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Is your Kingdom business one of the “Best Places to Work”?

Saturday, February 03, 2018

“If you are not investing in your employees, there’s really not much more to invest in. People are first and foremost at PSE,” says Kimberly Harris, CEO of Puget Sound Energy

I am always curious when the latest study comes out on “Best Places to Work”. Seattle Magazine1 came out with its latest study in January 2018.  These Seattle-area companies range in size from fifty to thousands and have a wide range of business models.  I was intrigued as I read some of the factors making them one of the local “best places to work”.

Accolade:  Said one employee review: “The best organization I ever worked at.  Management instills an empowerment environment.”

Housing Hope:  This nonprofit spent three years transforming the culture of the organization for its employees into one of two-way communication, hope (by encouraging employees to imagine what might be), and affirmation (showing appreciation for what is and challenging employees to bring forward best practices.  “We wanted to create a place where everyone could flourish, both in their lives and at work – and where employees knew we cared about them as people” says Todd Fast, Director of Administration and HR.

MOD Pizza:  The founders created a business that has a positive impact in the lives of their employees and their communities.  They believe that if they take care of their employees, those employees will take care of the customers, and the business will take care of itself.”

Overlake Medical Center: “Our employees are our greatest asset,” says J. Michael Marsh, CEO.  Interesting side note.  I had three operations in this hospital in 1969 after a construction accident while in college and six days before our marriage (but that’s another story).

Puget Sound Energy: “If you’re not investing in your employees, there’s really not much more to invest in.  People are first and foremost at PSE,” says Kimberly Harris, CEO.

WE Communications:  Miesha Swensen, senior account executive says, “Our opinions matter; we are encouraged to talk about what’s working and what’s not.  We are encouraged to take time off and recharge.  The people here are inspiring; I feed off their energy and knowledge…”

Sweeney Conrad:  The locally owned accounting firm gets high marks for treating employees like family and encouraging them to maintain a healthy balance between career and personal goals, “Leadership genuinely supports and values you as an individual,” says Michelle Peters.

Zillow Group:  Zillow takes care of its employees and they, in turn, are fanatically loyal…96% say they are proud to work at the company.

While some of these companies have thousands of employees, two of them are in the 50-60 range.  Many of the perks are things that even small companies can do, like: provisions of healthy snacks to give energy during the day, a $300 wellness certificate to pursue health activity times during the work day, incentives to work at an overseas office, encouraging gifted artistic people to improve the work environment, an on-site coffee cart during the busy season with free espresso drinks, provision of flexible work hours and days to work at home, and employee get-togethers for fun.

Kingdom companies should start off by being committed to being a “best place to work.”  Such a result takes commitment, intentionality and hard work.  But remember, the employees are the greatest asset, wherever and whatever the business may be.

They believe that if they take care of their employees, those employees will take care of the customers, and the business will take care of itself.” MOD Pizza

1   Mickool, Sheila, “Best Places to Work:  The Working Life.”  Seattle.  January 2018.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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6 steps on the entrepreneurial path

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The following article by Leif Greiss in the Reading (PA) Eagle caught my attention (Nov 18, 2017). While the story is interesting, be sure not to miss the “Six Steps”.

Neil Deshmukh considers technology to be a superpower, one he and others can use to save the world.

Deshmukh, who is 15 years old, was the keynote speaker Friday at Kutztown University's sixth annual conference on Social Work in the Global Environment. It was Deshmukh's first time as a keynote speaker at an event, and he spoke for almost 40 minutes to a crowd of about 150.

His speech, "Building a Better World: Using Technology and Social Entrepreneurship," focused on his journey as a young entrepreneur, the steps of the entrepreneurial path, the power of technology for social change and advice for those interested in entrepreneurship.

"Entrepreneurship never works out the way you intended it to," said Deshmukh of Macungie, Lehigh County.

The freshman at Moravian Academy, a college preparatory school in Bethlehem, has created three apps, VocalEyes, PlantumAI and Tremoscan. VocalEyes identifies objects and reads text audibly for people who are visually impaired, PlantumAI helps identify plant diseases and offers potential treatments for those diseases, and Tremoscan uses a phone's accelerometer to detect vibrations in the earth and predict earthquakes.

He tried to dispel the myth all entrepreneurs are like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, who dropped out of school to pursue their dreams. "Depending on your different goals and different values, you're going to have a completely different entrepreneurial experience than everyone else," Deshmukh said.

