When God gave us understanding of the seven social spheres in 1975, He warned us to wait before attempting to influence the sphere of business (and government) or we would have great failures. God, mission history, and society have warned us against the dangers of oppressive and negative outcomes when we carelessly mix spheres or confuse their domains of authority.

However we have, over the years, encountered many circumstances where YWAM staff have engaged in business for particular missional purposes. YWAMers have started businesses as means of developing evangelistic opportunities or for assisting the poor to make a living and escape exploitation.

We are called to go into the whole world and there are many parts of the world where the Gospel has not gone. 2.7 billion people have never heard the Gospel and most of these live in nations hostile to traditional missionaries, but open to businesses. Some of these businesses will have clear missional strategies.

YWAM has also been clearly led to serve, facilitate, train and disciple those called into all spheres, including business. With a clear understanding about how the mission/religious sphere interacts with and differs from the sphere of business, the two can work together well. They are different domains of authority too, so understanding and wisdom are required to avoid oppressive leadership.

There are real risks and dangers when YWAMers get directly involved in business. The most important issue is heart motivation. We must guard against becoming ‘money-driven’. We cannot lose our dependence on God or our unique calling as YWAMers.

Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.” We must guard our good name! The unwise mixing of spheres and domains can destroy the reputation of YWAM. 

That is why we have produced a more thorough paper on Business as Mission vs. Mission as Business. You will find this resource, along with others on this topic, on this BWAM website and on our website.

Loren Cunningham, July 2022

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