Feed on

God called Abraham to leave his hometown and go to another country. The direction was clear, but it was a journey with few if any details sketched out.

Moses wanted to help his enslaved fellow Jews, but he acted violently and prematurely. He was sent on a cool down period which lasted for decades. But then God appeared to him and called him on a defined mission: Freedom! Again, it involved a journey, but little did he and the others know that it would take 40 years. The mission was clear, but it was not a detailed five-year strategic plan that steered them. God guided Moses and the people of Israel on their long journey. They repeatedly had to problem solve as they faced new issues and entered uncharted territories.

Called to a mission with no plan?

There’s a long list of people in the Old Testament who God called to a mission, but they were not given a plan. They tended to doubt their ability to fulfill their roles and missions. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks observes about Moses and others:

“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” said Moses to God. “And how can I possibly get the Israelites out of Egypt?” Ex. 3:11 … “…people who turn out to be the most worthy are the ones who deny they are worthy at all. The Prophet Isaiah, when charged with his mission, said, ‘I am a man of unclean lips’ (Is. 6:5). Jeremiah said, ‘I cannot speak, for I am a child’ (Jer. 1:6). David, Israel’s greatest king, echoed Moses’ words, ‘Who am I?’ (2 Samuel 7:18). Jonah, sent on a mission by God, tried to run away.

They were people who doubted their own abilities. There were times when they felt like giving up. Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah and Jonah reached points of such despair that they prayed to die. … It is almost as if a sense of smallness is a sign of greatness.“ [1]

Caught between a rock and a hard place

Moses had left the royal court and he was no longer one of them. And his people of birth initially rejected him as a leader. Now he was to talk to two groups which didn’t trust him, and he really wasn’t deeply connected with either one. And the demands Moses presented to Pharaoh did not reveal a comprehensive plan.

We may sometimes feel like Moses, caught between a rock and a hard place, pursuing business with a mission. Not quite accepted by the church, and not fully understood by the business community. At times it may not be easy to convey our mission, as not everything can be quantified and put in a strategic plan. Also, things may progress a lot slower than we anticipate.

It is also worth noting that encounters with God were followed by a mission, people were given an assignment. It was not just a moment of bliss for their own edification. Rather, it often meant hardships coming up, and a life with many unknowns. They were to be true to God and their God-given mission, but they didn’t have a detailed plan, nor could they fully comprehend the implications of the journeys they started.

Finding God in unexpected places

There were often surprises along the way, and they needed to change their understanding of God’s modus operandi.

When Jesus was born, there were three wise men (three according to tradition) who saw a star, and they set out to find a newborn king.[2] The journey took them to a royal palace, but the newborn king wasn’t there, but rather in a lowly place. He had only been recognized, up to that point, by some shepherds, the lowest of low – socioeconomically speaking. Surprise!

God may not show up where we expect it, and sometimes we are too impressed by titles and seek out influential leaders, only to realize that God isn’t there. But the wise men followed through with their mission, and were willing to change plans. If they had not, they would have missed one of the biggest turning points in the history of mankind.[3] As we seek God, as we are on our mission – which may be business as mission – we should expect the unexpected. We should be ready to leave the palaces, the rich and influential, to be with the least, the lost and the lowliest. God may be right there!

Theology grounded in real life, real business and real people

The apostle Paul was also given a mission after an encounter with the risen Christ. After a three-year period to regroup he set out on a ‘to-all-peoples-mission’. He stayed mission true, and it was a life with on-going journeys and changing plans. Paul is one of the most influential theologians ever, but his theology was not developed in isolation as lofty metaphysical theories. No, it grew out of his divine encounter, his sense of mission, and dealing with real life issues, also as unplanned matters arose.

“Theology isn’t an exercise in conceptual weightlessness; it does not defy the law of gravity. It is grounded in lived reality. [4]

Theology of work and business must be grounded in real life, real business and real people, while recognizing a plethora of expressions in different cultures and industries. To that end BAM Global has since 2002 engaged many hundreds of theologians and business people (and others) in global conversations about business as part of God’s metanarrative.[5] We do theology with a mission, to bring shalom to a broken market, to shape our companies for God and the common good – among all peoples and nations.

Many see Paul’s letter to the church in Rome as his foremost theological treatise. However, the epistle is framed by his mission to make Christ known among all peoples.[6] Thus, his hope was to go to Rome, fellowship with the church there, with an expectation that they would underwrite his mission to Spain. The mission was clear, but plans changed since so many things were beyond his control. As it is for us.[7]

Go with God – God goes with you

But in all these uncertainties and frailties, we can trust God and he will be with us. Rabbi Sacks writes about what God told Moses when he questioned being summoned to an incredible difficult task. This indirectly applies to us as well:

“I will be with you.” You will succeed because I am not asking you to do it alone. I am not really asking you to do it at all. I will be doing it for you. I want you to be My representative, My mouthpiece, My emissary and My voice.[8]

As Christ driven entrepreneurs, mission and church leaders, and academics, we need to learn from leaders from Abraham to St. Paul. We often feel inadequate and it is a good start. We may discover God at work in the remotest and lowliest of places.

