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Business as Mission Training- Optimizing Impact

Initial feedback revealed that John was the No 1 speaker in the International Business as Mission Course. John is a seasoned business entrepreneur working on the cutting edge of the Business as Mission movement and spoke from the perspective of a potential investor into Business as Mission businesses. His topics stirred up passionate discussion and questions in the classroom. Participants were challenged to be radical with God in their BAM ventures seeking to enter areas of the world that are not defined as "investor friendly" but "potentially unfavorable or risky". For those called to business and expanding God's kingdom, what holds us back from embracing and asking if God may have called us to go to these places? He spoke dynamically, challenging the participants calling and willingness to sacrifice and be obedient.

Hear from participant Ruth Smith who has a vision to meet Christian educational needs and physical needs for women and children in Malaysia. This is how John's teaching impacted her:
What some businesses would kill for we could be killed for. With that as an introduction, John explained how his name and business began coming up in Google searches after being "outed" as a Business as Mission operation in a closed country in Asia.The result was detrimental to the company & shy; and the Christian entrepreneurs.The company's website was taken down, and all the Christian managers changed their contact information. Throughout John┬╣s lectures, the class was frequently reminded about the need for security when doing business as mission in countries whose governments are the opposed to Christianity.

John is now the CEO of a venture capital company. His company's vision includes building long-term relationship with BAM companies operating in Africa and the Muslim world.
John's company not only looks to invest capital, but helps find the right mentoring for the business. He defines capital to include more than money. In fact, he identifies five kinds of capital that BAM organizations require, only one of which is financial. The other four are:

  1. Human ­- especially the kind of people who are obedient to the Lord that says, "Here I am, send me."

  2. Intellectual - ­ the gifts and talents of the people who are part of the business.

  3. Spiritual ­- the Holy Spirit leadership that helps BAM companies successfully wage the spiritual warfare in the countries they operate.

  4. Social -­ the network a company creates ­my success is directly related to your success through win-win partnerships and associations.
In addition to this broad definition of capital, John also has a broad definition of the bottom line of a BAM business. Such a business, has a quadruple bottom line that seeks transformation of the social, spiritual,environmental and financial landscapes.

John did not minimize for us the challenges of achieving the quadruple bottom line in a BAM project. It may take 3 (or more frequently 5) years to achieve a profit, but the social and spiritual transformations may take many years. The challenges are formidable. BAM practitioners operate in across-cultural setting, deal with corruption, and face many other issues. He emphasized that BAMers need to commit for the long term to achieve the transformation of the society they hope to realize.

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posted by Justin Forman | 3.31.2008 - 7:00 AM


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