Serve Blog — July 2024

Business Assisting Missions: What is a legitimate business venture?

We briefly introduced the concept of BAM (Business Assisting Missions) last month highlighting its parallels to missionary aviation of yesteryear: It helps get us to the place we want to be among the people we want to serve. We defined it as intentionally using the tool of business for furthering the work of the Gospel in a particular field.

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LESS means more! 

Christ’s servants must be aware that everything we do either adorns the Gospel or distracts from it (see Titus 2:7-10), so we need to labor to build a business that has positive Gospel impact and reflects the Savior we serve. Using the simple acronym LESS to describe the kind of business we hope will lead to more disciples, here are some factors we must consider:

L – Is this business Legal?

  • Can I operate this business within the boundaries of the government under which I am living?
  • What kind of tax and other compliance details do I need to be aware of?

E – Is this business Ethical?

  • Is this a real business producing real good for those among whom it operates?
  • Am I creating unfair market conditions in some way?
  • How can I avoid a colonization model or slash and burn model for immediate gain that leaves long-term problems behind?

S – Is this business Sustainable?

  • Do I have the bandwidth for this kind of business over a long period of time?
  • What kind of resources will it take to start? To operate? Is that reasonable?

S – Is this business Strategic?

  • Is this the best fit for me with my gifts?
  • Is this the best fit for creating the most Gospel impact in my field?
  • Is this scalable to provide visas for others or to support national Gospel workers?
  • Do I have a clear exit strategy if this goes poorly?
  • If this goes well, how will I keep it from consuming me?
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Keep the vehicle pointed in the right direction.

There are many other questions that need to be asked and answered related to using a business as a tool for assisting missions. But I hope that from the few listed above you can conclude that the goal is to create something that is not a sham, business-on-paper-only kind of operation, but rather a legitimate business venture. And none of these questions should be answered alone. BAM is done best when a team comes together including on-the-field partners and back-home partners.

A BAM venture should not be undertaken without prayerful consideration, plenty of open conversations with your sending church and its leadership, and the counsel and input from people on the field who are doing it. Even once a business venture is underway the Gospel worker should seek accountability and transparency with his sending church and agency to keep the vehicle always pointed in the right direction and serving its original purposes.

If you’d like to know more about how and where you could be involved in business on the mission field, drop BMM a quick note at The BMM team would be glad to set up a time to talk.

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This month’s Serve is written by one of BMM’s Creative Access workers. This edition completes a two-part series on Business Assisting Missions (BAM). Read the first part here.

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