Project Proposal for the Business of Business as Mission

By Finishers Project

Objectives:

To provide a competent and credible place for Christians with proven business skills to join in the missionary enterprise, not by retooling themselves, but simply by using their training, know-how and life experience in other nations.

To reimburse WorldVenture by purchasing the BAMmatch.com web site in order for Finishers Project to be able to run the business of Business as Mission (BAM), connecting Christian business people with sending organizations that are prepared to facilitate their involvement in serving the Lord while serving the nations.

To advance the BAMmatch.com web portal and attract significant numbers of the Christian business community to come alongside the nations and be a witness of the Gospel, to create disciple-makers by mentoring nationals, and to bring world-class business principles to a waiting world.

Background:

Finishers Project (FP) was launched in 1998 to provide information, challenge and pathways for people to enter missions from their careers. Though it is targeted to the Boomer generation, it has been found to work for all ages; about one-third of those submitting a profile are under the age of 40. The majority that enter a detailed profile are between 40 and 65 with the upper limit expanding as the baby-boomer generation ages. FP is a connecting organization and has been a catalyst in connecting about 4% of the US missionary force. The finishers.org website has been described as the e-harmony-dot-com for missions. FP is a 501(c) 3 organization based in Arizona.

Finishers Project charges a fee for mission organizations to be a part of the recruiting portal, but that fee does not cover costs. Most of the staff either raise or provide their support.

The single biggest occupational need in missions has been for educators.  Thus, in 2008, Finishers Project, along with the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and Wycliffe, launched missionteach.com. Teachers generally have the mind-set that they are not missionaries, but teachers. This notion is disabused as they come to missionteach.com to find a place in the missionary enterprise.

Two elements are critical to FP’s increasing operations. One is that this is a ministry-neutral organization. FP is not a sending organization. It is safe for mission agencies to use this as a recruiting portal due to the confidential nature of the list of skills needed by each mission organization.  Second, it is attractive to individuals because it provides them with a supermarket of mission organizations that have service opportunities that fit their training, life-experience, and skills, and it allows them the choice to opt in or out of the matching scheme.

Business as Mission as a Movement

There has been a great deal of resource material, books and conferences on BAM. Most everything prepared to date has been to defend the concept of Business as Mission as an acceptable paradigm shift from traditional church planting missions. Apart from BAMmatch.com, which is in start-up mode, there is not a place for Christian business people to cross the cultural divide into the world of missions. This is the gap that Finishers Project seeks to fill for the business community with BAMmatch.com.

Why Take on the Business of Business as Mission?

Finishers Project is a good fit for this initiative. While finishers.org works as a connecting service, it is not a “targeted” service, in that it recruits Christians from all disciplines. The vision is to take what has been learned from the Mission:TEACH experience, which has been highly successful in attracting the target audience of educators to serve in missions in their chosen discipline. The same is true of business people who are generally unaware that their skills can be used in missions. In many countries, business people are welcome where individuals identified as missionaries are not.  If individuals have substantial business skills, the nations are not concerned that they are Christ-followers.

What is BAMmatch?

BAMmatch.com was created by Bruce Swanson, the director of Transformational Ventures (T-Ventures). It is designed to be a tool to recruit Christians with business experience in order to better fulfill the mission of WorldVenture. T-Ventures operates as the Business as Mission arm of WorldVenture and engages in job creation all over the world in cooperation with the health care, education, justice and spiritual initiatives that are already in existence. As part of a larger strategy, T-Ventures connects business professionals to projects and businesses around that world that would benefit from basic consulting services. While the networks of WorldVenture extend far and wide, the business world moves much faster than the nonprofit networking circles. In order to meet the demands of the marketplace, BAMmatch was created to accelerate the process of matching business consultants with business needs around the world. BAMmatch.com is a level platform where all Business as Mission practitioners, including mission agencies, may post their consulting needs. Business people actively search to match their skills and expertise to posted BAM options. 

Why is BAMmatch For Sale?

While BAMmatch.com was created as a tool to better fulfill the mission of T-Ventures, it is not a core part of the corporate strategy. The tool has proven successful and has already met a large need in the global Business as Mission world. In order to excel at their strategy and continue their focus on implementing BAM, T-Ventures has elected to sell the site so as not to hold back BAMmatch. T-Ventures has about $20,000 invested in the software and website development.  They are looking to recover that cost from whoever assumes the task of operating BAMmatch.com. They are not, however, looking to recoup the human resource capital invested in the initial thought leadership and the launching of this initiative. This makes the barrier lower for a competent organization to take over the work.

Project Implementation

It is proposed that Nelson Malwitz, Founder of Finishers Project, assume project leadership as the point person to bring the movement under the umbrella of Finishers Project and take the venture to the next level.  Nelson comes out of the marketplace world having had a successful career leading Research and Development in a multi-national corporation. From there he founded Finishers Project and co-founded Mission:TEACH. Similarly, BAMmatch will solicit partnerships from leading mission organizations by requesting that they serve on a national advisory team of BAMmatch.  The mission agency community represents the demand side for workers. An important part of the BAMmatch operation is to provide mission agencies with an aggregation point to broadcast to the greater Evangelical community the concept that business skills are useful to God’s global cause. It seems the nations of the world are saying, “Please don’t send any more evangelists; we have plenty of those. Can you send Christians who can do something?” 

