Characteristics of a BAM Practitioner

Peter Shaukat interviewed by Jo Plummer, Editor of The BAM Review

We have developed an interesting questionnaire for potential BAM practitioners which get to some of these criteria. Here are ten of the top ranking criteria in our experience:

  1. Well-rounded thinking
    We look for a genuine, thoughtful understanding of work as ministry, with the experience and capacity to grapple with ethical issues, able to live with a certain degree of ambiguity – i.e. they are not black and white in their thinking.
  1. Servant leaders
    BAM practitioners, fundamentally, are called by God to a ministry of exercising servant-leadership in the marketplace – the arena which is, in our time, the most influential, agenda-setting nexus of human activity.  Understanding how to be an agent of redemption and transformation in such a context – and bringing some tangible experience to the table in doing so – is indispensable.
  1. Devotional life
    We seek out those with a demonstrated ability to nurture their own devotional life through the Word and prayer.  A close walk with God, and taking responsibility for one’s spiritual formation both individually and within the context of community is essential not only to survival, but to “thrival”, a unique mixture of faithfulness and fruitfulness to the greater glory of God.
  1. High risk-tolerance
    We look for a genuine, high risk-tolerance as they live out an incarnational presence on the ground.  In a day when the culture of the age is to insulate, isolate and insure ourselves against suffering and harm, the counter-culture of the Kingdom is to carry our cross daily – this is not just a “spiritual” thing, but touches upon the daily conduct of business.
  1. Self-awareness in terms of personal attributes
    We are looking for those that are aware of, and humbly able to recognise their combination of skills, talents, experience (linking formal education with real life experience) and spiritual giftings and practice, since both are needed to do BAM well.
  1. Emotional intelligence
    We look for those who are relationally adept and have good EQ (emotional quotient), regardless of what their Myers-Briggs, DISC, or other psychometric categories might suggest.  These two characteristics (temperament shaped by fruitful formation through abiding in the Vine) are non-negotiable in cross-cultural settings.
  1. Openness and intentionality towards missional and cultural preparation
    We are working with BAM companies in the majority Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist world – so this shapes the Christ-centred, missiological perspective, passions and preparedness of any potential candidate. We look for adequate, appropriate preparation for the spiritual and cultural context into which they are planning to proceed, combined with a curious learner’s heart for in situ observation and assimilation. Language and culture acquisition are pretty fundamental realities to doing business well, making friends and influencing people. (This needs to be balanced in many situations with the realisation that English may in fact be the lingua franca, so not always is the standard language acquisition template appropriate.) Similarly, understanding the deep worldview of the particular religious context is essential – although, again, some traditional mission approaches prepare in categories that the business world finds irrelevant, or missing altogether. Keep in mind that the BAMer’s cultural contexts may quite likely include the potential diversity of other expats who might be involved in the business, and not just ‘the nationals’.
  1. Team-oriented
    We also look for a balanced view of strategic collaboration and a communitarian, team-oriented approach to mission (and business, for that matter). This balanced view should render them open to the concept of being sent and resourced in a variety of ways for wholistic impact, and genuinely engaged in accountable relationships both ‘at home’ and ‘in the field’.
  1. Realistic financial expectations
    We are working with BAM companies in generally less-affluent contexts, so this shapes the financial compensation realities and therefore the expectations of a potential candidate. We look for realistic expectations about and appropriate personal circumstances in regards to finance. We strongly recommend that, generally, the candidate should understand and be prepared to work with the Holy Spirit in assembling the full package of necessary and sufficient financial resourcing – all of which, whatever the source, comes from Him. This can include that which God provides through like-minded Christians, and/or, through their own financial means already or in other ways provided by God.
  1. Longer term availability
    We look at sufficient availability. Unless it is a very specific task oriented role which might indeed be shorter term, most BAM companies would be looking for a minimum of six months; one year is better, and within two years real value can be added to the company or it becomes mutually clear that it’s not a good ongoing fit. Ideally though there would be a commitment for more than two years since ‘longer is generally preferred’. This is both because companies need good, stable talent, and because transformational impact and potential comes with deeper relationships.