His journey began when he was in the seventh grade. He heard about the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and learned a friend at school had family in Haiti and experienced the earthquake. Through a conversation with his father, he learned his father had also survived an earthquake when he still lived in India.

"I knew then that I wanted to do something to help these people," he said. "I wanted to help these people get to safety before the earthquake even hit them." Unlike the U.S., which has a network of seismographs to help sense quakes, many countries cannot afford the expense. Deshmukh came up with an idea of using phones to create a network of portable seismographs at a fraction of the cost. His Tremoscan app has been downloaded by over 7,000 people in India.

Deshmukh said the inspiration to create the other apps came from problems affecting members of his family. His grandmother, who lives India, is visually impaired and now uses VocalEyes. His grandfather is a farmer in India, and Deshmukh said he now uses the PlantumAI app on his crops. He said since the apps were launched earlier this year tens of thousands of users across the world have downloaded them.

Deshmukh said there are six steps of the entrepreneurial path: 

1. Find an ideal to believe in.
2. Find a problem to solve.
3. Look at the problem from the point of view of the people affected by it.
4. Find the most basic solution to solve the problem.
5. Actually make the product and iterate on it.
6. Market the product.

Deshmukh said he believes everyone has the entrepreneurial spirit, the desire to find problems and solve them regardless of the resources available to them. He also said children are innately entrepreneurial, bringing up the classic example of lemonade stands.

Deshmukh has worked with his classmates to get them to follow entrepreneurial pursuits. He said his friends noticed they had trouble paying attention in class. Through Deshmukh's help and guidance they created an attachment for pens that vibrates if the user isn't paying attention.

Barth Yabouh, a professor of social work at Kutztown University, invited Deshmukh to be the keynote speaker. Yabouh said Deshmukh's speech demonstrated how one person can make a difference, and many people, especially students, had approached him to say they were impressed with Deshmukh.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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Explaining Business as Mission in 1 minute…or 7 words or less

Sunday, January 21, 2018

At the church we attend, there is a “minute” each Sunday when we introduce ourselves to someone we don’t know yet. This morning the person beside me asked what I did and I had a minute to tell him about IBEC.

Of course, I do have my “elevator speech” which goes something like this: I work with a consulting group which provides help to Kingdom businesses in developing countries which are the most unreached spiritually. These for-profit businesses provide jobs and seek to make followers of Jesus. I vary it depending on the person and how much he or she likely knows about the thoughts included in this short description.

But it got me to thinking about single words and phrases I could use to describe Business as Mission.

What if I only had seven words, six, five, four, three, two, one? What would I say? Maybe it would go like this. What would your words be?

Seven: Kingdom of God in context of business
Six: Economic, social, spiritual outcomes through business
Five: Walking with God at Work1
Four: Life transformation through jobs
Three: Business; Mission Integrated
Two: Missional Business
One: BAM

1   Coined by BAMer and BAM speaker, Bill Job

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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Kingdom entrepreneurs: start your business in a garage

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Photo by Tim Easley on Unsplash

“Insanity:  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” - Einstein

Many entrepreneurs think it is a strange idea to start a business in the garage.  After all, don’t we need lots of money, investors, partners, office desks, computers and communication equipment?  Don’t we need to “build it and they will come”.  Not so – say many experts and some who are among the most successful today.

Here are ten successful giants who started in a garage:
  1. Google. Sergey Brin and Larry Page started in Susan Wojcicki’s garage in 1998.
  2. Hobby Lobby. David Green started making picture frames in his parents’ garage when he was in high school, sensing he was destined for business creativity and not academics.
  3. Microsoft.  Bill Gates and Paul Allen started developing software in a garage in Albuquerque.
  4. Maglite Flashlights.  Tony Maglica was an immigrant who did not speak much English in 1950.  By 1955 he saved $125 to buy a lathe but did not have his first flashlight sale until 1979.
  5. Hewlett-Packard.  Dave Hewlett and Dave Packard invested $538 in 1939 and built one product, an audio oscillator which they sold to Disney.
  6. Apple.  Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak conceived of the Apple I and used purchase orders to buy parts to construct the first 50 units in their garage.
  7. Amazon.  Jeff Bezos started selling books out of his garage in 1994, in Bellevue, Washington.
  8. Yankee Candles.  Michael Kittredge was sixteen in 1969 when he melted crayons in his family garage to make candles which he sold to the neighbors.
  9. Walt Disney. Walt and Roy started in his uncle Robert’s garage in 1923 filming Alice Comedies, which later became Alice in Wonderland.
  10. Harley-Davidson.  William Harley and Arthur Davidson experimented putting an engine on a bicycle in a 10x15 shed in 1903.
There are many more examples, but it is interesting that half of above companies are in the technology sector, but half the list are not tech companies at all.  Why then might starting in a garage be a good thing?