We may not be understood by business colleagues or appreciated by pastors, and it may take a long time to reach our goals. But we should stay true to our mission, but be ready to change plans.[9] And we know that God is with us, as we do business to the ends of the earth.

Mats Tunehag

[1] https://rabbisacks.org/covenant-conversation/shemot/who-am-i/

[2] Bishop Barron comments on the Magi / the three wise men in ‘Daily Gospel Reflection’ on Jan 7, 2024: Once they saw the star, they moved, despite the length of the journey. Sometimes people know what God wants them to do, but they don’t act, either out of fear, laziness, or the influence of bad habits. The Magi teach us to move. When they spoke to Herod of the birth of the new King, he tried to use them to destroy the baby. When you walk the path that God has laid out for you, expect opposition.

[3] “Today the Magi gaze in deep wonder at what they see: heaven on earth, earth in heaven, man in God, God in man, one whom the whole universe cannot contain now enclosed in a tiny body. As they look, they believe and do not question, as their symbolic gifts bear witness: incense for God, gold for a king, myrrh for one who is to die.” – St. Peter Chrysologus

[4] Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, Dean of the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2023/12/05/contextual-theology-francis-orobator-246633

[5] Through these global conversations we have captured lessons learned from history as well as contemporary businesses around the globe. Our findings have been published in 35 reports and manifestos, and also in about 600 blogs. See https://bamglobal.org/reports/ and https://businessasmission.com/

[6] See Romans 1:5 and 15:15-20

[7] The Covid pandemic certainly taught us that there are disruptions, which force us to rethink our plans while staying true to our mission.

[8] https://rabbisacks.org/covenant-conversation/shemot/who-am-i/

[9] One of my life mottos is ‘Go with God and the flow”, i.e. on a mission, but open to change and God’s leading. Like Philip in Acts 8:26-40. Please note that I also plan, I am not against planning.

Life with Christ is not a story from rags to riches. It is not about being successful with our plans. We are not called to be successful but faithful to God, and to say yes to his calling to be a part of his story – not ours. Just like Mary.

She was invited to be part of God’s metanarrative, His greater plan. It was surprising, and not her plan, and it involved confusion, shame and pain. The angel Gabriel conveyed God’s meta-narrative, and described Mary’s role in the Theo-drama, and she said yes!

“And Mary said,

Yes, I see it all now:
I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.

Let it be with me
just as you say.

Ego-drama vs. Theo-drama

Serving God and people in the marketplace is about choosing narrative: My story or God’s greater story. Especially in an individualist culture and in relatively wealthy contexts, we tend to choose the ego-drama, which is about:

  • My life
  • My job
  • My calling
  • My interests
  • My business
  • My, mine, and I…

I am the producer, director, and star of my life, my story – the ego-drama.

But we need to ask how we fit into God’s meta-narrative, to God’s greater story and plan. Like Mary we need to understand God’s big plan and narrative, and respond to his invitation to participate.

The biblical narrative has four phases: Creation – Fall – Redemption – New Creation. We even recognize these from many movies and stories around the world which have a similar basic narrative:

  1. Creation: the ideal state, harmony, good relationships
  2. Fall: a break, a crash, dysfunction, brokenness, death
  3. Redemption: a tough long journey, sacrifice
  4. New Creation: restoration, transformation, a new life

God’s meta-narrative is told and retold in the Torah, the Psalms, and the Prophets, by Jesus, and the Apostles. The Bible is not a bullet point text to convey, but rather a story to live in, a Theo-drama to join. It moves from Creation to New Creation. This is more than a general context for our information. We are to live and work in His story – that’s how we can make history. We can understand our role in the marketplace by walking in his story. But we are not writing the script, we are not directing the show, and we are not the stars.

Mary accepted the invitation to actively be a part of his meta-narrative – the Theo-drama, which was also shared by her relative Elisabeth and her son John the Baptist.

The Theo-drama doesn’t put me, mine, my, and I at the center. Rather it recognizes and confesses Kyrios Christos – Jesus is Lord. That involves my business, my plans, my investments, and my life. They are no longer mine, but his. We are to respond to his invitation to follow him, and to be part of His narrative. Just like Mary.

This also means stepping into some unknowns. God is the author of the story, the director, and the stage manager. We are not. Like Mary, we won’t know what saying ‘yes’ fully implies, but we take steps of faith, trusting the author of the Theo-Drama.

C.S. Lewis writes in his essay The World’s Last Night: “We keep on assuming that we know the play. We do not know the play. We don’t not even know whether we are in Act I or Act V. We do not know who are the major and the minor characters. The Author knows.” He goes on saying that “we are led to expect that the Author will have something to say to each of us on the part that each of us has played. The playing it well is what matters infinitely.

Wounded healers

We too often fail to acknowledge the obvious: we are not fully in control. Regardless of our strategic plans and professional business pursuits. The Covid pandemic was a global reminder of something nobody planned for or fully controlled. It caused a lot of suffering, but also opened up new opportunities.

Life is a journey which involves pain and stress, and we will be wounded and carry scars. But we are called to be wounded healers. Just like Jesus.