Nelson lives in Connecticut and has recruited two business executives from his church to come alongside and run the business of Business as Mission as volunteers.  Having served in substantial leadership positions, they have proven business skills, and thus, can well represent the thinking of business candidates – the supply side.

Finishers Project has substantial connections with leading mission organizations such as CrossWorld, Pioneers, SIM, Seed Company and WorldVenture. These are examples of organizations that recognize the opportunity of Business as Mission and are moving forward to implement a BAM component to their missionary organizations. There are many other mission agencies that acknowledge the usefulness of the BAM concept, and others will do so in the future. This proposal includes a gathering the first weekend of June to facilitate thought leadership for BAMmatch. It is proposed that this gathering be held at the CrossWorld facilities in Kansas City. CrossWorld has agreed to provide housing and facilities for this consultation. Potential stakeholders will handle their own travel expenses. This is partially to build on the consultation that was held September 2010 in Charlotte, NC, which was sponsored by FP and the Business Professional Network. A summary of the meeting outcome can be found at missionenterprise.com, an FP website.

What Does it Take to Run the Business of BAM and BAMmatch.com?

FP and Mission:TEACH are, essentially, service businesses that require a sales effort and customer service. When marketing a service such as BAM, it is first necessary to identify the target customers, i.e., business candidates, and then facilitate their desire to move into missions through the sales and service processes. This approach has worked with the Finishers Project. Thus, the positioning is from the marketplace perspective, not the mission agency perspective.

Under Finishers Project, BAMmatch will have a home under the ministry-neutral umbrella of a matchmaking organization that has the know-how to put together the demand and supply sides for mission recruiting in a sustainable, cost-effective manner. An ethos of Finishers Project is that the connecting utilities must work. People and agencies get matched by percent fit. This matching is not a simple directory. The same ethos is a part of the Mission:TEACH ministry and will be a part of BAMmatch.

Apart from providing a place for mission agencies to recruit business people as the demand side of the equation, there is also a unique opportunity to tap into the supply side. Churches in America are filled with business people, and they have shown an interest in engaging their business people in missions by having them come alongside the missionaries they support. So a church sponsorship might include allowing their own missionaries to post BAM opportunities. Such churches tend to be kingdom-minded so would potentially point their business people to the matching web portal to see all the opportunities that are presented. Consequently, there is an even greater sustainability potential for BAMmatch as compared to the current FP services. The current owners of BAMmatch are actively developing a prototype of this use of BAMmatch, with a large church in the Dallas area.

Project Budget

To initiate the project, it is necessary to provide Transformational Ventures with the funds to recoup their out-of-pocket investment. The cost is reasonable, but not within the means of the regular FP budget. The funds to purchase the web domain and website could be in the form of a grant; this is the current request. Alternatively, 20 mission organizations could be asked to contribute $1000 each for a seat at the table, and thus, spread the cost that WorldVenture has borne.

With the $20,000 grant, the grantor could, at their option, be part of the thought leadership. Under the leadership of Finishers Project, the Connecticut contingent proposes to serve as volunteers so as not to draw a salary. But there will be a budget and customer service elements that require funding. This is at an incremental cost of about $30,000 per year. Under the business plan, mission organizations and sponsoring churches would provide sufficient revenue to cover this cost under the proposed model, which is similar to FP and Mission:TEACH.

Now is the Time

When Finishers Project was launched in 1998, the thought process was that it be established and running effectively by the time the baby-boomer generation was exiting the turnstiles of the workplace in large numbers. That day is upon us; some estimates are that 10,000 individuals retire each business day.  Many seasoned Christian business people are ready, willing and able to serve. They simply need a path to get them from where they are now to where they can serve. Under the umbrella of Finishers Project, BAMmatch will have fast traction for people to serve as business people in missions, short-term, long-term, at home or abroad. Since the mission agency community has been considering the idea of incorporating business people in missions for some time, the missiological thinking, now more than ever, is ready to embrace the idea of accepting business people as a way to do missions.

Project Timing

Transformational Ventures is ready to sell and FP is ready to buy now. The staff is in place to begin working the website and to take a role in thought leadership. A consultation host and date is sketched in for the first part of June 2012. The purpose is to expand the leadership base so as to develop mature demand-side machinery for mature Christian business people to engage in Great Commission activities. To “go out into the highways and byways and compel them to come, so His house may be filled.” Luke 14:23.

Your Response?

Finishers Project
P.O. Box 12649
Chandler, AZ 85248-0028
Phone: (480) 584-5448
bam@finishers.org

Resources:

 finishers.org (main website)
 missionenterprise.com (A Finishers Project website)
 missionteach.com (The recruiting portal for education)

 


FAMILIES of Eldoret, Kenya wrote:

The Church is currently supporting and encouraging members to start Godly business for economic stability. The area of interest is using Christian families living within the reach of tourists attraction areas in kenya to provide home stay tourism services at an affordable fees. The Church is currently looking for funding and partnership.

Thank You
Jacob Mbego
Senior Pastor


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