Over the years I’ve seen a lot of people who get hung up on what exactly BAM or Business as Mission is. Sometimes, I think that’s the main reason we don’t see more practitioners—confusion!
So, let’s break it down.
First, BAM is business. Think real business with real products and services and profits. In other words, it’s just business.
Second, BAM is mission. Think singular not plural. Missions (with the “s”) makes us think of leaving home, raising support, and living as a missionary in a foreign land. Mission (with no “s”) means the purpose, the task, the mission. Specifically, the term means God’s mission, God’s purpose. What is God up to?
Then connect the two. Business connected to what God is doing in the world. Is He active? Does He have a Grand Plan? Yes, of course! How does business fit into that? True, it could mean going overseas to start a business that brings blessings to locals. It could mean generous giving. It could mean job creation. It could mean working to alleviate poverty or promote social justice. It could mean many things as we discern more and more what God is about.
The term BAM originated in the 1990’s and was part of a larger statement, “the seamless integration of Business as Mission.” In that context, the term was pointing out that there should be no separation between business or mission or any other part of God’s creation.
For a more detailed explanation, may I recommend Business as Mission by Michael R. Baer (available on this site or from YWAM Publishing) and Business for the Glory of God by Wayne Grudem (available on Amazon).