Then depending on the individual’s marital and family status, consideration needs to be given to a whole range of spiritual and practical issues. In practical terms, age, ethnicity, gender, or even health may come into play as a criteria. These are important to process as we assess reality in which they will find themselves attempting effective BAM.

These would be the key ones, with others being relevant of course.


Peter Shaukat
 has lived and worked in a professional and business capacity for over 30 years throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East, South and North America and is a pioneer in the business as mission movement. He currently consults on business as mission all over the world and is the CEO of a global investment fund for BAM enterprise in the Arab world and Asia.

First published in BAM Review http://businessasmission.com/blog/

Business According to a Global Dictionary of Theology

So what is an article on business doing in a global dictionary of theology?** What place does business have in the life and witness of the Body of Christ worldwide? Why should businesspeople take an interest in theology and its practical outworking as they ply their trade? These questions go to the heart of a persistent struggle waged by the church throughout history.

  1. Business in a global context

Economic issues rank high on the agenda for much of the world. For good or ill, commercial priorities and the behavior of business leaders are shaping global events, in some notable cases, far beyond the capacity of traditional centers of influence, such as governments, to control or match. In many countries unemployment is rampant; even the solutions to other apparently unrelated issues, such as HIV/AIDS or traffic in human beings, involve a business oriented response. The church must choose between responses of ambivalence, antagonism, or positive engagement with business in its holistic understanding of the gospel.

  1. Foundational theological concepts

Theological reflection on business is part of a larger set of issues including debate over distinctions between sacred and secular, the nature of work and ministry, and, in the missiological arena the nature and role of so-called “tentmaking”, of which business is generally taken to be a subset. An important overarching concept is the prophetic call to love justice, practice kindness, and walk humbly with God (Mic 6. 8). The vexing issue of profit is addressed in scripture. Many of Jesus’ own teachings use business examples, often favourably, to illustrate ultimate truth.

  • The Person of God

It might be said that God is the original entrepreneur. Beginning with an idea, and creating that which was good in all respects, God reveals His Person, and shows us an essential outlook on life (Gen. 1.1 – 2.3). Furthermore, the central business activity of providing meaningful and sustainable employment is a demonstration of justice and kindness, grounded in the character of God.

  • The Power of the Gospel

Alongside of proclamation is the need to demonstrate the transforming power of the gospel to a skeptical world. From the “thief who steals no more” (Eph. 4. 28) to the executive who “provides what is right and fair” (Col. 4.1) modeling successful business, based on God’s truth and prayerfully led by the Spirit, is a tangible and irrefutable witness.

  • The Priesthood of all Believers

The “ecclesia”, the people of God, are found on the shop floor, in factories, and other work settings. Especially in countries where suspicion and hostility to the gospel is strong, the most natural and credible opportunities to evangelize and make disciples are often found among employees, suppliers and customers of businesses led by committed Christians.

  • The Practice of Stewardship

In contrast to conventional wisdom, the Christian affirms that business does not exist to maximize shareholder wealth, but by the permission of God and to be a channel of blessing to others. This leads to a number of considerations concerning the proper direction and use of all that God gives us, including the gifts of time and talent represented by employees, the earth’s resources, the very products and services produced, and the profit which accrues. These concerns are foremost in the thinking of the faithful steward.

  1. Historical perspectives

Beginning with the story of Abraham, including the account of the worthy woman of Prov. 31, and culminating with the record of Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18), entrepreneurs hold an important place in the unfolding of God’s purposes. In the Middle Ages, the Nestorians carried the gospel along the Silk Road as they conducted business on East-West trade routes. The influence of the Moravians and Basel entrepreneur missionaries of the 18th and 19th centuries was far-reaching. The Norwegian entrepreneur, Hans Nielsen Hague (1771 – 1824) represents a dramatic example of the power of business in the hands of a committed Christian to literally transform an entire society. Far from being on the fringes of God’s global purposes, business has often played a central role. With this historical perspective in mind, the challenge of our day is in many respects to recover and implement afresh this exciting heritage.