We have all had our ups and downs, hurts, pain, joys and successes. However, it is often expected of us to primarily talk about the joys and show our successes. But if we are honest and transparent, most of us – probably all of us – have been wounded and have scars. We may have failed like King David or the Apostle Peter. We may have been hurt by friends and betrayed by colleagues. But this is a part of our journeys. Let me share briefly from my personal journey, sharing some notes I wrote 2011.[2]

Sometimes I feel at home everywhere, and sometimes I feel at home no-where.

I have lived and worked in half the countries of the world, lived in fear at home because of severe threats against my family.

I’ve been a part of starting and developing the modern global Business as Mission movement, and for many years waking up every morning not knowing if one of my loved ones survived the night.

I have started and developed 30 or so international partnerships, and suffered through dysfunctions, hurts and breakdowns in my own organization and family.

I have rejoiced in fighting and winning a religious freedom case (Supreme Court in Sweden) which had good global legal impact and setting a precedent, and I went through a severe depression where life and most things were meaningless; I sometimes cried days on end.

I’ve been mugged by the police in Central Asia, and harassed and interrogated at night by police in China, I was invited by a Congressman in the US to address a dozen of ambassadors and diplomats from Central Asia and share about Business as Mission.

So who am I? May I be audacious and use a term from Henri Nouwen: I am a wounded healer. I have a passion for the least, the lost and the lowliest – and they may be unreached, persecuted, trafficking victims, unemployed – especially in Asia and the Arab world.

Life has elements of joy and pain, laughter and tears, successes and failures. And I am a wounded healer…

So why do I keep going when life hurts? Why pursue Business as Mission, serving God and people in the marketplace? Because of God’s call to join his story, and the hope we have in God’s ability to bring the meta-narrative forward to redemption and restoration. And he is journeying with us, through pain and joy, so we in turn can be wounded healers. Like Jesus – the ultimate wounded healer.

But we are Easter people with a hope; to borrow words from Kody W. Cooper:

Christians are a Holy Saturday people because we cling to a hope for the coming light precisely when the night is darkest.” [3]

Tikkun Olam

Being a wounded healer in the marketplace, is a part of a greater godly plan which the Jews call tikkun olam[4] – repairing or bringing healing to the world. We are living in the tension of the world that is and the world as it ought to be. Tikkun olam means co-creating with God, and bridging the gap between the world which is, and to a world as it ought to be.

The American Jesuit theologian Roger Haight writes in ‘Spirituality Seeking Theology’ (2014): “God has entrusted creation to human beings not merely as caretakers of a past condition but as co-creators with God of the future.”

The 2nd Vatican Council also dealt with this: “Christ’s redemptive work includes also the renewal of the whole temporal order. … God’s plan for the world is that men should work together to renew and constantly perfect the temporal order. … the family, culture, economic matters, the arts and professions, the laws of the political community, international relations,…” [5]

We observe dysfunctions in workplaces. Not as it ought to be. We are appalled by rampant corruption. Not what God wants. We note how rampant unemployment is a root cause to human trafficking. Far from ideal. We need to bridge the gap from what is to what it ought to be. Thus, we pursue tikkun olam – repairing and healing the world. But our call is not to patch up a broken system, but as wounded healers work in and with the brokenness to create something new.

There is a Japanese art called Kintsugi. It is about repairing a broken pot or cup, by using gold to mend and restore a broken vessel. It becomes a transformed piece, creating a work of beauty through brokenness, and it makes the broken pottery more beautiful than the original. The artist and writer Makoto Fujimura puts kintsugi in a theological context:

“Redemption is more than fixing; it is a feast of healing and transformation.

… Not only are we restored, but we are to partake in the co-creation of the New through our brokenness and pain. … God does not just mend, repair and restore; God renews and generates, transcending our expectations of even what we desire, beyond what we dare to ask or imagine.” [6]

Our vision is beyond fixing a broken system, it is about a New Creation, transformation, and transfiguration. It is more like the caterpillar becoming a butterfly.

Slow art, being deeply rooted

Makoto Fujimura talks about “slow art”; there are no quick or easy fixes. Drawing on centuries old traditions and lessons learned, it still takes a lifetime to manage kintsugi.

Similarly, doing tikkun olam is not like stirring in some “instant faith driven business mix” into the marketplace, saying ‘BAM it’ and expecting holistic transformation to take place quickly. Rather it is patiently praying and diligently exercising the tikkun olam prayer, day after day, year after year, through tears and laughter: May your Kingdom come in the marketplace, and may your will be done in my business. Bridging the gap.

Our worldview and business practice must be thoroughly infused and constantly informed by a few millenniums worth of Judeo-Christian thought. We must understand and live in God’s meta-narrative. Choose Theo-drama over Ego-drama. Operating as wounded healers in the marketplace, doing tikkun olam, is an art which takes years and decades of patient practice. Like kintsugi, we will only be able to create something good, true and beautiful in the marketplace if we are deeply rooted for the future. See article linked in footnote.[7]

The odor, taste and smell of Jesus on the marketplace 

Thomas Merton wrote: “What is holy in our midst has something to do with the odor of dung on a stable in Bethlehem, the fruity taste of wine on the table at Cana, and the smell of dried blood on the cross at Golgatha.”  

