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Business as Mission: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory and Practice Paperback – January 8, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


"Thanks goes to Neal Johnson for taking the BAM movement to the next level through scholarship that builds on the best theories, while walking in the real world." (Tom A. Steffen, Missiology, October 2010)

"I see this book as exactly what it should be: a helpful and thorough resource based upon years of hard work and research, yet delivered in an accessible and readable way for the highly motivated and engaged BAM practitioner.... It is for those who are going to fully embrace the promise and challenge of operating a business with the goal of contributing to the Missio Dei. (Mark L. Russell, EMQ, July 2010)

"A helpful and thorough resource based upon years of hard work and research, delivered in an accessible and readable way." (Mark L. Russell, EMQ, July 2010)

"There is a growing awareness throughout the world church that in the twenty-first century business as mission (BAM) may well prove to one of God’s primary, if not the principle, instrument of world evangelization and kingdom transformation. Neal Johnson’s presentation of BAM is masterful, comprehensive, clear, wonderfully readable, motivating and challenging--the best in the field. May this work help to motivate and mobilize biblical Christians around the globe to new, creative and committed missionary action to, within and through the marketplace to proclaim in word and deed the coming of the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Charles Van Engen, Arthur F. Glasser Professor of Biblical Theology of Mission, Fuller Theological Seminary)

"Finally, a complete book on the subject of business as mission. If God Is at Work is the 'why' of BAM, clearly, Neal's work is the 'how.' It is detailed, packed with great advice providing a step-by-step approach to doing BAM. It is punctuated with examples and tells it like it is. As the working encyclopedia for business as mission, it is a must for anyone who is considering work in this field directly or tangentially." (Ken Eldred, author, God Is at Work)

"Masterfully combining 'how come' and 'how to,' Neal Johnson has crafted an instant classic on marketplace missiology. His unusually rich experiences in work, ministry and education prepared him to offer in a single volume almost everything we need to know philosophically, theologically, scripturally and practically with the greatest mission opportunity in the twenty-first century--business as mission. While elaborating the complexities and ambiguities of definition and implementation--this is no slick quick fix book--Johnson leaves us with a heart panting after God’s own heart in the words of Jesus: 'As the Father has sent me, I am sending you' (John 20:21), a fully incarnational mission." (R. Paul Stevens, Emeritus Professor, Marketplace Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, BC, part-time faculty, Bakke Graduate University, Seattle, adjunct professor, Biblical Graduate School of Theology, Singapore)

"Johnson's Business as Mission: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory and Practice delivers on its title. If you want simple bromides about business as a mission field, this book is not for you. But if you recognize the centrality of work in God's created order, and if you want to integrate Christian teachings and workplace life through the lens of mission, then this richly resourced book is a must-read." (David W. Miller, Ph.D, director, Princeton University Faith & Work Initiative, and author of God at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement)

"The most powerful and complete presentation of business as mission I have seen to date! Neal goes beyond theology and inspirational stories, delving into the real-life issues of doing BAM in a global context. I highly recommend this book for those who are serious about using their business skills for God and who recognize the importance of spiritual stewardship when running an evangelistic business in a foreign land." (Thomas Sudyk, CEO, EC Group International, India, China and North America)

"The global business as mission (BAM) movement has for many years been on a journey toward holistic transformation through business and the quadruple bottom lines. Dr. Neal Johnson has developed an important road map for our journey. Fellow BAM travelers everywhere: Use this map!" (Mats Tunehag, Senior Associate for Business as Mission for the Lausanne Movement & the World Evangelical Alliance)

"Be prepared to have your view of the marketplace launched into a new orbit! This is easily the most comprehensive and valuable guide to business as mission ever written, perhaps because no one is better qualified to write it than Neal Johnson. This book will serve multitudes who are finding that business may be the primary gateway to extending God's kingdom into every corner of the earth in the decades just ahead." (John D. Beckett, chairman, the Beckett Companies, and author of Loving Monday and Mastering Monday)

"Neal Johnson's Business as Mission is the most comprehensive manual in the history of the marketplace movement. For years to come this will be the foundational text used by mission agencies, universities and seminaries, and business leaders interested in BAM. It identifies and simplifies the definitions, strategies, practical steps and key players in the worldwide BAM movement." (Kent Humphreys, Ambassador, FCCI / Christ@Work)

"C. Neal Johnson's Business as Mission would be my first choice for a single textbook on the subject. It is comprehensive, up-to-date, theoretically lucid and instructive for implementation. Business is a strategic tool for a new breed of crosscultural workers in the twenty-first-century mission. Not only will it be used for evangelism but also for securing the economic well-being of the people." (Tetsunao Yamamori, Lausanne senior adviser and president/CEO of WorldServe Ministries)

"Neal Johnson has provided a systematic, strategic and tactical approach in answering the important question on how to conduct business as mission in a God-honoring way." (Luis Bush, international facilitator, Transform World Connections)

"Neal Johnson and I have been friends for many years during which we've experienced several generational leaps in the practice and understanding of BAM; with this book, Neal has jumped to a new BAM best-practices world record. This book is a must-read for those already doing BAM as well as for those considering BAM. May this book also catalyze closer working relationships and trust between mission agencies and the business people and especially entrepreneurs of the world." (Dwight Nordstrom, chairman, Pacific Resources International)

"In this book, Dr. Neal Johnson does a masterful job of explaining business as mission (BAM) and its missiological significance. He also moves the conversation forward by providing insights--drawing from his personal experience and his research--into the 'how-to' questions that so many aspiring practitioners are asking. His book will be extremely useful to anyone interested in BAM, students as well as practitioners." (from the foreword by Steve Rundle, associate professor of economics, Biola University, Crowell School of Business, and coauthor of Great Commission Companies)

About the Author

C. Neal Johnson (Ph.D., Fuller Seminary) is Professor of Business and Management at Hope International University where he specializes in teaching and speaking internationally on Business as Mission (BAM), Missional Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship, Globalization and International Management. In addition, he is the Founder and Executive Directon of HIU's Center for Business as Mission which is focused on going beyond traditional business education and helping transform global communities through Christian business and entrepreneurial education.

