Sorry... the title's not an Emeril reference... it's something new! Well, kind of.
"BAM" is the acronym for Business as Missions, something most of us are probably familiar with but didn't realize there was an official name for. BAM is the idea that "business could be a very effective and valuable way to do missions and ministry". Jesse Lane (of Dayspring - one of my favorite missions-as-business examples) is doing a great job of exploring the issues and methodologies behind this idea at his Kingdom Commerce blog.
As a former business major, I am excited to see the church starting to open up to the idea of self-sustaining missions on a much larger scale than it has in the past for several reasons:
1. Being directly tied into (and contributing to) the local economy fundamentally integrates people into their community. It opens doors, breaks down barriers and gives people social standing from which to speak.
2. Being self-sustaining prevents people from spending lots of time and energy on the "please donate" circuit that they can (and usually would rather) devote to their mission.
3. Businesses have a lot to offer that traditional missions can't - job skills, solid work references, money management experience and earn-able funding for one's goals.
4. Administration (or business smarts) is a spiritual gift - I don't personally believe God hands it out to be used only in churches :0)
5. Faith-based businesses give people the opportunity to vote with their wallets. Where and how we spend our money says more about our priorities and has more impact on the secular business world than anything else we could do.
I've barely scratched the surface of the Business as Mission Network website, but it looks like they've got plenty of great thoughts on there to chew on. If you know a business major (or a Bible major for that matter!) think about sending this their way.