On our tikkun olam journey in the Theo-drama, we will face highs and lows, but we need to recognize what is “holy in our midst,” in the marketplace. Because doing business, as unto the Lord, will have “something to do with the odor of dung on a stable in Bethlehem, the fruity taste of wine on the table at Cana, and the smell of dried blood on the cross at Golgatha.”

Being involved in business, shaping it for God and the common good, will never be an easy ride or a smooth sailing. But we are to pursue an incarnational witness in all our relationships and dealings in the marketplace. And it may carry an odor:

“…the odor of dung on a stable in Bethlehem, …”

Joseph and Mary were forced to travel and make great sacrifices due to tax authorities. It was not a grand start of a relationship and family life. And not their choice, but an integral part of the Theo-drama that Mary had said yes to. It was most likely stressful, disappointing, and definitely smelly. But they carried Jesus into a smelly place, and he would transform many lives and circumstances.

The marketplace can be smelly. Starting and operating business can be stressful and disappointing. Dealing with tax authorities can be tough in any country. But God’s holiness can be displayed in the messiness of the marketplace. We are, like Joseph and Mary, to carry Jesus – into the marketplace – odor and all.

“…the fruity taste of wine on the table at Cana,…”

Jesus produced wine, not just any wine, but superb quality wine. At a time of celebration Jesus was not a party pooper. There are various times and seasons, a time to preach, and a time to make good wine and celebrate.

We want to make good quality products, and excel in serving our customers. Sometimes our businesses prosper and we can rejoice and “enjoy the good wine”, as it were. God’s holiness can be displayed both in the smelly and dirty stable, and in the festive occasion where material blessings abound.

“…and the smell of dried blood on the cross at Golgatha.”

There was a short time between Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and the mob crying ‘crucify him’. Jesus fed the hungry and healed the sick, and he was also betrayed, abandoned, put through a mistrial and killed.[8]

There are elements of dying, of pain and hurt, even as we engage in business and the marketplace. Some may sing our praises one day, and intentionally try to destroy our business the next day. Customers may steal and partners cheat. Authorities may falsely accuse you of wrongdoing.

But in all these ups and downs, we continue serving as wounded healers, living in God’s story – just like Mary, pursuing tikkun olam and practicing kintsugi in the marketplace.

AMDG – Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam: to the greater glory of God.

Mats Tunehag

PS. For article as booklet, pdf file click here

[1] Luke 1:38

[2] http://matstunehag.com/2011/08/21/a-wounded-healer/

[3] https://www.wordonfire.org/articles/contributors/holy-saturday-people/

[4] See blog: http://matstunehag.com/2020/10/04/tikkun-olam-repair-the-world/ and minute and a half video: https://vimeo.com/646265175

[5] https://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19651118_apostolicam-actuositatem_en.html

[6] Art and Faith: A Theology of Making, by Makoto Fujimura, 2021.

[7] http://matstunehag.com/2020/12/23/deeply-rooted-for-the-future/

[8] “…the bodily resurrection of Christ from the grave is not the “happy ending” of a fairy tale, but only the beginning of the New with the entry point being suffering and persecution.” Makoto Fujimura


Most businesses are local, and daily problem solving often comes to the forefront. Understandably so. But from time to time, we need to review our mission, and remind ourselves about our greater vision.

Business as Mission, BAM, is about holistic transformation of people, businesses, industries and nations. This implies several things. We need to:

  1. have a macro perspective,
  2. take a long-term view,
  3. stay mission true,
  4. and employ intentional succession planning

Let me briefly unpack these four.

  1. Macro Perspective

We thank God for the exponential growth of the global BAM movement. We could not talk about a global movement 25 years ago – today we can. There are tens of thousands of BAM businesses in the SME sector and beyond. There is a growing ecosystem of incubators, training programs, investment groups, websites and YouTube channels – in over 20 languages. There are churches and denominations involved, most of the biggest and oldest Evangelical mission agencies in the world engage in BAM, and BAM is also embraced by other Christian traditions. There are dozens of PhD’s on BAM and countless Master theses, creating intellectual capital and sharing best practices. I could go on and on. God is at work.

But if we are to see a macro transformation take place, we need to build a critical mass of BAM initiatives, to reach a tipping point. To that end the various BAM networks have a critical role to play.

BAM Global has identified this as an important goal, to build on this growth and better ‘connect the dots’ of BAM to enable greater impact. …To create momentum for macro transformation we need to scale up, multiply and reach a critical mass of business as mission initiatives in cities, nations and industries.“ [1]

  1. Long-term view

Transformation takes time, especially macro transformation. We know that from studying movements of societal transformation, like the abolitionist movement and the civil rights movement. We in the BAM movement are to some extent about setting the stage for generations to come. Read “BAM & the Olive Tree” [2], and “Deeply Rooted for the Future” [3], to learn more.

  1. Stay mission true – avoid mission drift

Nobody ever plans for mission drift, but it happens unless you have systems and processes in place to reinforce the mission and transmit the values – day by day, and from generation to generation.

