Is BAM a New Idea?
The principles of Business as Mission were first modeled in the first century (Acts 8-17) when followers of Jesus took their skills and abilities and lived as regular people in the work place spreading the message of Jesus through real life situations. All the while, the church leaders (apostles) stayed in Jerusalem. The gospel spread more than 1000 miles from Jerusalem in a short time indicating believers’ understanding that to “make disciples” was the role of every believer.
In addition to the first century, William Carey, the Basel Mission, Mennonites, Moravians, Nestorians and most missionaries up until the 20th century spread the gospel through some variance of what we now call BAM. While the professional clergy emerged in the 2nd century, an evangelical version of professional “witnesses” reemerged in the 20th century and the church in North America and Europe began to send fully paid missionaries.
The recent “Business as Mission” terminology began about 1999 and is founded on the belief that the protestant reformation had called for the priesthood of all believers, with Martin Luther intending that the real genius of the reformation was that we were all now to become ‘monks’, as priests as in I Peter 2:9. Some BAM apologists believe that Business as Mission is a return to the modus operandi of the first century.
BAM is a totally natural way to live out the gospel, spread the good news and make disciples. See a discussion of this in Ken Eldred’s book, God is at Work and also A Better Way—Making Disciples Wherever Life Happens, by Dale Losch.
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