Steve Rundle is associate professor of economics and business as mission at Biola University in La Mirada, California. His teaching and research interests are focused on the intersection between international economics and faith-based business. He is also the editor of Economic Justice in a Flat World: Christian Perspectives on Globalization.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (January 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830838651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830838653
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #518,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Having played a key role to create the Perspectives program, I am certain that Johnson's book will become the default handbook for any BAM student, business owner, church mission pastor or aspiring missionary. It is tour de force in nearly every way. It appeals to me as an MBA professor, as it covers entrepreneurial and economic facets of Business as Missions (BAM) in developing economies. As a missiologist, I find it cutting edge and contextually relevant to Evangelicalism. As a strategic leadership scholar, I find its hands-on guidelines for business and ministry practitioners to be practical.

As comprehensive as Johnson's book is, it does not address the macro-issues that must shape BAM as a community of practice. While it does address corporate social responsibility and "kingdom" bottom lines, it could have offered a stronger business call to sustainable development and social entrepreneurship, in the vain of Friedman's _Hot, flat, and Crowded_ (2008), or Hart and Quinn's _Capitalism at the crossroads: Aligning business, earth, and humanity_ (2007).

These issues of systemic business transformation are not foreign to Evangelical discourse, as McLaren has shown in _Everything Must Change_ (2007). Christianity must address the macro issues of transforming business so it doesn't live beyond its limits, in creation abuse, energy overuse or debt formation.
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Format: Paperback
Business as Mission: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory and Practice. By C. Neal Johnson.
Downers Grove, Illinois, USA, InterVarsity Press 2009. Pp. 528. $35.00.
reviewed by Scott Hedley, Bible translator in Asia

A "business as mission" or BAM is def©¦ined by Johnson as a for-prof©¦it commercial business
venture that is Christian-led and intentionally devoted to being used as an instrument of
God's mission while operating in a cross-cultural environment (27-28). I liked Johnson's
additional sentence related to an ancient proverb which says, "Give a man a f©¦ish and you
feed him for a day, but teach a man to f©¦ish and you feed him for a lifetime." Johnson adds
that BAM goes one step further and says, "Teach a man (or woman) how to start a f©¦ishing
business that creates jobs and you feed the community for generations" (36). I also like Johnson's
assertion (38) that BAM must have intentionality that Jesus is made known, encountered,
or followed, because without Jesus, he contends, we are simply giving [people] fuller
bellies on their way to hell.

This book has a number of highlights. First, Johnson helpfully connects his readers to the
Fellowship of Companies for Christ International (FCCI), and it can be hoped that FCCI can
provide training and mentoring to potential BAMs.

In addition, Johnson's section on the "Four Camps" in some relation to BAM was helpful.
These are: 1) tentmaking; 2) marketplace ministries; 3) enterprise development; and 4) business
as mission per se (BAM). The chart on page 147 shows that the main diffference between
tentmakers and BAM is that of job-takers versus job-makers.

Johnson also identif©¦ies many positive characteristics of BAM.
Read more ›
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As a former career international worker now transitioning over to tent-making and prayerfully considering BAM opportunities, I found this book to be helpful as I forced myself to stick with it, but a painfully plodding read overall.

The length of the book could easily have been cut to half to 2/3 of its length. In the early part of the book, the author needlessly repeats himself without adding much to the reader's overall understanding of Business-As-Mission or missiology. And he gets a little too bogged down for my taste later on in the details.

My favorite parts of the book came in the closing chapters when the author shares more from personal experience. More case studies or other practical examples would have been helpful.

In closing, in spite of my lukewarm review, I should also say that, using my Kindle Touch, I made copious highlights of various remarks scattered throughout the book which will provide food for thought and reflection in the future. So this "Comprehensive Guide" does have its strengths. Nevertheless, I would encourage the reader to look for another book as a possible better introduction, particularly if one is not coming from a business background.
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To start, I haven't found any BAM books that are worth 5 stars, though I think many are worth reading, but maybe that's just me. I come from a business background with an MBA and am interested in going into BAM in the future.

What is unique about this book, and also what I found the most insightful and helpful, was the section on the Four Camps. As someone in business looking into BAM, I've been pretty confused by many differing voices and opinions. Is an accountability group with coworkers considered BAM, or does BAM have to do with those who are creating micro-enterprises overseas among the poor? If you're like me, talking to more people does not always help answer this question, because everyone is petitioning for the importance of their BAM work as THE work of BAM. This book does help, overviewing all the various "camps" that are out there. Understanding this has really helped me identify where I fit, and how to support others who play in different spaces.

Sometimes, you don't need a groundbreaking idea, you just need someone to help you see the big picture. I think this book give you that, and I'd highly recommend it for those who are interested in exploring BAM and finally making sense of the growing whirlwind of media surround this important topic these days.
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