We know from research and numerous case studies that people and money are two main causes to mission drift.[4] Wrong people (not necessarily bad) come into management or the board and take the organization in a different direction. Money (grants, investments) can also influence the mission of a university, NGO and business.

A risk for mission drift in the BAM movement is to lose focus on the Great Commission aspect of our mission: to make Christ known among all peoples as we do business.

Mission drift doesn’t necessarily mean going bad, but certainly going off the original track. To stay mission true, we need to constantly monitor everything we do and say in the global BAM movement. This applies to the business ecosystem, to churches and mission agencies, as well as to teaching and training on all levels. A litmus test is: is the Great Commission still underpinning what we do, and are the four bottom-lines still pursued in planning, operations and evaluation, as well as in investing?

  1. Succession planning

To have a holistic macro impact, we need to create critical mass of BAM initiatives, assume a long-term view, stay mission true, and do intentional succession planning. It cannot be considered success to have a number of disconnected BAM dots which stay mission true for only a short season.

Succession planning is difficult in general – for churches, organizations and businesses. A common mistake is to start too late. But succession planning is even more difficult and complex when you deal with value-based businesses like BAM. We may also use the term ‘continuity planning’, since we want the values and the holistic impact to continue year after year, from generation to generation.

We should learn from the Jewish people and their continuity and succession planning. The transfer of values, from generation to generation, is a profound factor in the uniqueness of Abraham, the establishment of the Covenant and the impact and longevity of the Jewish people.[5]

A BAM business may survive and even thrive financially as a 2nd generation business, but what if the BAM values are lost? Would we consider that success?

It is a challenge for any business and movement in general to move from first to second generation. But for BAM in particular we need to ensure that the BAM vision, mission and values are transferred and continuously embedded in our various BAM initiatives. This will not happen by default, it takes intentional and professional efforts, and prayer.

Mats Tunehag


[1] https://www.bamglobal.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/BAM-Global-BHAGs.pdf

[2] http://matstunehag.com/2013/05/08/bam-the-olive-tree/

[3] http://matstunehag.com/2020/12/23/deeply-rooted-for-the-future/  

[4] See ‘Mission Drift’, by Peter Greer & Chris Horst

[5] For I have known him, because he will command his children and household after him to keep the way of the Lord. (Genesis 18:19) Abram is not the only individual in the ancient world to know of a Creator, and of the ethical implications of this great truth. But he is the first to have a dream of founding a family that will transmit this monotheistic principle from generation to generation. Abram is the first to truly envision not only bringing children into this world, but teaching them, and raising them to follow his path; he sought children who would perpetuate not only his body but also his beliefs. To Choose the Jews: Understanding the Election of Abraham, by Rabbi Meir Soloveischik, 2021.


There’s no place like home. The vast majority of all human beings prefer the familiar, to stay close to family, use our own language, eat familiar food, operate within our own culture and enjoy known surroundings. That is both natural and ok.

Using the language of the bible, we may call this our Jerusalem. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) This verse talks about a missional and centrifugal movement, from home – Jerusalem – to Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. But Jerusalem is a default mode, as it were.

There are countless marketplace ministries around the world, and many are older than the modern-day BAM movement. But almost all of them are local, focusing on ‘Jerusalem’. This is not a value judgement, just an observation.

Business as Mission, BAM, is not against doing godly business in Jerusalem, but we focus on Judea, Samaria, and especially on the ends of the earth. And this is hardly ever a default mode for anyone.

You never have to encourage default mode, because default is default by default. Without a gentle push and an intentional effort default mode – Jerusalem – will kick in.

BAM has from the very beginning included the so-called Great Commission in its foundational values, informing both how and where we should do business for God and people. BAM thus includes making Christ known among all peoples.


Focusing on “the ends of the earth” is not holier than working in Jerusalem, but it is certainly more complex and often more challenging. That may mean crossing national, cultural and linguistic barriers. Tough and usually never anyone’s default mode. But following Jesus in the marketplace to all peoples is not a matter of convenience, but of choice and obedience. There must be a global thrust in BAM – to all nations and peoples!

We are to be mindful of the Word x 2 and the World. We are to be followers of Christ – the Word incarnated – and respond to His call. We are to align our mission with the Word of God – Holy Scripture. We are also to go to the world he loves and sends us to – even to the ends of the earth.

The Word x 2 is often not visible or understood in areas associated with higher risk for doing business. Thus, the primary BAM focus area often has a higher business risk profile. But that must never mean risk avoidance.

But life, business and BAM are about risk assessment, checking risk tolerance, and do risk management.


Today we can thank God for the many BAM businesses who intentionally and professionally operate in these countries. It is possible, but won’t happen by default.

There is a concentration of human needs and global issues outside our comfort zone. We recognise the fact that poverty and unemployment are often rampant in areas where the name of Jesus is rarely heard and understood.[3]

In the BAM Global Think Tank conversations and in the foundational BAM documents[4] you’ll find an emphasis on unreached peoples, the so-called 10/40 window, on the poor and marginalised, on areas with dire economic, social, environmental, and spiritual needs. This is beyond our default mode, so we must keep preaching and pushing the “ends-of-the-earth”.

