A Healthy Tension

The Value of the Triple Bottom Line in Missional Enterprise

We at Navigators Missional Enterprise are committed to several core values that guide our efforts. From time to time, we will highlight one of these core values in our M3 Weekly edition. In a previous edition of M3 Weekly, we shared about the value of Life-to-Life Discipling. This week, we focus on the value of the Triple Bottom Line – in holistic, healthy tension.

As we have shared previously, The triple bottom line is derived from the three great mandates of scripture:

The Creation Mandate is the basis for the bottom line of Making a Profit – by successfully serving satisfied customers, making a profit reflects a kingdom of God culture that generates wealth for the enterprise, the shareholders, the employees, and the suppliers while adding economic value to the community.

The Great Commission is the basis for the bottom line of Making Disciples – first becoming a lifetime disciple of Jesus Christ and then engaging in life-to-life discipling with people in your business context, marketplace, and church.

The Great Commandment is the basis for a commitment to and dependence upon God’s Kingdom Values and Principles that permeate all that we do. In addition, the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves forms the basis for the bottom line of Making a Difference – by adding value to the local community through job creation, selling quality goods and services, helping the needy, taking care of the environment, or countless other ways to bless and serve people in your community.

We illustrate the Triple Bottom Line using a triangle, communicating that we are committed to a holistic pursuit of all three bottom lines.

However, in reality, the triangle is never equilateral. There is a tension between these aspects of the triple bottom line and that tension is actually critical for progress. Our goal is not to eliminate or solve the tension, but to manage and even leverage that tension so that it produces healthy inertia to continually expand and strengthen the triangle.

In his talk on The Upside of Tension, Pastor Andy Stanley describes how many instances of tension in our organizations are actually not problems to be solved but tensions to be managed. Managing these kinds of tensions in a holistic, healthy way is critical to making progress.

If you would view a clear and concise explanation of the Triple Bottom Line, check out this short video (about four and a half minutes). Consider forwarding a link to a friend or colleague who could benefit from knowing more about the Triple Bottom Line.

Verse(s) of the Week

Matthew 22:36-40: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Read and meditate on these words of Jesus.

If we were truly convinced that all the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments, what difference would it make as we develop missional businesses?

Share your thoughts