Friday, March 20, 2009

BAM and Christian Business

Thank you to Katdish for bringing this up in the comments on my post The Approach.

Is BAM the same thing as a "Christian Business"?

In my hometown you can look through the Yellow Pages and will see numerous ads with the Christian fish symbol on it, a cross or sometimes a scripture. Sometimes someone gets clever and spells the word sun (that fiery ball in the sky) as "Son" (that's right, the Son of God--Jesus). These are all "codes" to let us know that the owner is a Christian. Many Christians will see these things, pick up on the code, and become excited to find a fellow Christian. When it comes time to use their service (auto repair, dentist, lawyer, etc.) they will choose that Christian business over the other ones.

Not too different is when a businessman joins a church. He then gets a hold of the church directory and promptly sends out letters or e-mails letting everyone know about his business. Or, he makes an announcement in church that he will give a special deal to all the members of the church who want to come purchase his goods or services. Most people are so excited that they are on "the inside" of a good deal that they don't realize that this guy is likely doing this to increase his business, not because he wants to "bless" the church.

Now, I don't think these things are inherently wrong. I think that depends on the heart of the business man or woman and what their purpose is. I cannot judge them. I think we often feel jaded, though, because we feel like people are using God. And I think many times people do. They have put a Christian label on their sign to drum up more business in areas where there are a lot of Christians. They are using God to make more money.

BAM (Business as Missions/Ministry) is quite the opposite. The idea is to use business to impact people for God, not using God to improve business. Profitability is important because it is necessary for sustainability. The real "bottom line," however, is kingdom impact. Our main purpose is to serve God and to expand his kingdom. Therefore, we try to do business with those who are NOT Christians. This is not to try to trick them or get their money, but in order to get to know them and build a relationship. In the course of a relationship we share our faith in Christ in a natural way.

Therefore, I think most BAM businesses would NOT use Christian labels or symbols because the goal isn't to get into the Christian community but to get into the non-Christian community.


  1. I've been trying to figure out what BAM is (thanks Katdish for commenting so that I could have my curiosity sastisfied) - and thanks Koffijah for explaining that. So BAM, then is an actual misitry that you are a part of?

  2. Hi Annie, Well, BAM is not an actual ministry per se (like a particular organization) but it is a TYPE of ministry. It stands for Business As Missions. I explain what BAM is in my What is BAM? post that you can find at Hope this helps! Thanks for coming by the Koffi House!

  3. I once worked for a "Christian business." It was totally a money maker for the owners (they didn't pay their employees very well for the type of work it was, so I'm not really sure how Christian it was). There's definitely a huge difference between BAM and a Christian business.

  4. yes Koffijah you are right, not every christian business leaders are profit oriented. I like your idea for BAM you are doing a great job... keep going on..

  5. Hey, you're welcome.

    Ugh! Don't even get me started about people using the local church to drum up business. I used to get tons of invitations for a bunch of home parties selling everything from Tupperware to jewelry, to scrapbooking stuff, home goods, name it.

    It's pretty disheartening to see women at these parties who, only a few days earlier were asking for prayer about their finances. I don't go anymore.

  6. Ha, Katdish, something about your comment just makes me laugh. Maybe it is because I tend to laugh at things like tupperware parties... I don't know why. But it is so funny. What's even funnier are "Christian" themed sales parties... Like I knew of one where they did family albums with scriptures and the like. It almost seemed like they advertised it such that "any good Christian who loves their family is going to do (purchase) this..."