As we do BAM in these challenging areas, we are to be like Jesus who constantly and consistently met various needs of people, and thereby proclaimed, demonstrated and extended the Kingdom of God.


BAM is beyond just doing social enterprise. It is an integrated approach to do business, incorporating biblical themes and values into our mission and standard operating procedures. Our faith is not an add on, but something that permeates our lives and businesses. BAM is about taking our Sunday talk into a Monday walk. That is a reason we talk about having a positive impact on many stakeholders on multiple bottom-lines, or the quadruple bottom-line.[5]


The BAM call is clear and remains from generation to generation. It doesn’t come from me or BAM Global, but from Christ himself. And he has promised a paraclete – a helper; the Holy Spirit will give us strength and wisdom to do BAM among all peoples – to the ends of the earth.[6]

Mats Tunehag


[1] Free download of the BAM A – Z booklet: https://secureservercdn.net/

[2] https://advisor.visualcapitalist.com/mapped-global-macroeconomic-risk-by-country-in-2022/

[3] BAM Manifesto, https://bamglobal.org/lop-manifesto/

See also excerpts from the Wealth Creation Manifesto: 8. Business has a special capacity to create financial wealth, but also has the potential to create different kinds of wealth for many stakeholders, including social, intellectual, physical and spiritual wealth.

  1. Wealth creation through business has proven power to lift people and nations out of poverty.
  2. Wealth creation must always be pursued with justice and a concern for the poor, and should be sensitive to each unique cultural context.
  3. Creation care is not optional. Stewardship of creation and business solutions to environmental challenges should be an integral part of wealth creation through business.


[4]  https://bamglobal.org/reports/

[5] See 15-minute video introducing the quadruple bottom-line. It also includes glimpses of my personal BAM journey in Central Asia in the 1990s. https://youtu.be/5IjGMRLevsk

[6] Bishop Barron’s “Daily Gospel Reflection” from 21 Oct 2022 is relevant as we pursue wisdom and understanding of the task before us: “Friends, the famous call of the Vatican II fathers to “read the signs of the times” is grounded in Jesus’ exhortation in the Gospel for today. Followers of Jesus are meant to look at the world with clear eyes, to see what is happening, to be attentive. But this attention is of a particular type. It is not the attention of the scientist or the philosopher or the politician—though it can include those. It is an attention to the things of God.

I have often argued that many of us today are still enthralled to a deist view of God, whereby God is a distant and aloof first cause of the universe, uninvolved with the world he has made. But Thomas Aquinas taught that God is in all things “by essence, presence, and power,” and that God providentially cares for every aspect of his creation. Therefore, we should expect to see signs of his presence and activity in nature, in history, and in human affairs.

And once we see, we are meant to speak! In a way, followers of Jesus are not looking at the signs of the times for their own benefit, but rather that they might share their prophetic perspective with everyone else. So look around, look with attention, look with the eyes of faith!”

LUKE 12:54–59


He who marries the latest trend will soon be a widower

In times of crisis things are sifted. We often see and then focus on what is important. A crisis can reveal what we really value and should prioritize. It applies when we get seriously sick, when there is an upheaval in our family or even during a pandemic. The sifting process may also show what really stands the test of time, and what is a mere short-lived trend.

The global crisis and cataclysmic disruption in recent times has clearly shown that Business as Mission, BAM, God honoring and people serving business, is not a flickering trend. But as we continue to pursue business for God, people and planet, we must be well grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and deeply rooted in history as well as in the teachings of the Church.

Deeply Rooted

It is of utmost importance for the global BAM movement to dig deep into its roots, to draw on the rich heritage we have. We must recognize our roots and understand our history, and acknowledge that we are standing on shoulders of giants who have gone before us.

Remember that Martin Luther was a Catholic and Jesus was a Jew. Our worldview and business practice must be thoroughly infused and constantly informed by a few millenniums worth of Judeo-Christian thought[1]. BAM and faith driven entrepreneurship did not start with us, even though it is experiencing a global surge in our generation. But it will only have a lasting impact if we are deeply rooted for the future.

Our Jewish Heritage

The late Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, an intellectual giant, wrote an essay 20 years ago which helps us understand our Jewish roots when it comes to a worldview conducive for problem solving and innovation, the sanctity of work, and the role of business for human flourishing[2].

Biblical thought has demythologized nature, which can be rationally understood and thus stewarded for creative solutions to human needs.[3] Furthermore, a linear concept of time is essential to human progress. We are not stuck in an endless, repetitive and meaningless circle of life. God himself is orchestrating a narrative from the garden to the city. Yes, history is His story. These are essential ingredients shaping our worldview and, consequently, our involvement in business.