First and foremost (as start-up entrepreneurs are catching on to), it is more important to follow lean canvas business modeling, than have a detailed business plan, a full-scale product development cycle and sophisticated marketing plan.  The key word is ‘lean’.  Raymond John of Shark Tank fame explains that it is all about two things – knowing the customer and getting out there to sell the idea to meet their need.   He calls it the “power of broke”.  He says people with lots of investment capital, often waste it on non-essentials; the lean principle allows the entrepreneur to pivot and make important adjustments.

To be sure, these garage entrepreneurs had plenty of failures but without massive capital outlays, it was easier to recover losses and move on, building on what had been learned.

Kingdom entrepreneurs striving to build companies in lesser developed areas have added complexities considering culture and language variances and the integration of the Quadruple Bottom Line into one business.  So, starting small is even more important.  Rent or borrow a garage or basement and start to experiment, then pivot and try again; all the while talking to potential customers about the product and listening carefully to what they may want.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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Work must be celebrated in the Church

Saturday, January 06, 2018

I sat across the breakfast table in a downtown restaurant talking to an attorney who owned a sizable law firm.  He was a leader in a large evangelical church which was familiar to me.  I had been introduced to him by a friend and we had a good conversation about what God is doing around the world through business – creating jobs and making disciples of Jesus.  Then he made this startling statement:

“I don’t see how what I do as an attorney has anything to do with what you are talking about…I don’t think I have anything to offer.”

How can that be?  What did he mean?  Bill Peel of the Center for Faith and Work states, "I believe the gap between what is preached and what is celebrated continues to cloud how people assess the value of their work to God," says Peel.1
  • Over two-thirds (70%) of Christians still cannot envision how the work they do serves God.
  • Almost four out of five church-goers (78%) doubt that the work they do is equal in importance to the work of a pastor or priest.
Citing these statistics and others from the Barna Group and Center for Faith and Work cooperative research, Peel states, "Clearly, increased preaching and teaching about faith and work is a positive and praiseworthy step, but more is needed. Churches must become fully engaged in shaping people spiritually for the workplace. A powerful next step is to schedule time in worship services to publicly celebrate all kinds of work that advances God’s creation …this simple action can help people connect God’s truth with their work in life-changing ways."

Pastor Jim Mullins2 who also has business experience, suggests that all types of work, not just pastoral and missionary work should be publicly celebrated.  Their church now has a 5-minute interview each Sunday morning of people from various occupations so that they may celebrate their work and affirm its importance in bringing glory to God.  Says Mullins, “These interviews have slowly helped all of us to understand that ‘vocation is integral, not incidental, to the mission of God in the world,’ as Steve Garber says.”

Interview Questions at Redemption Church, Tempe, AZ

Mullins continues, “While there is some room for customization, we ask four basic questions in each interview. We repeat the same questions, because they give our congregants a weekly reminder and opportunity to reflect on their own work.

Question #1: How would you describe your work? 

"We want a snapshot of the daily life of the interviewee. This answer often builds common ground between the interviewee and others within the congregation, even if they don't work in the same field. 

Question #2: As an image-bearer of God, how does your work reflect some aspect of God’s work? (Gen 1:26-28, 1 Cor. 10:31, Eph. 5:1, Col. 3:17)

"We want to ground the intrinsic value of work in the character of God and frame our work as an act of “image-bearing” (Gen. 1:16-28, 2:15). Therefore, we ask the interviewees to connect their work to some specific aspect of God’s work. In Kingdom Calling, Amy Sherman offers six categories of God’s work that give us a helpful framework for our vocations:
  • Creative work (artists, designers, architects, etc.)
  • Providential work (entrepreneurs, janitors, civil servants, bankers, etc.)
  • Justice work (lawyers, paralegals, diplomats, supervisors, etc.)
  • Compassionate work (nurses, nonprofit directors, social workers, EMTs, etc.)
  • Revelatory work (scientists, journalists, educators, etc.)
  • Redemptive work (pastors, authors, counselors, etc.)
Question #3: How does your work give you a unique vantage point into the brokenness of the world? (Gen. 3; Rom. 3:10-20

"Some people subconsciously think their work should always be fun and fulfilling, often assuming that the presence of pain and struggle invalidates the goodness of their work. We want them to see that, in a fallen world that is filled with sin and its effects, each occupation has unique hardships and comes with its own thorns and thistles. 

