Over the last few decades, Business as Mission (BAM) has become a global movement of entrepreneurs, missions agencies, and churches seeking to honor God and advance his kingdom through missional businesses. BAM Global Movement: Business as Mission Concepts and Stories, by Gea Gort and Mats Tunehag, provides an informative introduction to this movement.
In twenty-two chapters, divided into two thematic sections, the authors cover history, theology, cultural contexts, and many other issues. However, the bulk of the book is the over two dozen illustrative case studies, describing the real-life experiences of missional entrepreneurs in countries around the world.
In the first section of the book, Gea Gort explores “BAM in Light of a Broader Movement.” Gort starts by asking “Did We Shrink the Gospel?” Drawing on the work of British missiologist Chris Wright, Gort argues that mission should involve all believers in every area of our lives:
Since mission is part of who God is, mission belongs to him. Mission is not our project, something we do, or a few people we send out. Instead, it is part of the DNA of every Christian since his Spirit dwells within us. God desires to show redemption through our lives, while expressing it in all facets of life on earth.
Gort goes on to explain how Business as Mission relates to a “Theology of Work,” which encourages followers of Jesus to see work and faith in a more integrated rather than dualistic way. Gort also shows how BAM has developed in the context of other key movements within the church and missions such as a “Theology of Place” that emphasize local presence for lasting transformation, a transition from a donation focus to an investment focus, and an appreciation of community rather than an individualistic approach.
In the second section, Mats Tunehag gives an introductory exploration of many BAM concepts, including the biblical basis for BAM and the three great mandates of scripture which lead to the concept of multiple bottom lines for the BAM practitioner.
Tunehag also recounts several instances of BAM in history, shares the dangers of “Business Without Mission,” and briefly addresses specific contexts for BAM such as businesses that attack the practice of human trafficking. This section is a bit of a potpourri of various concepts, each covered at a very high level. An overarching theme of this section is that BAM is just a name for the redemptive role of business that should be normative for the church. As Tunehag explains it:
In the future, I hope very few people will talk about Business as Mission. The term is like scaffolding: it is needed for a season as we build a new paradigm and praxis, businesses that glorify God and bring about holistic transformation of people and societies.
The many case studies spread throughout are the really unique aspect of this book. They highlight the variety of different ways to engage in BAM, and both the commitment required and the challenges it brings.
Readers from the US will benefit from reading the many accounts of European BAM practitioners, very likely due to the fact that both authors are from Western Europe. On the other hand, the book could have been strengthened by including more stories from the many entrepreneurs from the developing world practicing BAM in their local contexts.
Those looking for an in-depth exploration of Business as Mission, or practical guidance about how to get started will likely not find what they are looking for in BAM Global Movement. On the other hand, the clear, introductory presentation of concepts and the wide variety of global case studies make this book a great introduction to students and aspiring missional entrepreneurs, ideally in the context of a group study .
Co-author Mats Tunehag is a leader in the global BAM movement. In the short video linked below, he explains the difference between “Wall Street” and “BAM Street.” It’s a quick and memorable way to capture one key aspect of how BAM is different from other forms of enterprise.
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6:9-14 (ESV)
Mats Tunehag writes that “BAM is about being an answer to Christ’s prayer—in and through business.” Let’s pray as Jesus taught us that the Father’s kingdom would come, and his will would be done, including in our businesses.