The Genesis account of the creation mandate is clear: God, taught Rabbi Akiva in the second century, deliberately left the world unfinished so that it could be completed by the work of man. Industry is more than mere labor. It is the arena in which we transform the world. [4]

The BAM movement is aligned with this aim of transforming the world. It is related to what the Jews call tikkun olam: repairing the world. Tikkun olam means co-creating with God, and bridging the gap between the world which is, and to a world as it ought to be.[5]

Work is Sacred

Work, creativity and human dignity are related, because we are created in God’s image. Rabbis Sacks contrasts animals and human beings: Work, in other words, has spiritual value, because earning our food is part of the essential dignity of the human condition. Animals find sustenance; only mankind creates it. [6]

This relates to the Hebrew word Avodah which means to work, worship, and serve. Thus, BAM pursues a seamless integration of work, worship and service. The thirteenth-century commentator Rabbenu Bachya said: “The active participation of man in the creation of his own wealth is a sign of his spiritual greatness.” [7]

Professor Angelo Nicolaides expresses an Orthodox Church perspective on this: In Old Testament times work was the way in which one worshipped God. He goes on to say: Christians should thus view work as a mission”. [8]

Judaism values work, wealth creation and a framework of freedom which accommodates dignified work and the creation of wealth through business. They do not struggle with sacred – secular divide which so often is prevalent among Christians.

But as we search our roots and traditions, we will discover – thankfully – that the Church has never endorsed this dichotomy.[9] Bishop Barron[10]: When God came among us in Christ, he effected the work of repairing his broken and hurting creation. He is not interested simply in souls but in bodies as well. [11]

Work and business are reflections of the trinitarian God, and also who we are created in His image. God is love and collaboration[12], God created in community and for community[13]. So, being a faithful worker individually, and being creative collectively – also in business – are both deeply divine and deeply human.

As Angelo Nicolaides rightly observes: “The notion of business is recognized within the creation account where it is clear that man cannot work alone.[14]

Private Property

The right to private property is intrinsically linked to freedom and human dignity. This is a long and strong Judeo-Christian tradition, and the teaching is clear.

Rabbi Sacks again: For a ruler to abuse property rights is, for the Hebrew Bible, one of the great corruptions of power. Judaism is the religion of a people born in slavery and longing for redemption; and the great assault of slavery against human dignity is that it deprives me of the ownership of the wealth I create. At the heart of the Hebrew Bible is the God who seeks the free worship of free human beings, and two of the most powerful safeguards of freedom are private property and economic independence. [15]

Pope Francis published an encyclical latter called Fratelli Tutti in October 2020.[16] Some accused him of diminishing the right of private property or rejecting democratic capitalism.[17] A problem with modern journalism is often the lack of understanding, or the will to understand, historical contexts. To comprehend the Catholic church and its teachings, one has to review centuries of profound thinking, often expressed in encyclicals. More on this later.

Pope Francis stands firmly in the tradition of St. John Paul II, who saw the market economy as an arena for the exercise of human creativity, ingenuity, and courage. … He also reiterates the teaching of the founder of the modern Catholic social tradition, the great Leo XIII, who, in Rerum Novarum, strenuously defended private property and, using a number of arguments, repudiated socialist economic arrangements. [18]

In numerous Papal Encyclicals stretching from Rerum Novarum (1891) to Centesimus Annus (1991) there is an unambiguous affirmation of private property, and linked to that the obligation to share with others, especially the poor.

While affirming private property the Judeo-Christian tradition also acknowledges that God is the ultimate owner and stresses our responsibility to be generous stewards. Rabbis Sacks: “Ultimately everything belongs to God. What we have, we hold in trust. And there are conditions to that trust—or as the great Victorian Jew Sir Moses Montefiore put it, “We are worth what we are willing to share with others.” [19]

Dignifying Way to Help the Poor

Caring for the poor and needy is a commonly held belief and practice among Jews and Christians along a broad spectrum. Christians have in general – and throughout history – focused on charity responses and handouts.[20] But in the Jewish tradition “the highest degree of charity, exceeded by none, is that of a person who assists a poor Jew by providing him with a gift or a loan or by accepting him into a business partnership or by helping him to find employment—in a word, by putting him where he can dispense with other people’s aid.[21]

Handouts never give dignity. Jobs do! How can we best help a poor child, what is a long term and dignifying solution? Give the parents a job!

Jews, Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants on Wealth Creation

This leads us into the conversation about wealth creation and wealth sharing. Hoarding of wealth is wrong, but both creating and sharing wealth are commended. But there is no wealth to be shared unless it has been created. Generosity is a virtue, but aid is not the ultimate answer to poverty.

The sages were not so much concerned with the elimination of poverty through redistributive taxation. Instead, what they sought to create was a society in which the poor had access to help when they needed it, through charity to be sure, but also and especially through job creation. [22]

As we connect with our roots, we build a stronger foundation for the future. And if you want to build a skyscraper you need to first dig deep and establish a firm foundation. As we build a BAM movement that will rise high and last long, we should pour Jewish and Christian lessons learned into the foundations of our businesses and other BAM related initiatives.

The value of creating different kinds of wealth through business is endorsed in both rabbinic and Christian traditions. As Pope Francis says: “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good.” [23]

BAM Global[24], together with the Evangelical Lausanne movement[25], organised a global consultation in 2017 around the issue of wealth creation for holistic transformation. Our findings were documented in seven papers, a summarising manifesto and an educational video series.[26]

The Wealth Creation Manifesto[27] is deeply rooted in Judeo-Christian thought, but also adds to a firm foundation for our day and age. Excerpts:

  1. Wealth creation is rooted in God the Creator, who created a world that flourishes with abundance and diversity.
  2. We are created in God’s image, to co-create with Him and for Him, to create products and services for the common good.
  3. Wealth creation is a holy calling, and a God-given gift, which is commended in the Bible.