Question #4: Jesus commands us to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” How does your work function as an opportunity to love and serve others? (Mk. 10:35-45; Eph. 5:1, Rom. 12:14-21; Col. 1:24-27)

"We want to broaden the application of Jesus’s command to love our neighbors. Many people assume this command is mostly applied as interpersonal acts of kindness, but we try to demonstrate that love can also be indirect and systemic.”

I was teaching a college course in a Canadian college not long ago when a woman in the class made a statement to me about half way through the course.  She was a faithful believer, served on mission trips and tried to live righteously in her sizable company which she had founded and where she was the current CEO. Michelle said to me, “for the first time in my life I have come to realize that my business is my ministry.”

All of us need to do what we can to celebrate every profession, every workplace skill, every occupation and every business as that which God desires to bring glory to himself and bring people to worship Him.
1   Is the Gap Between Pulpit & Pew Narrowing? Read the Latest Research  ©2018 Center for Faith & Work at LeTourneau University

2  “The Butcher, the Baker, and the Biotech Maker”, Jim Mullins, The Gospel Coalition, October 29, 2014.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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Job opportunities in BAM

Sunday, December 31, 2017

I am often asked if there are places in the world of Business as Mission (BAM) for internships, job opportunities, for those who are not true entrepreneurs or founders.  The best BAM website out there may be Business As Mission's (www.businessasmission.com) and this recent list of job opportunities will interest many of our readers.

The list includes a wide variety of skills such as fashion design, accounting, IT, web development, management, marketing, agriculture, sales, communications and more.  Check it out:

Business is a gift

Sunday, December 24, 2017

This month of December is a month for giving. We give gifts to each other; we reflect on the gift of Jesus to humanity; and we think about year-end giving to various charities.

Patrice Tsague, CEO of the Nehemiah Project proposed that business is a gift and he stated twenty reasons. If you agree, we suggest giving to help people start and grow a Kingdom business, thus creating jobs in the name of Jesus. IBEC helps do just that.

Here are 20 reasons that business is a gift:

  1. Business brings hope
  2. Business reduces crime
  3. Business reduces poverty
  4. Business reduces the threat of terrorism
  5. Business creates income
  6. Business reduces dependency
  7. Business minimizes the threat of war
  8. Business builds community
  9. Business creates wealth
  10. Business helps families
  11. Business solves problems
  12. Business creates jobs
  13. Business helps communities and churches
  14. Business advances the Gospel and funds the great commission
  15. Business can be passed on from generation to generation
  16. Business helps turn a receiver into a giver
  17. Business turns a consumer into a producer
  18. Business pays taxes
  19. Business brings dignity
  20. Business brings innovation
If you would like to support IBEC in cultivating Kingdom-building businesses, you can find more information on the IBEC website. God's blessing in 2018.

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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How the Christ of Christmas stimulated Kingdom business

Sunday, December 17, 2017
How the Christ of Christmas stimulated Kingdom business

Christians look at the annual celebration of Christmas with fond memories of the incarnation of Jesus, who as the son of God came as the Savior of the world.  Such Good News is stated in and lived out throughout the New Testament. While the simple meaning of this precious time in history has been diluted with the likes of Santa Claus, reindeer, snowmen, colored lights, fluffy gifts, elves and other trivia, I recently turned my thinking toward the connection of the “Christ- child” with our calling to business.

It seems to me that the incarnation of Jesus in this world actually contributed to Kingdom business as we pursue it today.  Here’s how:

Jesus’ Perspective on Work, Money and Wealth

Kingdom business in North America as well as overseas (BAM) has profit and sustainability as a fundamental bottom line.  Jesus not only acknowledged, but he validated, profitable business. He worked in the ‘secular’ family building business for most of his life (Matt 13:55). Approximately 50% of Jesus’ parables were in a business setting, such as the cost accounting example of building a tower (Luke 14:28). Also, Jesus spoke clearly about worker’s wages in Luke 10:7. 

