Business As Missions (BAM) is the cutting edge of the worldwide missions movement and becoming increasingly important as the least reached nations become harder and harder to access.
Closed & Open Doors
For years, the countries where the gospel is most needed have been closed to traditional missionaries. Many have therefore gone out as NGO workers in education, humanitarian service or community development. However, in recent years, the doors to NGOs are also closing.
After the three Color Revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan in 2003-2005, Russia’s KGB allegedly concluded that they were orchestrated by a hostile West, often working through international NGOs. When the word got out, many 10/40 Window countries began to tighten their policies to deny foreign NGO registration or their workers’ visa renewal.
However, business people are still welcome. Foreign investments that create jobs are important for developing economies anywhere. BAM companies can potentially become cities on a hill if they bring economic, social, environmental, and spiritual impact that improve the lives of people.
Entry to Strategic Gateway Cities
As most BAM endeavors are small businesses in agriculture, manufacturing and the service sector, we need complementary strategies to reach the technology and business professionals in the urban centers. Consider the ministry of Jesus and Paul.
We are familiar with how Jesus reached out to the down and out. But he was mainly criticized for wining and dining with sinners and tax collectors—people with business and government connections in first century Palestine.
In his missionary journeys, Paul focused on reaching cities even though the great majority of the population in the first century Mediterranean world lived in the countryside. He spent the most time in Corinth, Ephesus and Rome. They were the commercial, intellectual, cultural, and political centers, where new goods, new trends, and new ideas spread to the rest of the Roman world. Today, the emerging tech capitals of the 10/40 Window are also centers for the dissemination of new ideas. They are gateway cities to their nations.
Why Reach Tech Entrepreneurs
The fledgling tech sector of every emerging economy attracts entrepreneurs and professionals. The majority are young people standing at the crossroads of their country’s past and future. Tech workers are exposed to new ideas on the internet every day. They are likely to have better English, be more at ease with foreigners, and probably more open to the gospel. As people for innovation and change, entrepreneurs often become influencers in their own society.
From the Silicon Mountain of Cameroon to the Silicon Wadi of Israel, from the Techno Valley of Saudi Arabia to the Cyber City of Malaysia, from Pardis in Iran to Zhangjiang in China, California’s Silicon Valley and the U.S. in general are looked up to as the Mecca of technology and innovation.
With their skills, experience and resources, God’s people in the business and tech sectors hold a premium calling card. Their talents need to be deployed for His Kingdom.