I am headed for the BAM Think Tank in Thailand next week and I note that in at least one paper there is reference to the four bottom lines of BAM; economic, environment, social and spiritual.  These all can be good, godly and helpful.  Each is to be encouraged.  But this is one of several areas that B4T distinguishes itself from BAM.  B4Ters emphasis is far and away on two bottom lines; the spiritual and economic.

In B4T we understand that our ministry strategies are primarily vertical, while our business plans are primarily horizontal.  B4T seeks to integrate these.  Business – making money; and the spiritual – modeling and verbally proclaiming Jesus, are central to our life and work.  In B4T it’s both/and.  It’s not one, it’s not the other — it’s both/and.

If I plant a church and my business is supported by charity – I fail at B4T.

If my business earns millions of dollars and never impacts a soul for Jesus – I fail at B4T.

So are B4Ters anti-environmentalists?  Not at all.  We are commanded to be stewards of God’s creation.  (Genesis 1:28)  In my own business, whereas few of the offices in our building recycle, we faithfully recycle our papers each month.  Our businesses contribute to local charities, offer free courses and host parties in the community all with the goal of stimulating social interaction and community well-being.  But these 2 priorities pale when compared with our commitment to the spiritual and economic priorities.

In B4T profit is paramount.  Nothing is more important than making money.  You’ve got to be profitable.

In B4T church planting and evangelism is paramount.  Nothing is more important than evangelism, discipleship and reaching the people for Jesus.

Paramount – two things?  Some say you cannot do that.  Well welcome to the world of B4T.  B4Ters must fulfill both of these bottom lines if we are going to be successful.  It’s literally like doing the tango.

In the B4T tango one partner is the business and one partner is evangelism/church planting.  At times the business seems to be moving forward and at times the evangelism/church planting seems to be moving forward.  It’s a dance that goes this way and that way; backward and forward, but the reality is both are moving, both are engaged.  And when they are in step with one another both the economic and spiritual bottom lines are accomplished.  Worldly business, done in godly ways, yields unique returns.

PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.

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