Perhaps equally important, Jesus in multiple places validated the Old Testament scriptures (Matt 5:17, Luke 24:27, 44). Those scriptures begin with Jesus and God the Father as the worker deity, with Moses speaking of the value of wealth creation (Deut 8:18), and the calling of men of wealth to fulfill the purposes of God (Abraham, Job, Solomon and others). The Old Testament is full of verses guiding business leaders (Gen. 2:15; Eccl. 9:9-10, Prov 12:11).

Many other stories and actions of Jesus support profitable and sustainable business as ordained of God and the Christ of Christmas. We start and grow businesses because Jesus ordained it and gifted people to do so.

The Values of Jesus

While it is true that Jesus provides the validation for the purpose and perspective of a Kingdom business, the values of Jesus relative to operational issues in business may be equally important. Those values are too numerous to mention here but Ken Eldred in God is at Work 1 does an admirable job of demonstrating how Biblical values are at the root of successful capitalism. Under the rubric of personal character values are – integrity, honesty/truthfulness, loyalty, faithfulness, trust, commitment/diligence, order and cleanliness and hope.  

Interpersonal relationship values of Jesus include humility, service, respect/dignity, justice/fairness, grace, compassion, forgiveness, consideration, trust, accountability and interdependence. He even lists performance values such as service, excellence, value and quality; all held high by Jesus as standards for a Kingdom business.  Kingdom businesses create jobs and the purpose of employer-employee relationships is to bring glory to God but living out the values that Jesus taught.

The Great Commandments of Jesus to love Him and our neighbor become one of the central components of the BAM bottom-line. When we create jobs, we are loving our neighbor. When we live out the values of Jesus, we are loving our neighbor and when we serve like Jesus served, we are loving our neighbor.

Jesus and Making Him Known

While it is clear that living rightly in the “here and now” is central to Jesus’ teaching, he also cared as much or more about eternal values. He desired that believers work toward helping others to become followers of Jesus. Some call that the Great Commission – the making of disciples of all nations. Ken Eldred calls it developing spiritual capital; for sure it is one of the bottom lines of Business as Mission.

The Christ of Christmas stated, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36). Again, he stated in the Sermon on the Mount, “…store up for yourselves treasurers in heaven…” (Matt 6:20). It is incumbent upon every follower of Jesus to do his or her part in making him known to an unreached world.  And this is fundamentally one of the bottom lines of a Kingdom business.

Let’s remember this month of Christmas that Jesus is the origin of work, the setter of workplace values and He wants us to make him known here and worldwide using business as the best way to do so.

1 Eldred, Ken.  God is at Work:  Transforming People and Nations through Business.  Regal Books, Ventura, CA, 2005.

Beware of unintended consequences in missional business

Sunday, December 10, 2017
Beware of unintended consequences in missional business

In September 2017, Seattle’s Amazon corporation announced its intent to open a second headquarters projected to be even larger than the one in Seattle. This set off a scramble of fifty cities trying to lure the tech giant to their ‘neck of the woods”.

But it made me wonder if these cities have considered the “Seattle experience”. Once considered a one-industry town (first gold and then Boeing and then Microsoft, before other well-known companies like Starbucks, Nordstrom, Costco made Seattle home), Seattle promoted the intentional decision of Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos to build in the inner city. The result has made Seattle the fastest growing big city in the country. Amazon today at its south Lake Union core has bestowed 40,000 jobs on the city located in 33 buildings with 8.1 million square feet. Amazon owns 19% of the high-end office space in the city and has 4,000 puppy dogs registered for its headquarters buildings.

Such dominance to be sure, has its benefits. Unemployment in King County is 3.7%, well below the national average, and smaller companies have showed up in this Silicon Valley of the north. Thirty-one Fortune 500 companies have research or engineering hubs in Seattle today, bring more jobs.

But what of the unintended consequences? Sociologist Robert Merton popularized the law of unintended consequences which suggests that the actions of people always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended. It’s not a complicated idea but difficult to avoid it seems, when trying to keep up with Jeff Bezos and his Amazon juggernaut.

