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God Means Business!

By Bob Kuhlman - When it comes to busness as mission, the phrase “God means business” has a double meaning. If you’re a believer, you know that God doesn’t mess around. He means business. And for Integra, since the concept of “business,” as in the good old entrepreneurial spirit of starting a company to make a profit, is at the heart of what we do as a Christian mission organization, we say that “God means business” in another way.

Not long ago I spoke at Wheaton College, a Christian school in the Chicago area, along with Mats Tunehag, a businessman and missionary from Sweden. Mats (pronounced “Motts”) and I outlined the vision and strategy for the growing movement known as Business as Missions (BAM). We talked about its scriptural bases and history, and offered advice from our own personal experiences on how this cutting edge strategy could be used by the next generation of missionaries to reach places where the Gospel has never gone before, especially some of those countries we think of as “closed” to mission work.

I was gratified to see the students “get it” as we talked about the biblical alignment of BAM and evangelism. It’s really nothing more than living out your life as a believer in front of non-Christians, making such a compelling impression on them through your honesty and excellence in the business arena, that they naturally inquire what makes you “different” from others. Let me share with you the principles we challenged these students with about BAM:

BAM is rooted in Scripture and history

God is the original entrepreneur. Ever since creation, God’s people have been using business as missions for His glory. In Eden, the Lord instructed Adam and Eve to “till the garden;” Abraham was a successful businessman; the honorable woman in Proverbs 31 was a businesswoman; even Jesus worked in a family business for many years. God has given us minds and creativity to reflect His own. He has given us countless examples of people serving in business with a holy purpose and passion.

BAM is being a follower of Jesus

Jesus, our perfect teacher and model, has commanded that we focus our energy on serving those who are hungry, thirsty, naked, sick and in prison. Just look at Matthew 25. Unemployment—and underemployment—is a major cause of this litany of human suffering around the world. Helping the struggling start businesses makes serving poor in the name of Christ real. Needs are met and people get back on their feet. It allows us to live out our faith in Jesus and serve as his hands and feet to those in need. Entrepreneurs have a special opportunity to serve in the marketplace, and do business “as unto the Lord.”

BAM is a relevant response to human needs

The poorest regions of the world have unemployment rates of 30 to 80 percent. Among other problems, high unemployment leads to an increase in human trafficking and prostitution. As horrific as they may be, Christians cannot turn a blind eye to these unspeakable evils in our day. Both those who traffic and those who are victims in this evil circle of human misery need better alternatives. Businesses are desperately needed to improve the economy, provide jobs, and ultimately to find long-term, effective solutions to such devastating social problems. Ultimately, many in the poorest areas have great spiritual needs as well. They’ve never even heard the name of Jesus before! Using Business as Missions is an extraordinary way to demonstrate the love of God among the lost and afflicted. People are suffering and we have been given the resources to reach out and change their lives—for now and for eternity!

You may think that BAM is simply a business activity or a job creation scheme. But in fact, Business as Missions is about creating stable and profitable businesses while passionately building the Kingdom of God and seeing the spiritual transformation of people and society. The economic and social changes are byproducts that also bring glory to God!

BAM has an eternal impact for the Kingdom of God

Today, Integra thrives in Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia! We pray that we will bring hope where there is despair, compassion where there is cruelty, and love where there is hate. As we provide jobs and business opportunities, our desire is to see lives change for the better. With God’s love and compassion and by His command, we are reaching out to those less fortunate. One day, the King will say, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

Bob Kuhlman is the president of Integra Ventures, a Business as Mission organization that provides training and loans for aspiring entrepreneurs in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. More than 70 staff work in Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Russia, providing business training seminars, one-on-one mentoring, and counsel on marketing, sales, inventory management, and finance.

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posted by Justin Forman | 5.14.2009 - 6:47 AM

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