Business As Mission in a Nutshell

An M3 Weekly Book Review

A new book by C. Neal Johnson – a scholar, pioneer, and veteran practitioner in the world of business as mission (BAM) – provides an unprecedented guidebook for the aspiring missional entrepreneur. In Business As Mission in a Nutshell – All the Basics: The Essential Road Map for Christian Entrepreneurs, Johnson shares his many decades of wisdom on a wide swath of topics related to BAM.

Who will benefit from this book?

Johnson answers that question well in the introduction:

So, you are a Christian entrepreneur – either actual or would-be. You want to own your own business and use it for your own sustenance and joy, but also to honor God. But you don’t know where to start. This book is for you!

The book is massive in scope, filling over 600 pages and covering topics such as:

  • Evaluating if, when, and where you should do BAM
  • Various options for BAM such as starting your own business, purchasing, or franchising
  • Funding the business and the basics of accounting
  • Leadership and management for BAM

Exploring the book brought to mind a hypothetical scenario of having an expert in a given topic offer to compile all the basic guidance he ever produced on a topic – the essays, lecture notes, presentation materials, checklists, spreadsheet templates, etc. – into a single organized volume for others to use. And to do all that for just about twenty-five dollars!

Because of the scope of the work, there are some things to keep in mind if you are considering Business As Mission in a Nutshell – All the Basics.

First, readers should have some familiarization with BAM theory and concepts before diving into this book. Johnson recommends that those who have not read his earlier book, Business as Mission: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory and Practice, should read that book first.

Second, we do not recommend reading this new book from cover to cover (although we did for this review). The book is best used as a reference, perhaps by reading introductory sections and reviewing the table of contents initially, and then exploring other sections of the book as the need or interest arises.

Finally, both new and experienced BAMers will benefit from two of the later chapters in the book on Spiritual Self-Audit and Accountability Structures, which for us were the most impactful parts of the book.

Johnson’s new book manages to be both massively detailed and highly personal in some sections. It is both encouraging and cautionary, a tension well-described in this section from the epilogue:

As you can see from this brief survey, doing BAM is not for the faint of heart. It is, as the U.S. Marines say, only for “The few. The proud.” On the other hand, BAM is for those who love the Lord passionately, who are called to business and to mission, and who want their lives to have significance – to make an eternal difference in a tragically flawed, hurting world.

Verse(s) of the Week:

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.” Matthew 24:45-47 (ESV)

Let’s meditate on the spheres of responsibility God has given each of us to steward and pray for the grace to be faithful and wise servants of our master.

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