This is also mentioned within the Orthodox Church tradition. God is giving wealth to serve His purposes.[28]

Each generation has to review and highlight old age concepts and truths, and see how they apply to today’s context. That includes various arenas and constituencies, like business, church, and academia.

Intellectual Wealth

It would be a costly mistake to neglect the intellectual wealth generated over the centuries in both Jewish and Christian traditions. Please allow me to recommend one of the better books I’ve read recently: Papal Economics, by Maciej Zieba.[29] He does an insightful overview and critical analysis of a dozen Papal encyclicals published over 100 plus years. They deal with issues like work, business, wealth, property rights, democracy, market economy, socialism, and human dignity and freedom.

The author, philosopher and theologian Michael Novak, who has written the foreword says: “For a long time to come, this book may well be the definitive work on the economic teaching of the modern popes.”

Beyond an Academic Exercise

A tree can flourish and give fruit as long as it has roots through which it can draw life giving water. An olive tree can produce fruit for over a thousand years – if rooted and nurtured. The purpose of this article is beyond an academic exercise. We want to serve God and people through business – among all peoples ­– in our lifetime but also for generations to come. Thus, we need to be deeply rooted for the future.

Mats Tunehag

Article in Russian: https://businessasmission.ru/ukorenyatsya-radi-budushhego/

Article in Portuguese: Profundamente Enraizados para o futuro / Deeply Rooted for the Future

Also available at:




[1] All truth is God’s truth! We mustn’t be afraid of or instinctively reject statements just because they come from sources we are less familiar with or skeptical to.

[2] Market and Morals, by Jonathan Sacks. Aug 2020. I am indebted to Sacks’ books, articles, and lectures, and will draw especially from this essay in this article. https://www.firstthings.com/article/2000/08/markets-and-morals

[3] At its core it is a Jewish heritage, and fully embraced by the Church. This is also mentioned in Laudato Si, #78, by Pope Francis. 2015

[4] Ibid.

[5] See http://matstunehag.com/2020/10/04/tikkun-olam-repair-the-world/

[6] Market and Morals, by Jonathan Sacks. Aug 2020

[7] Ibid

[8] Ethics and the dignity of work: An Orthodox Christian perspective, by Angelo Nicolaides. Pharos Journal of Theology ISSN 2414-3324 online Volume 101 – (2020)

[9] There cannot be two parallel lives in their existence: on the one hand, the so-called “spiritual” life, with its values and demands; and on the other, the so-called “secular” life, that is, life in a family, at work, in social relationships, in the responsibilities of public life and in culture. … This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age”.  Christifideles Laici: The Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and the World: Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II to bishops, priests, deacons, women and men religious and all the lay faithful (December 30, 1988)

[10] Advent Gospel Reflection, by Bishop Robert Barron, 16 Dec 2020.

[11] See short vignette in the Wealth Creation video series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJajgVcPyzo&list=PLYGxDL2dvuo5k-Uk8FGxZj1QYcBe70_Vx&index=2

[12] The trinitarian reciprocal love, interdependence and collaboration, have bearings on our relationships and responsibilities, also for the planet: Relational human existence involves interdependence and interaction simultaneously between human beings themselves and the nature they commonly share and companies need to be clear on this. … They should also endeavour to serve environmentally friendly planetary needs so that future generations may also enjoy God’s creation. Ethics and the dignity of work: An Orthodox Christian perspective, by Angelo Nicolaides. Pharos Journal of Theology ISSN 2414-3324 online Volume 101 – (2020)

[13] John Paul II consequently describes the essential community aspects of business, saying that a company is a community of persons who in various ways are endeavouring to satisfy their basic needs, and who form a particular group at the service of the whole of society. Centesimus Annus, 1991

[14] Ibid

[15] Market and Morals, by Jonathan Sacks. Aug 2020

[16] http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20201003_enciclica-fratelli-tutti.html

[17] See Bishop Barron’s clarifying article: https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/article/pope-francis-fratelli-tutti-and-the-universal-destination-of-goods/28906/

[18] Ibid

[19] Market and Morals, by Jonathan Sacks. Aug 2020

[20] There is of course, as in life in general, often a tension between orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work. Laudato Si, #128, by Pope Francis. 2015.

[21] Market and Morals, by Jonathan Sacks. Aug 2020

[22] Ibid

[23] Laudato Si, #129, by Pope Francis. 2015.

[24] https://www.bamglobal.org/

[25] https://www.lausanne.org/

[26] http://matstunehag.com/wealth-creation/

[27] https://bamglobal.org/report-wealth-creation-manifesto/

[28] Ethics and the dignity of work: An Orthodox Christian perspective, by Angelo Nicolaides. Pharos Journal of Theology ISSN 2414-3324 online Volume 101 – (2020)

[29] Maciej Zięba, OP. “Papal Economics: The Catholic Church on Democratic Capitalism, from Rerum Novarum to Caritas in Veritate. 2013

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