I have the privilege of introducing to you a burgeoning movement in the missions arena. But first we have to get back to basics. Do you believe that Jesus, the Christ is the son of God who was supernaturally born, died for our sins, and was resurrected? Do you believe the bible is the inerrant word of God? With any mission effort these issues are foundational; the starting point, if you will. So too with Business as Missions, it’s about a relationship with Him. If we lose sight of this we revert back to worldly efforts.
“Business as ” is a phrase used to encompass many ideas. Yet, it typically does not refer to tent making – a missionary working in a secular job to meet his/her physical and/or ministry needs while also evangelizing, disciplining, church planting, etc.. An example would be a missionary teaching English in a college and conducting bible studies after school. Nor does it refer to using businesses to obtain visas for “real” ministry. The Christian academia and missions agencies involved in this movement have described Business as Missions as being about operating real, viable, sustainable and profitable businesses; with a Kingdom of God purpose, perspective and impact; leading to transformation of people and societies spiritually, economically, environmentally and socially – to the greater glory of God.
As a CPA, to me the bottom line of this description is that it refers to businesses that demonstrate, through their deeds (thoughts, words and actions), biblical principles while engaging in business activities. I believe my definition more appropriately points to the motivation behind these activities. In Mathew 22: 37 – 40, Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Paul also points to motivation in 1 Corinthians 10:13: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Perhaps an example might prove helpful to show the correlation between a believer involved in business (that would be all believers) and his/her motivations. The apostle Paul sold the tents he made in the marketplace. While scripture does not specifically address the details of his business activities, I don’t believe it is too much of a stretch to assume that his deeds before, during and after a tent sale were motivated by his desire to glorify God and be a witness of Jesus Christ. As Paul made a tent he probably did as he said in Colossians 3:23: “And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” His prices were most likely set at a fair price. The profit he gained was probably shared with his employees.
Today, as a business owner do you serve your employees, customers, suppliers as Paul might have? Is the product you sell the highest quality product made for the price? Or as an employee do you work to the best of your ability? Do you work an hour for an hour’s wages? As a purchaser, do you try to drive the price down below a fair profit?
From my perspective as a believer who is secondarily a businessman, I suggest to you that:
Business IS Missions
After all where is most of our time spent? At work or at church?
Is your first priority to bring others to a knowledge of our loving savior Jesus Christ? Are you motivated by a love of God and love for others? Do your thoughts, words and actions demonstrate this love? Asking these questions is the first step in your journey with Christ as a missionary. One must start with his/her own heart.