  1. Business as a multidisciplinary exercise

For the church worldwide to effectively embrace business as a vocation for its membership the collaboration of those with of a wide range of skills and spiritual gifts will be required. For example, because the practice of business takes place in a cultural context, anthropological perspectives are necessary. Similarly, the contribution of ethicists, economists, environmentalists, historians, journalists, lawyers, missiologists, sociologists, and others will add value to the more classic “business” competencies of finance, product development, marketing, and human resources. Chief among the spiritual gifts required will be courageous prophets, envisioned pastors, and authoritative teachers, if those saints who are called to a ministry of business are to accomplish this with Christ-honouring accountability, affirmative equipping, and adequate resourcing for the task.

  1. Current trends

There is a global movement of the Spirit in connection with business. Virtually every country in the world and every part of the Body of Christ is being touched. Perhaps most significantly, individual believers with business skills are being awakened to the potential involvement they can have in furthering the Kingdom of God in the business arena. In 2005, a gathering of over seventy representatives from every continent met in connection with the Lausanne Consultation in Thailand to focus on business as a missional activity for the church. Emerging across the world in at least a half dozen regions, many of which are economically poor and where the church is in a small minority, are consultations of entrepreneurs, business professionals and others engaged in the issues of business for the greater glory of God. Spanning the globe are Christian business ministries to executives and employees with a calling to the higher purposes of God. All this represents a genuine sign to the people of God, and to the world, of the Kingdom in our midst.

Peter Shaukat and Mats Tunehag

** Global Dictionary of Theology. Editied by Dyrness & Kärkkäinen. IVP 2008

Bibliography

Cleveland, Paul, Gregory Gronbacher, Gary Quinlivan, and Michel Therrien, A Catholic Response to Economic Globalization: Applications of Catholic Social Teaching, (Grand Rapids, MI.: Acton Institute, 2001)

Danker, William, Profit for the Lord, (Eugene, Oreg.: Wipf & Stock, 2002, originally published by Eerdmans, 1971)

Grudem, Wayne, Business for the Glory of God: The Bibles Teaching on the Moral Goodness of Business, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2003).

Hill, Dr. Alexander, Just Business – Christian Ethics for the Marketplace, (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1997).

Myers, Bryant, Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development, (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 1999).

Rundle, Steve, and Tom Steffen, Great Commission Companies: The Emerging Role of Business in Missions, (Downers Grove, IL.: InterVarsity Press, 2003).

Schlossberg, Herbert, Ronald J. Sider and Vinay Samuel, Eds, Christianity and Economics in the Post-Cold War Era, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994).

Tunehag, Mats; McGee, Wayne; Plummer, Josie (editors), Business as Mission. Lausanne Occasional Paper No. 59. (www.lausanne.org) 2004

 

Wealth Creation: A Godly Gift and Command

As we do business, we create wealth – not only financial wealth, but also social, cultural, intellectual, and spiritual wealth. The Bible talks about wealth in three ways: wealth creation, sharing and hoarding. The last is condemned. Wealth sharing is encouraged and is often facilitated through NGOs and churches, but there is no wealth to be shared unless it has been created. Wealth creation is a godly gift; God says that He gives the ability to create wealth. (Deut. 8:18)

Let’s look at the context of this statement in Deuteronomy chapter eight. The people of Israel have been brought out of Egypt and are about to enter the Promised Land. God tells them what to expect and what to do. He explicitly states that there are good business prospects in mining and agriculture. People are admonished to seize these opportunities. As a result, wealth will be created. But then a danger arises, or rather, two potential pitfalls.

Firstly, God says there is a risk that people will think and say that they themselves have created wealth, failing to acknowledge the Lord in it. This is what precedes verse 18. So God reminds them that He is the one who gives the gift and ability to create wealth.

