Summary Report: Business Professional Network

Dear AD2-Announce Reader:

As the AD2000 & Beyond Movement moves towards its final closure date of early 2001, all of the movement's Tracks / Resource Networks and Task Forces have been requested to provide an overview summary of their specific realm of experience over the 5 - 10 years of their operational existence. These reports have been prepared for compilation of a "lasting record" of this movement and for all to see, as they are interested!

Please see the attached revised report on the Business Professional Network prepared by its International Director, John Warton. This Network was envisioned in 1995, had strong representation at GCOWE '97 in South Africa and formed as a result of the Declaration made at that conference. During that time and since the Lord has blessed mightily! Many thanks and praises to God for the current leadership of John Warton, his great efforts and those of the significant others involved!

These reports will all be included along with other historical reports and data of the AD2000 & Beyond Movement, including the AD2000 website, and much more on a CD-ROM being produced for distribution at Celebrate Messiah 2000. Further distribution of this CD-ROM will also be made after the conference. Please email info@ad2000.org if you<> are interested in purchasing one of these CD-ROMs.

NOTE: Celebrate Messiah 2000 will be held in Jerusalem and Bethlehem 27 December 2000 - 2 January 2001. Registration invitation is still open to those so interested. Please contact Lauri Dennis, Registrar, at Lauri@ad2000.org for more information.<>

The AD2000 International Office will be closing early in 2001. Click here for more information.

Thank you for your interest in the AD2000 & Beyond Movement and its spiritual and catalytic outworkings into the 21st century. Please continue to pray for the movement until our closing day! Thank you!

That all may hear!

Luis Bush
International Director
AD2000 & Beyond Movement


1) Brief historical involvement overview of the Business Professional Network.

The Business Professional Network was envisioned during the 1995 Global Congress on World Evangelization in Seoul, Korea, when Thomas Wang and Luis Bush asked some of the distinguished observers - businessmen attending a missionary congress - if they could devise a way that Christians with business gifts and callings could participate in fulfilling the Great Commission. J.Gunnar Olson of Sweden, Juerg Opprecht of Switzerland, Graham Binet of Australia, and John B. Thompson of the U.S. took up the challenge. A Business Executives Consultation was an official part of GCOWE '97 in Pretoria, South Africa, where more than 400 business people and 4000 delegates gave wholehearted consent to a Declaration* calling for business to participate actively in missions.

The BPN was formed as a result of that Declaration. Gunnar Olson became chairman of the board and Juerg Opprecht, took on the duties of International Director, operating from an office in Switzerland where he lived. John Warton was elected to the Board in 1998 and succeeded Mr. Opprecht as International Director in 1999, relocating the International Office to Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. Since 1997 the BPN has connected with believers, companies, ministries, and agencies active on every continent, in over 70 countries, under every kind of socio-political and economic regime.

For copies of that Declaration, contact the BPN International Office at: info@bpn.org

2) How did God use you and the Network?

  1. God has raised up the Network to expound, legitimate, and demonstrate several important concepts of missions. One is the concept that business can be ministry itself. This stands in contrast to a view widely held in much of the world that business is fundamentally corrupt, exploitive, or mere profiteering. In fact business is the primary means that God has ordained to provide all those things He knows we have need of (Matt 6:32).

    Another important concept is that God intends business to be the natural means of redemptive relationships. Through the witness of Christian character in business relationships and personal testimony, business people have the opportunity to evangelize, to counsel, and to serve. In months, business people can establish working relationships with deep human connection that formal missionaries may not achieve in years of trying.

    Another concept is a methodology for responding to the condition of the poor. An intermediate as well as long-term approach of creating jobs has become a prime opportunity for the Church to go virtually anywhere in the developing world. The cry of the poor is the call to Church; relief is certainly needed, but self-supporting work offers essential solutions and long-term hope. Underlying this concept is a theology that recognizes work not just as a necessity or even desirable activity, but as an essential expression of the image of God.

    Another is the call to serve. An evangelist must serve by preaching, but a businessperson can serve by creating and managing businesses. To do this for someone else and engage in it for something greater than oneself is a true expression of Christian service.

  2. The Network has also been used to connect a wide range of business ventures that have been operating independently and without the benefit of any beneficial cooperation. Some of those involved had doubts that what they were doing was even Biblical; many have been criticized by leaders they expected to be encouraging and helpful.

3) What specific goals did the Network accomplish?

  1. The BPN was allowed by God to be the agency to bring together the top leaders of the world's member-based marketplace ministries. The first meeting in Switzerland in 1999 was a holy and historic occasion. The second meeting in New York in 2000 revealed the genuine desire of those leaders to honor and support each other and each other's ministry. Even with clear records of significant spiritual fruit, each one could see far, far greater impact was possible if God would pour out His blessing on united efforts as He directed. For that we are praying and planning.
  2. Pilot projects were established in developing countries to provide training in management, capital for expansion, and encouragement for Christian entrepreneurs. The most successful was in Central Asia, where favorable business conditions, a proven regimen for business development, and good field leadership all came together. Some pilot projects have not come to fruition, others are in progress.
  3. The BPN initiated the North American Symposium on Doing Missions through Business in 1999. Participants included international leaders in economic development and practitioners engaged with national entrepreneurs in a wide range of businesses and countries. Symposia such as this facilitate the sharing of experience, theory, and theology underlying this approach to mission.
  4. Leaders of the BPN have participated in regional consultations of the partnerships that have been organized throughout the 1040 Window. This has been a response to the appeals from the field for help with the problems of rampant unemployment and an impoverished church, and an opportunity to explain the methods and conditions of free enterprise business to the field personnel.

4) What were the lessons learned?

  1. Benefits of cooperation - incredible leverage, creativity, strength.
  2. Necessity of prayer.
  3. The high level of motivation, Biblical understanding, and capability among Christians in business and the professions who desire to participate in fulfilling the Great Commission, not just fund it.
  4. The readiness of many governments to welcome business initiatives that will provide goods and services and jobs (and taxes). This is true even in some "hostile" environments if Christians will be discreet in their witness.

5) What would you have done differently?

Start earlier.

6) What recommendations for a new movement would you have?

  1. The mission of the Business Professional Network is just beginning to be accomplished. Efforts will continue into the new century to accomplish the original objectives with the same vision. A new movement should expect to find the same compelling evidence of God's call to the business community to take an active, and critical role in accomplishing the Great Commission.
  2. The effects of globalization in the modern period will continue to drive apart the 1st world and all others. The differences will become greater, the plight of the poor and oppressed will become more dire, and the likely indifference and isolation of those among the "have's" will increase too. New global movements that follow will do well to seize upon the great opportunity of the church in the West to touch the world in need. Jesus said, "The poor you will always have with you, and you may do good to them whenever you wish." (Mark 14:7) Now is the best time in history for the business world to help the church be self-sufficient, not just to give them a daily ration.
  3. Biblical teaching at every level must address the prevailing paradigm that "church work" is the only real ministry and that business' primary calling is to pay for others to do it. The witness and ministry of business itself is still not widely understood. The potential for the Church to bless the nations, both materially and spiritually, through honest business has not been seen. The opportunity to do missions through legitimate businesses is yet to be seized.

John Warton
International Director
Business Professional Network

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