs in one significant area: profit motive. In general, legislation authorizing the creation of low-profit limited liability companies has three requirements: 
(1) that the company significantly furthers charitable or educational purposes as defined by the IRS, 
(2) that no significant purpose of the company is the production of income or appreciation of property, and 
(3) that no purpose of the company is to accomplish political, legislative, or lobbying activities. This structure makes the L3C a more suitable vehicle for raising capital previously inaccessible to low-profit and non-profit organizations.

5 Culture questions-is your Company Culture Special?

Is your talent strategy rooted in your business strategy? Culture can’t just be an assortment of well-meaning HR practices; it has to grow out of distinctive business practices. As I reflect on the great companies I’ve gotten to know — companies that are winning big in tough, competitive fields — they all exude what brand strategist Adam Morgan calls a “lighthouse identity.” Every time you encounter them, however you encounter them, you understand what makes them different, what they’re prepared to do that other companies aren’t, and why what they’re doing is relevant today. That’s why building a great culture starts with intellectual clarity about what your organization stands for and why you expect to win. There can be no talent strategy without a compelling business strategy.
Does your company work as distinctively as it competes? Yes, the most successful companies think differently from everyone else — that’s what separates them from the competition in the marketplace. But they also care more than everyone else — that’s what holds people together as colleagues in the workplace. So much of what we focus on as leaders is how to be more clever: big data, slick apps, social media. A great culture allows clever organizations to be more human, to make everything they do more authentic, real, memorable. The true promise of a culture, argues influential venture capitalist Ben Horowitz, is to “be provocative enough to change what people do every day.” That’s the real connection between culture and strategy: If you want to energize and elevate how your organization competes, you have to energize and elevate how your people behave.
Can you capture what it means to be a member of your organization? At its core, the role of culture is to reinforce a sense of belonging, a shared commitment among colleagues about how they solve problems, share information, serve customers, and deliver experiences. Which is why the most enduring cultures are built on language and rituals that are designed to create a palpable sense of community — which, in many cases, only makes sense to people who are part of that community. A favorite slogan among students and faculty at Texas A&M University, a long-established school with a one-of-a-kind culture, sums it up: “From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.” That’s the spirit I’ve seen at companies with the most powerful cultures. Their leaders devote enormous time and imagination to devising small gestures and little symbols that send big messages about what it takes for everyone to be at their best every day.
Is your culture built for learning as well as performance? High-output cultures are all about fierce competition, crisp execution, and a relentless commitment to service. But truly enduring cultures are also about change and renewal. It’s one of the hazards that comes with success: The better an organization performs, the more ingrained its culture becomes, and the harder it can be for executives and employees to stay alert to big shifts in markets, technology, and culture. That’s why the best cultures and the most effective leaders keep learning as fast as the world is changing. They’re constantly scanning for new practices from other companies, new ideas for unrelated industries, a new sense of what’s possible in their own fields. At WD-40, a company with one of the richest learning cultures I’ve seen, CEO Garry Ridge likes to challenge his colleagues with a simple question: When’s the last time you did something for the first time?
Can your culture maintain its zest for change and renewal, even when the company stumbles? It’s a lot easier to maintain high levels of energy and morale at a company when sales are booming and the stock price is soaring. But the reality of competition today is that long-term success is virtually impossible without short-term stumbles. For any organization, part of staying relevant is experimenting with dramatically new technologies, sketching alternative business models, and rethinking how it engages with customers — all of which are bound to involve setbacks and disappointments. That’s why the most enduring cultures are the most resilient cultures. Colleagues at every level embrace the power of creative ideas, deep convictions, and confidence in the face of missteps. Leadership scholar John Gardner calls this outlook “tough-minded optimism,” and it’s a hallmark of cultures that can move and morph with the times.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Ministry of Words

A man has Joy in an Apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word.
Proverbs 15:23

Like Apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in the right circumstances
Proverbs 25:11.

The "word" in these verses, is the Hebrew word " daw bawr' " (. H1697 דּבר dâbâr daw-bawr' ) From H1696; These are only two of the over 1300 times this word is used in the old testament. The English translation to "word" is a vast understatement of the meaning.

It can mean:

  1. a speech
  2. a plan
  3. a course of action
  4. a communicated issue
  5. a "thing"
  6. a story
  7. a Chronicle
  8. a communicated promise
  9. a communicate commitment
  10. a gift
  11. a cause
  12. a message
  13. an accusation
  14. a report
  15. a deed
  16. a timely, deliberate doing of nothing
  17. an instruction, a teaching
  18. a blessing
and many more, depending on context.

A more complete definition as:

a Dawbar' moment is "a meaningful moment of epiphany delivered to one human though another, sometimes deliberately given, but more often incidental to other activity. A communication from God, delivered by his holy spirit. If God sends me a Dawbar' word, it enables me, equips, encourages me, corrects me, informs me, reassures me, lays out a principle he intends to be a tool for my journey.

It services a purpose to advance God's kingdom. God often drops it into our path as the next stepping stone in the path he is laying out for us.

So what is the ministry of dawbar'?

The ministry of  dawbar' is being a vessel God uses to provide these connecting, equipping and energizing moments. Clearly it is among the gifts of a pastor, or shepherd. But I see it happening between people all over as God's Kingdom advances, in the fellowship of believers and in the marketplace. The ones God seems to use most are almost invisible to the body of Christ, but they are like the sons of Issachar,  (I chronicles 12:32). They appear at the right time, the Dawbar' moment happens, and then they are out of the link as the "flow" is restored.

Years ago I asked God to use my words to advance his Kingdom. Now that I understand the Dawbar' moment and its many forms, I see that he has used me in unexpected ways that I could never claim credit for.