Business as Mission, Justice and Human Dignity

In the last chapter of Carnival Kingdom, Mats Tunehag explores how the entrepreneurial gift has the potential to bring social reform, model justice and equality, and reduce poverty. Amid complex historic, ethnic, climactic, economic and social dynamics of communities,
biblically-shaped enterprise holds the capacity to serve God and the common good. Historic and contemporary vignettes highlight the vitality of the entrepreneurial strands in our re-imagining and re-weaving of society.

Here are a few snippets from his chapter:-

In just 100 years, this country went from ‘unreached’ to ‘churched’, with approximately 90 percent of the population attending church as members. It is the ultimate success story in the history of Christian mission— if the success criteria are church planting and church growth. In just over 100 days, nearly one million citizens (and church members) were killed—by other citizens and church members—in a brutal genocide in the spring of 1994. The country? Rwanda. It had seen tremendous success in evangelism and church planting but little penetration of the Gospel in ethnic relationships—it had people in church, but not church in people. How we define our mission has both short and long-term implications. Church planting and growth is not wrong, but clearly insufficient as a success criterion. As we look at sub-Saharan Africa today, it has some of the most Christian countries in the world (percentage of Christians), some of the poorest countries in the world, and some of the most corrupt countries in the world. What is wrong with this picture? Is this success? Is this in line with our mission as Christians? Is this what God wants? Our mission and success criteria must include transformation. We want people and societies to be transformed—holistically. The global Business as Mission (BAM) movement is aiming at transformed lives around the world through ethical business with integrity. This sounds grand, but what does it mean?

Many people live and work in the insecure, informal job sector, which is often filled with survival activities in the form of subsistence businesses. Most people hope for a formal job, but many have little or no prospect of finding one. And the problem is increasing. 50 million new jobs need to be created in the Arab world alone by 2020 and there is no indication of that happening. According to the Economist, unemployment rates are 24% in Egypt, 27% in Jordan, 30% in Tunisia, 39% in Saudi Arabia and 46% in Gaza. 44 million people in the so-called rich world are unemployed and another 11 million are underemployed. The human costs are enormous, for joblessness increases depression, divorce, substance abuse, etc. Youth are disproportionately affected and this goes for both rich and poor countries. In Spain, for example, 46 percent of young people under the age of 25 are out of work. In South Africa it is over 50 percent. The challenge is huge and global. What must be done?

Human trafficking, modern day slavery, is the second biggest organised crime in the world. It is worth many billions of dollars and involves very sophisticated transnational operations. Some estimates indicate that about 27 million people have been tricked, shipped, deployed to slave-like work and are held against their will. This is happening all over the world. It is big business. It is organised. The trafficking operations involve all kinds of professions and skills and they are very interconnected;…To adequately address and combat human trafficking we need to build critical mass…and build strategic alliances… I see two major challenges for anti-trafficking initiatives. One problem is that it is mainly two categories of people and groups who are involved: Firstly, legislators, policy makers, and government agencies. Secondly, NGOs, non-profit and volunteer based organisations. These people and groups are good and needed. They are not the problem. The problem is the people and groups who are not involved or not even invited to combat this evil. We know that unemployment makes people vulnerable to traffickers. It is also a fact that we cannot talk about restoration of victims of human trafficking unless we can offer them jobs with dignity. Thus adequate prevention and restoration must include job creation. This means that business people must be a part of anti-trafficking networks…The second problem is disconnectedness. Local and national disconnected anti-trafficking measures are not sufficient to tackle big, organised crime, to initiate preventative steps and to plan and effect rescue and restoration of the victims of these criminal gangs.

Mats Tunehag is a freelance consultant, speaker and writer from Sweden. He has worked in nearly half of the countries of the world, developing global strategic alliances for various constituencies, including Business as Mission. He is a senior Associate on Business as Mission for both the Lausanne Movement and World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission, and has lectured widely on Business as Mission as well as published numerous articles and papers on the topic. He initiated and co-led the first global think tank on Business as Mission (BAM) 2002 – 2004, and he is now co-chairing the second global think tank on BAM. He also serves with a global investment fund based on Christian values that helps SMEs to grow in size and holistic impact in the Arab world and Asia, by providing financial, intellectual and human capital. He is also a global spokesperson on Religious Liberty & Freedom of Speech for the World Evangelical Alliance. He serves on the Global Council of Advocates International, a global network of 30,000 lawyers in over 120 countries. He has lectured to lawyers in Europe, Latin America and North America on Human Rights issues and lessons learned in building strategic and influential alliances shaping public opinion and legislation. He wrote editorials on international affairs for ten years for a national newspaper in Sweden.

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