Secondly, wealth creation is put into the context of the Covenant. God entered into a Covenant with Abraham and his descendants that He blessed them so they could bless others – locally and globally. But, one could say blessings are beyond words. To bless others is to create all kinds of wealth and in turn, share it. This is indeed a part of the Covenant. And one mustn’t forget God -the initiator of the Covenant.

Wealth creation processes, done through business, should be mindful of both God and others. We should always have this dual goal: to do business for God and the common good. It makes a difference. Noah and his sons undertook a massive engineering project with this perspective and it led to the salvation of mankind and creation. An equally impressive construction project was the Tower of Babel. However God was left out of this project, and, built on selfish motives, it led to the breakdown of society.

The gift and calling to create wealth is beyond a micro finance loan or a single small or medium size business. It is about building nations, and seeking the welfare of cities.

“This is what the Lord Almighty says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:  Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city.” (Jer. 29)

Here the people of Israel are in exile. They are in a country they didn’t choose. But they mustn’t sit and sulk, simply go into survival mode, or withdraw into religious ceremonies and meetings. No, they are commanded to start businesses, develop the local economy, and in doing so strive for shalom. Shalom is whole relationships filled with integrity. Business is about relationships with customers, clients, suppliers, staff, community, city, and environment. Seek shalom with all these partners and entities, as you seek to create wealth and prosperity for cities and nations.

Pope Francis writes: “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good.” 

Wealth creation is a godly gift. Use it – for God and the common good.

Mats Tunehag

The BAM Global Movement

I spent a few days in Thailand this week in planning meetings for the expansion of the BAM Global Think Tank.** During the visit I was interviewed about the status of the Business as Mission movement; its yesterday, today and tomorrow. Here goes…

Mats Tunehag has been speaking, writing and convening on business as mission for 20 years. When he visited The BAM Review office recently, we asked him a few questions about the business as mission movement.

Mats, what have you seen changing in business as mission in the last 15-20 years?

We are seeing a reawakening of what it means to be a Christian in business in our day and age. There has been remarkable growth of people getting engaged in doing business for God and the common good. If we take a 15 year time span, there are things we have today that didn’t exist 15 years ago. Now, we have a greater common understanding globally of this idea that we call ‘business as mission’. There are significant common denominators in our understanding, even though terminology may vary from group to group.

15 years ago when you mentioned business as mission, there were many questions about ‘What is that?’, ‘Is this something we want to get involved in?’. Today you can travel to almost any country and bump into people who have heard of, or are talking about, or practicing, business as mission. That is one of the major changes globally.

Another change in the last 15 years, is that we now see an unprecedented global connectedness of people involved in business as mission (BAM). There are now many more people involved in the ‘BAM ecosystem’ around the world; not just business owners, and other business professions, but those that provide support services. There is a growing recognition that businesses are needed for holistic impact, by mission agencies, churches, academics, and others who are connecting in. So now there isn’t just individual expressions of business as mission around the world, but a global movement. People are working together, and having a broader impact, and that is a significant change.

What’s ahead? What do you see as some of the big opportunities for the BAM movement for the future?

We need to acknowledge that businesses can provide solutions some of the most serious issues globally. Even more so, BAM businesses have a unique contribution to make as we are trying to address some of the dire problems that we find around the world. For example, according to some statistics, there is a 1.8 billion job deficit globally, that is rising, especially among young people in the Arab world and Asia. One of the biggest challenges we are facing is unemployment, underemployment and the lack of jobs with dignity. This is beyond just job creation, the Mafia also creates jobs, and so does the sex industry! This is about creating jobs, with human dignity, that honor God and are good for people and society.

Many countries are facing enormous environmental challenges and we know that through technological innovations, there are solutions that can be commercialized to address such problems.

Another global issue is the endemic corruption that keeps people and nations in poverty. Business as mission is also about doing ‘business as justice’! That means – like the Old Testament prophets before us – we take a stand against bribes, labour exploitation and cheating customers and suppliers on products, services or payments. How can we shape our businesses, and connect our businesses, to create momentum for fighting corruption?

