“Really big and sudden changes in the world of mis- sions don’t come often. But now one is upon us. It’s the major optimism and thrill of business people who are devout believers starting or extending ‘Kingdom Businesses’ around the world.”
Many Christians subscribe to a spiritual hierarchy that elevates those in full-time ministry to the top and relegates laypeople in secular vocations to the bottom. A sacred-secular divide is deeply entrenched in our thinking. Since “secular” work competes with our time for “real” ministry, and money (confused with the love of money) is a necessary evil, demanding for-profit businesses should be avoided if the purpose for going overseas is to do ministry.
The Moravian Brothers of the 18th century were artisans. They practiced their trade and made apprentices of the natives. Their business bettered the lives of the people they were called to reach, and provided natural daily opportunity for interaction with them.
The story of the Basel Mission Industries in 19th century India is also quite inspiring. The Indian converts were rejected as outcasts by their community. So the British missionaries had to provide for their employment and livelihood. The Mission started printing, weaving and tile manufacturing businesses that employed 3,600 workers, of whom 2,800 were Christians. Employee benefits for both men and women included low cost housing, savings accounts, and sick funds. The famous khaki color was invented in their weaving factory. In 1978, the business became a public company in compliance with government policies, but continued to channel profits to support charitable institutions set up by the Basel Mission Trust.
BAM integrates all aspects of life and godliness. God cares about business related issues like economic development and justice, employment and unemployment, use and distribution of resources, etc. that impact the physical and spiritual wellbeing of people. This is clear as we read the Law and the Prophets in the Old Testament. BAM is a change agent to bless the nations.
As such, BAM involves spiritual warfare. It challenges the work of Satan, whose purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy lives through poverty and many forms of oppression resulting from physical and spiritual deprivation. Therefore, the full armor of God, spiritual vigilance and prayer are indispensable for BAM operators.