In considering B4T it is important to remember that BAM/B4T is neither a means to an end, or an end in itself. The Gospel is spread through many means, but it is only through relationships that true discipleship occurs. Discipleship is one life impacting another life in ways that the relationship moves both people deeper into Jesus. In doing business, yes, God looks at how we apply His principles in business transactions, but most of all He looks at what we do with the relationships that are formed as a result of our business.
Over 200 years of modern mission history, we’ve seen that missions progress from stressing the…
… sending of workers overseas, to
… having those workers evangelize the heathen, to
… discipling the new believers, to
… gathering believers together and planting reproducing churches, to
… sending workers to the unreached or the unengaged.
It seems we have gone full circle.
So what have we learned? Personally, I’ve learned that for the Gospel to impact a society, it must be in relationship to the society. Reaching individuals and even gathering these individuals in to churches is not enough. Too many of the churches I’ve seen planted impact the believers’ family, but the change ends there. They don’t impact the wider community. A big part of the problem has to do with the ways we (the workers) share and model the Gospel to people. We try to dress like them, eat like them, live like them, but the truth is it is still them versus us. No matter how well I contextualize, no matter how much I am appreciated by the locals, I am still different. (Especially if tall, blonde haired and blue eyed.)
This is why I am excited about B4T. Business allows me to live the life of Christ right in front of the locals in a natural, noticeable way. They see how I give to others. They see how I deal with corrupt officials. They see how I invite God into decisions I make. Discipleship is not teaching words – doing a Bible study, and then sending the person out into the world to work out an application of the lesson. Rather it is modeling the lessons in ways the disciple can easily reproduce. Jesus called His disciples to “Follow me.” What better place than the workplace for my life to impact others? What better place to tie Bible lessons into real life applications? And these applications also impact the local community because they are being worked out in the community.