We need to keep increasing that connectedness that I was talking about earlier, and build a critical mass of Christians in the marketplace that are involved in business as mission – regardless of what they call it or what terms they use, or what business or industry they are in.

What do you think is holding us back?

A major challenge we encounter again and again is the issue of worldview. Business as mission is not a technique, it’s a worldview centered on following Jesus in to the marketplace.

This worldview, shaped by the Bible, includes seeing wealth creation as something good and seeing creativity in business as being something that is helpful for people and society. It involves affirming, equipping and deploying business people into service as they do business unto God and for the common good.

The sacred-secular divide is deeply entrenched in our churches and in our thinking as Christians all around the world. So we can’t just do a minor tweak in our business techniques. No, there is a need to completely align our thinking with the Bible’s view on work and business.

What are you particularly excited about at the moment?

That this is actually a global movement! This is bigger than any organization or person or business or conference. A movement means that there is a growth that is beyond any one person’s control. If we think about the a global charismatic movement that emerged in the 1970‘s, for instance, there were some significant leaders and initiatives, but you could never find out where the headquarters of the charismatic movement was! There was no number to call!

The same is happening with business as mission now. God is at work and people around the world are embracing Biblical truths and running with it. There is a great variety of things happening from place to place and industry to industry; and while there is common vision and purpose, you can’t point to the center. It is a true movement and that is so exciting to me.

Mats Tunehag in conversation with Jo Plummer, Editor of The BAM Review 

“It is capitalism, not democracy, that the Arab world needs most”

“It is capitalism, not democracy, that the Arab world needs most”. This was the thought provoking title of a very helpful analysis of the current situation in the Arab world. It also highlights an essential need – jobs and business development, and the legal framework needed to that end.

The word capitalism is full of connotations, some quite negative. Thus is may be helpful to convey what Pope John Paul II said in Centesimus annus 1991:

“Can it perhaps be said that, after the failure of Communism, capitalism is the victorious social system, and that capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their economy and society? Is this the model which ought to be proposed to the countries of the Third World which are searching for the path to true economic and civil progress?

The answer is obviously complex. If by “capitalism” is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a “business economy”, “market economy” or simply “free economy”.

But if by “capitalism” is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative.”

This lack of freedom in the economic sector is one of the dire problems in the Arab world. A businessperson in Tunisia started the so-called Arab Spring. His aspirations were freedom and rule of law principles in the marketplace. It was not a call for political freedom in general, nor a demand for a general election or for the right to freely surf on the Internet.

The article in The Telegraph will elaborate further. To read the article, click here –> “It is capitalism, not democracy, that the Arab world needs most”

It may also be helpful to read the following article: To Help the World’s Poor, Give Them Real Jobs

It is about human dignity and long term solutions: In surveys about people’s biggest concerns worldwide, income and employment pretty much always come out on top. Polls across countries also suggest that losing a job is one of the biggest possible hits to self-reported happiness.”

To read the article, click here –> To Help the World’s Poor, Give Them Real Jobs

Mats Tunehag

 

 

BAM & the Olive Tree – Mats Tunehag

BAM & the Olive Tree

There have been movements of societal transformation throughout history.

Key leaders like Luther, Calvin, Knox, and Zwingli catalyzed the Protestant reformation. Approximately 200 years ago William Wilberforce and others spearheaded the movement fighting for the abolition slavery and slave trade. The civil rights movement in the USA brought about significant change and Martin Luther King was an audacious leader.

Societal transformation implies good and lasting change. It is not about achieving perfection; there will always be room for improvement. Societal transformation can also be bad, like in Europe in the 1930s and 40s, ending with the Holocaust; or seen in the negative consequences of the Islamic revolution in Iran 1979 and onwards.

Looking at the movements of societal transformation – for good – one can observe some common themes and denominators.

They…

  • started as a small minority
  • shared a vision
  • embraced common values
  • connected with one another
  • built critical mass
  • had commendable tenacity

Business as Mission / BAM is another movement for social transformation. Today there is a global BAM movement; it was not the case 20 years ago. There were expressions of BAM back then and even long before that. But now there is an unprecedented global cohesion and connectedness.

