BAM Focus: Lausanne Global Think Tank on Business as Mission

– Jo Plummer

 Turning global conversations into fruitful action

“How can I connect with others that are considering the same approach? I’d like to dialogue with others who are doing it!” There is a movement of Christian business men and women who are intentionally starting businesses to be an agent of God’s Kingdom transformation in the marketplace around the world. That question came from one of them, a business owner who had recently pulled out of an extremely hostile country due to terrorist threats. His business had started to bear fruit both commercially and in terms of its growing impact, but it had attracted unwanted attention. The team is now reconsidering their strategy with a new business approach and a thirty year plan for multi-generational transformation in that society.

The Global Think Tank on Business as Mission is a one year collaborative project providing a forum for global conversations on business as mission. The Think Tank opens up these essential conversations, helps us learn lessons from experience, and enables more effective practice in the future.

The Think Tank is structured that we can listen and learn on a number of levels. Through more than thirty Regional and Country-focused groups, we are hearing from parts of the world that have never before had the chance to share their business as mission expertise with the wider movement. We will hear from a group of seasoned Korean practitioners each with more than ten years experience and from the emerging business as mission (BAM) movement in the Chinese speaking world. We will connect with what is happening through business in greater detail in a small nation like Haiti, all the way to insights from the growing Latin American BAM movement as a whole.

Apart from the geographically-focused groups, there are 16 Issue Groups that are topic or interest-focused. These Issue Groups are drilling into some hot current issues in business as mission such as: What metrics do we need for measuring business as mission impact?  How can we effectively replicate or franchise existing business models to more rapidly mobilize and deploy new BAM enterprises? Other groups are looking at the application of business as mission to particular contexts or strategies, such as prevention and restoration for victims of human trafficking or the integration of business with church planting strategies. A complete list of groups is available at http://bamthinktank.org/process.

All these groups will be sharing their findings and making recommendations from their collaborative process so that others can build more solidly in the future. Each group will produce a report that contains outcomes, but also practical help and advice, recommended resources and case studies. Some groups will be launching new initiatives out of the process or presenting their outcomes in other creative formats.

One of the most important objectives of the BAM Think Tank is to connect people. Apart from the Think Tank process itself, we expect many new initiatives and partnerships to be generated from the relationships that form through it.

The Global Congress on Business as Mission is a three day event in April 2013 and will be the first opportunity to access the findings of the Think Tank presented at Congress workshops and keynote sessions. The Global Congress will also be a unique opportunity to interact and network with global leaders in the business as mission movement.

Global Congress on Business as Mission, 25-28 April 2013 in Chiang Mai, Thailand
(http://bamthinktank.org/congress).

Jo has worked in training, communications and facilitation for business as mission for over 11 years. From 2002-2004 she served as Facilitator for the first Business as Mission Think Tank process under auspices of the Lausanne Forum and co-edited the Lausanne Occasional Paper on Business as Mission. In 2004, Jo launched the first website focused on business as mission (www.businessasmission.com). She is currently Co-Chairing the Global Think Tank on Business as Mission along with Mats Tunehag. Jo is English and has been living in Thailand with her husband and their three children for the past 4 years.

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