Taxpayers in Seattle now pay hundreds of millions of dollars in ongoing transportation and infrastructure upgrades such as transit and road networks, parks, utilities and housing subsidies. Seattle is one of the most expensive cities in America and rents have increased 65% in the last seven years. The city of Seattle spends $60 million annually to address the needs of the homeless. It is impossible to drive on or under freeway overpasses without seeing hundreds of tents and other homeless indicators. And the traffic conditions in this beautiful city by the sea and the mountains are going from bad to worse.

Not all of these consequences can be blamed on Amazon, but the company certainly is a gigantic factor.

Boston, Charlotte, Kansas City, Tucson, Birmingham, Kansas City and 40 others – are you sure you are ready for this?

But what about anything else? What about any activity? What about Kingdom businesses? Of course, everything else is on a much smaller scale but still the Seattle experience should cause any endeavor to “count the cost”, to do a risk analysis, to consider the unintended consequences?

Some of the unintended consequences that I have seen in Business as Mission (BAM) have been family stress when the business owner is spending 80 hours a week at the business site, or the cost of expansion and its related taxes, increased labor force and rent, or increased attention in the community from rival business interests or political antagonists. Some BAMers are cut out for a small enterprise of 5-10 employees and not capable of scaling into a much larger company and such growth results in stress and potential failure. Growth usually means a new team dynamic, new division of labor and the insertion of new skills such as marketing, financial analysis and consulting services. These are all important and good but owners need to plan for these important components in the growth of the operation.

Unintended consequences can be intended consequences if we anticipate them, plan for them, or design strategies to avoid them. The London “tube” has signs everywhere “Mind the Gap”. Here my appeal is “Mind the Consequences.”

Predictors for BAM company impact

Sunday, December 03, 2017
Predictors for BAM company impact

There is considerable interest these days in measuring the impact of Business as Mission (BAM) companies. Is the theory of BAM something that will contribute to the intended results? How are individual BAM companies doing when compared to the quadruple bottom line? What makes for success?

Researcher and economist, Steve Rundle reported at the BAM Conference in September 2017 on research which addresses these questions in part.1 He started with two hypotheses:

Hypothesis # 1: Those BAM workers who draw a salary entirely from the business will have a greater economic impact than BAM workers who are donor supported.

Hypothesis # 2: BAM workers who are donor supported will be more effective in producing spiritual fruit than their business supported peers.

The study included appropriate numbers of subjects; and controls for location, firm size and business type, etc. Interestingly, the results demonstrated that hypothesis #1 was strongly supported, however hypothesis #2 was not supported at all.

Donor supported or business supported?

One would expect that spiritual impact would be highest for donor supported BAM practitioners; after all these are primarily missionaries who are paid to produce spiritual results. So, why such evidence? What then is correlated with effectiveness, or in other words, what are the predictors of spiritual results for these BAM practitioners? The evidence suggests:
  • Accountability to a board of directors
  • A measurable intentionality for what one is trying to achieve
  • A balanced holistic theology of mission to explain why they are there
  • Being open about one’s faith and identity
  • A perspective of ‘blessing’ the people, rather than ‘converting’
Professor Rundle points out the negative correlations; meaning factors which did not produce the intended results. They were: narrow missional orientation, secretive identity, conversion focus, being wholly donor supported.

Blessers or Converters?

He also pointed to a similar study by Mark Russell2 which produced parallel findings. Russell’s categories were called “Blessers” and “Converters”. The “Blessers” typically responded that they were there to be a blessing. Bringing others to follow Jesus was important but only one aspect of a larger purpose and vision.

The “Converters” typically tried to “keep the main thing the main thing” and viewed the business as an avenue for missionaries to proclaim the gospel and produce conversions, rather than a place to integrate faith with the work.

In a similar manner to Rundle, Russell demonstrated that the “Converters” who focused on a converting orientation, were secretive about their missionary identity, and worked independently, reported far fewer incidences of evangelism (converts) than those with a blessing mentality.

Probably similar studies are necessary before concrete propositions can be made, but such evidence as this certainly is food for thought – and ACTION!

1  Steve Rundle -- Maximizing the Impact of BAM.

2  Russell, Mark. The Missional Entrepreneur. New Hope Publishers, 2010, chapter 11.

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IBEC Ventures -- Consultants for BAM/Business as Mission