Monday, March 12, 2012

BAM allegations

A couple years ago when I started this blog I was excited to share with anyone who would read (all 11 of you) about BAM--Business As Missions.  It was (and is) one of the most cutting-edge approaches to missions being put into use in the world today.  The idea is that Missionaries engage in some sort of business (usually as owners or managing directors) which allows them to gain access to unreached peoples as well as giving them a way to associate with their targeted people.  BAM is one type of "tentmaking" approach. 

And let's face it--the majority of the world's unreached peoples live in what are called "Creative Access Nations" (CANs).  CANs aren't going to have many visas available for people who want to be public missionaries, and the opportunities that are available for living and working there will likely be out of reach for people who have only theological education.  So, BAM is one of the best ways to go.

But I've learned that BAM will also bring a number of allegations against you... Usually from people who are just making assumptions and don't really know what you're doing.  If you are planning to do BAM, be prepared to be accused of...
  • Being Greedy--not really in it for ministry, but you're in it for the money.
  • Being Distracted--you can't possibly doing as much ministry as you would be doing if you were a "full-time" missionary without any business responsibilities.
  • Being only about Presence Evangelism and not Proclomation (or about social justice and not evangelism)--your business helps people physically, but you aren't doing any gospel sharing.
There is a lot that can be said about each one of these points.  And, the truth is--there are probably real examples of each of these out there in the world.  But I am confident that we are not guilty of these three things.  If any of them, we might be guilty of being distracted by business responsibilities at times--but those are really only distractions if the ministry you're doing is completely separate and unrelated to the business.  In our case, much of our ministry happens because of our business, so the time we put into the business contributes to the ministry. 

BAM is not for everyone.  It takes a team to work well.  But if you decide to do BAM--don't be discouraged if you find that you're not the sexiest missionary on the block in the eyes of some. 

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