Small minority & common values

The BAM movement is still small (a minority), but vision and values are increasingly shared across the globe. (The Lausanne paper on BAM 2004, deals with values and essential BAM building blocks, especially in chapter 4, click here http://www.matstunehag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/BAM-LOP-June-05.pdf )

Shared vision

The first global think tank on BAM (2003 – 2004) and the Lausanne paper on BAM (2004) helped catalyze a common global understanding of the concept. How can we shape business for God and the common good?

How can businesses…

  • serve people
  • align with God’s purposes
  • be good stewards of the planet
  • and make a profit?

This is often referred to as the quadruple bottom-line. We are aiming at a positive impact economically, socially, environmentally and spiritually, leading to holistic transformation of people and societies – to the greater glory of God. We are especially concerned about the world’s poorest and the least evangelized peoples.

Connected with one another

The yearlong global think tank process has increased the connections, created global connectivity of key players in the BAM eco-system, with people from every continent.

The global BAM think tank had approximately 30 national, regional and international working groups collaborating. Leaders from these groups plus other BAM leaders at large, about 80 in total, met at the Leaders Forum 22 – 24 April in Thailand.

The largest global gathering ever of social and intellectual capital in the BAM space followed this. More than 550 people from over 40 nations came to the BAM Congress, 25 – 28 April. The Congress collaborated with a BAM Trade Fair, which followed right after, and it had over 200 participants.

These BAM think tanks (2003 – 2004 and 2011 – 2013), these processes, meetings and the BAM Congress have been instrumental in building a global BAM movement, establishing a shared vision, developing common values, and facilitating a global network of BAM practitioners and other key leaders in the overall BAM eco-system.

Critical mass

How about critical mass in the BAM movement? Without critical mass of sizeable BAM businesses we cannot see transformation on a macro level; on cities, cultures and nations. Critical mass, in the BAM movement, is yet to come, albeit promising indicators are emerging in some countries and areas.

Tenacity

What about tenacity? For BAM is an intergenerational issue, like other movements of societal transformation.

BAM is not instant coffee: take a few bits of BAM thinking and stir into a business and voilà: transformation. No, societal transformation takes time, and we want to set a stage and serve our generation in such a way that it will be a blessing for many generations to come.

BAM & the Olive Tree

We can learn from the olive tree. Many of us think in terms of two kinds of olives: green and black. But there are 1000 or more varieties. In the BAM movement we are not just two categories: business people on the hand, and church and mission people on the other. No, we are part of a greater eco-system, of investors, bookkeepers, prayer partners, entrepreneurs, academics, human trafficking experts, theologians, marketing and sales people, and many others.

It takes about 25 years before an olive tree bears fruit, olives that can be eaten. But once it starts bearing fruit, it can produce olives for 2000 years or more. Olive trees are intergenerational blessings.

The modern BAM movement is still young; we are in some ways still within the first 25 years of the life of an olive tree. We do see some fruit, but are eagerly awaiting more. But we need to nurture and care for the BAM olive tree in these early days of the movement. We want to build a movement that can bring good and lasting transformation, and we know it takes time. But we need tenacity; we must hold onto our vision, maintain our values, as we build BAM communities.

We embrace the promise that God will bless us so we can be a blessing – in and through business – in our generation and for many generations to come.

That is BAM and the Olive Tree.

Business as Mission can be smelly

Christ talks about invasion: may God’s Kingdom come on earth, may God’s will be done in our lives and societies today. The incarnational mystery is one of engagement, living among us, sharing our lives and circumstances.

Business as Mission recognizes our calling to be salt and light in the marketplace. It is not about evacuating Christians from a sinful and corrupt commercial sphere, but rather becoming an answer to the Lord’s Prayer: May your Kingdom come in the business world. We are a part of an invasion force, as it were.

