How much of it is ministry

This is a question people have asked us in order to gauge what percentage of our Business as Mission (BAM) project is involved in ‘spiritual’ work.

But at the heart of business ministries is a belief that our lives are not separated into the ‘spiritual’ and the ‘secular’ — that all of our lives are lived to honour God and fulfil His purposes. While there is agreement among Christians about the whole-of-life nature of our faith, there is a default setting in our thinking which keeps separating activities into spiritual and sacred and, depending on our personal assessment criteria, evaluating whether those activities are legitimate ministry or not.
The divided world view is a common characteristic of individualistic societies, which tend to categorise and evaluate activities. There is a clear distinction between perceived ‘spiritual ministry’ and ‘secular activity’’.

The Bible is clear that all of our life is to be lived “in a manner worthy of the gospel” (Colossians 3:17) “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” When we recognise that our whole life is an act of worship — in, with, through and for Jesus — the division disappears.

My team is serving in a country where business is the only way to gain long-term access. We are running a training centre to equip youth for employment or further study either within the country or overseas. Young people here have very few opportunities and very little hope for their future, and welcome our skills.
Our business isn’t a cover for our ‘real ministry’; we are very intentional in our aim to make a spiritual impact through our lives and our work here. We believe we’re called to “all of life” service and, whether we are teaching an English lesson or leading a prayer meeting, we are involved in sharing God’s love and reflecting the life of Christ in us.
BAM businesses are a long-term strategy, as the staff and business contacts who are influenced most by the business are impacted little by little, similar to the evangelistic approach we would take with a neighbour — over the years of relationship and caring for them you get opportunities to share your faith. We’re in the very early stages but already people are noticing our focus on serving and caring for people.
One young Buddhist girl came to our centre to prepare for studying in Korea. She was also studying at another centre which was much more expensive, signed her up for courses which she didn’t need and wouldn’t give her a refund. We got to know her and what she needed to achieve her goals, spent time encouraging her, told her we were praying for her and celebrated by all going out for lunch with her when she got her visa. Our Korean teachers gave practical advice on what to expect and arranged Christian contacts, who will offer support when she arrives there, to continue the work we began.

BAM is the same as any traditional mission endeavour — living in a community and using your gifts to serve as a testimony for the gospel — whether establishing a Bible school or opening a school for tradespeople, planting a church or developing an agricultural collective. It’s a whole-of-life approach to Christian service.
Pray with us that people will consider whether their business skills could be transported overseas to God’s glory.
— a SIM NZ partner serving in Asia