Being involved in business, shaping it for God and the common good, will never be an easy ride or a smooth sailing. But we are to pursue an incarnational witness in all our relationships and dealings in the marketplace. And it may carry an odor:

“What is holy in our midst has something to do with the odor of dung on a stable in Bethlehem, the fruity taste of wine on the table at Cana, and the smell of dried blood on the cross at Golgatha.”  (Thomas Merton)

“…the odor of dung on a stable in Bethlehem, …”

Joseph and Mary were forced to travel and make great sacrifices due to tax authorities. It was not a grand start of a relationship and family life. It was most likely stressful, disappointing, and definitely smelly. But they carried Jesus, and He transformed many lives and circumstances.

Starting and operating business can be stressful and disappointing. Dealing with tax authorities can be tough in all countries. But God’s holiness can be displayed in the messiness of the marketplace. We are, like Joseph and Mary, to carry Jesus – into the marketplace.

“…the fruity taste of wine on the table at Cana,…”

Jesus produced wine, not just any wine, but superb quality wine. At a time of celebration Jesus was not a party pooper. There is a time and there is a season, a time to preach and a time to make good wine.

We want to make good quality products, and excel in serving our customers. Sometimes our businesses prosper and we can rejoice and “enjoy the good wine”, as it were. God’s holiness can be displayed both in the smelly and dirty stable, and in the festive occasion where material blessings abound.

“…and the smell of dried blood on the cross at Golgatha.”

There was a short time between Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and the mob crying ‘crucify him’. Jesus fed the hungry and healed the sick, and he was also betrayed, abandoned, put through a mistrial and killed.

There are elements of dying, of pain and hurt, even as we engage in Business as Mission. Some may sing our praises one day, and intentionally try to destroy our business the next day. Customers may steal and partners cheat. Authorities may falsely accuse you of wrongdoing.

Doing business, as unto the Lord, will have “something to do with the odor of dung on a stable in Bethlehem, the fruity taste of wine on the table at Cana, and the smell of dried blood on the cross at Golgatha.”  

Mats Tunehag

Corporate Responsibility: The American Experience

Archie B. Carroll (Author), Kenneth J. Lipartito (Author), James E. Post (Author), Patricia H. Werhane (Author), Kenneth E. Goodpaster (Editor). Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp 543, paperback $49

We know that businesses can fail and hurt people (Enron) and harm nature (BP). But it is equally true that we all depend on businesses and that they can do good. The woman in Proverbs 31 was an astute businesswoman whose ventures served people and her community.

The Quakers practiced a kind of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), long before academics developed the term. Their motto was ‘spiritual & solvent’. They served God and people in and through business.

Even Adam Smith, the author of The Wealth of Nations and sometimes called the father of capitalism, said that business should operate within a framework of fair play, justice and rule of law.

Five highly qualified American academics have produced a landmark publication: Corporate Responsibility: The American Experience. It is a thorough and helpful study of the development of business behavior in the USA from the mid-18th century till today.

There has been a gradual shift from focus on shareholders and profit to the inclusion of growing sets of stakeholders, like customers, staff, suppliers, community, and environment. Corporate responsibility is about businesses having a positive impact economically, socially and environmentally – the triple bottom line. This is beyond corporate philanthropy, merely giving part of profit to charitable causes.

The book refers to a 2008 study which showed that although there are 37 definitions of CSR, there is a strong congruence in the understanding and praxis of corporate responsibility. The concept is still evolving through the interaction of theory and application, and its global impact is growing.

As Christians we welcome these CSR conversations and developments, and we should join in various ways, including drawing from the enormous well of intellectual capital regarding CSR found in this book.

But we must also include God as a stakeholder and thus we need to ask: How can we shape business for God and for the common good? This is CSR+. We want to start and grow businesses to serve people, align with God’s purposes, be good stewards of the planet and make a profit.

___________

Mats Tunehag (www.MatsTunehag.com), is the Lausanne Senior Associate on Business as Mission, and Chair of the Global Think Tank on Business as Mission, www.BAMthinktank.org