Fellowship - Events and Activities Iloilo 29 July 2023 Bacolod 28 July 2023 Cebu 6 May 2023 Davao 4 March 2023 BAM Philippines’ Back-to-Back Bacolod and Iloilo First Face-to-Face Fellowship: Building the BAM Community 28-29 July 2023 On the 28th of July 2023, it was a wonderful sight to see more than 100 Christian Business Owners gathering together on a Friday morning at Planta Centro Hotel in Bacolod. We started the program with Scripture reading, a blessed live praise and worship, and a devotion by Pastor Neil Cortez. As participants were so eager to know about what Business As Mission is, we went straight into the inspiring talk of Matthew Kok from BAM Singapore. He presented what a BAM business looks like, and included a powerful encouragement for businesses to be built upon the commands of Scriptures. During the lunch fellowship, husband and wife, David and Emily Villanueva, Bacolod-based BAM Core Members, gave a warm welcome to all the participants and talked about what the Lord impressed upon their heart about Business As Mission. They introduced two couples who courageously shared their life story and testimony on following Christ in the workplace. For the afternoon program, we had a motivational message from Steve Sy, a Christian Business Owner in the e-commerce industry. He shared about how the Lord redeemed him from being heavily in debt. We then had the panel discussion, which included our two speakers, Matthew and Steve. They were joined by BAM Bacolod Core Member, David, and our BAM Cebu speaker, Lorraine Limchesing. The questions explored more on family businesses. The panelists provided words of encouragement for spouses to keep seeking the Lord as they balance serving in both work and ministry. They also comforted participants who opened up about their struggle of applying God’s principles in their businesses. Due to time constraint, we were not able to accommodate all the questions on the spot. This was where BAM Singapore Core Member, James Tan, came on stage to enlighten us about the need to join the BAM community – to continue helping and learning from one another on our walk as Christian Business Owners. As the program came to an end, BAM Philippines Core Lead, Richard and Cathy Tan, went on stage to appreciate our speakers with the plaque followed by their closing remarks. Everyone was on fire about all the learnings throughout the day and even more thrilled knowing that there is an even bigger event to look forward to – the BAM First Asia Conference happening on Oct. 20-21 Shangri-La, The Fort Manila, Bonifacio Global City. All praise to God for this growing community of faithful stewards of the Lord! But that’s not all. The BAM Philippines Core Team – from Manila, Cebu, Singapore – made their way to Iloilo on a RORO. What a pleasant bonding experience for us. As a new day dawns, it truly is the day that the Lord has made! We met over a hundred Christian Business Owners in Iloilo at the Marriott Courtyard. The Lord is calling His people to gather together and strengthen each other to follow and obey Him through their God-given businesses! We had our devotion by Rev. Dr. Jessie Yu, followed by Matthew’s introduction to Business As Mission principles and advocacy. We were then inspired by testimonials from Arlene Juan Tong in the merchandising industry, and Cabarles couple in the retail industry. We continued on with our program all the way to Rev. Stephen Chan’s closing prayer. Afterwards, many young Christian Business Owners came forward expressing their interest to apply BAM principles in their family business as next generation leaders! This news uplifted our hearts as we have been lifting to the Lord in prayer the next generation. What a spirit-filled two days indeed. To God be the Glory! BAM Philippines’ Cebu First Face-to-Face Fellowship: “We want to serve the Lord.” 6 May 2023 "I am a Christian Business Owner and I want to serve the Lord through my business. How do I start? Where do I find a community of Christians who share the same thoughts I can collaborate with?" Over 200 Christian Business Owners attended BAM Philippines’ First Cebu Face-to-Face Fellowship last May 6 at Seda Ayala Center, to tackle these questions and more with the guidance of God’s Word and to speak about their experiences. Long after the event ended by 2 p.m., many of us lingered and, more important, interacted with the speakers, panelists, and each other. For hours, since the 9 a.m. start, all of us had listened intently to all the presentations, testimonies, and panel discussions that were happening on stage. Then, as the event wrapped up, many of us wanted to do something about what we had learned: use our businesses as a platform for God to spread His Word and win more souls for His Kingdom. Success, though, in any venture is not achieved alone. We knew we needed the support of and ongoing interaction with fellow Christian Business Owners who have the same passion, zeal, and vision to dedicate our companies to God. We also recognized that we faced the same challenges in business and could offer each other guidance and possible solutions. We believe we have found it in BAM Philippines who was generous in sharing their learnings and wisdom, which were all aligned with the Scripture. The BAM Philippines’ first Cebu Face-to-Face Fellowship was led by Cebu-based BAM Core Members who gave us all a warm welcome. Other Core Members flew in from Manila, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Iloilo, and even other countries like Singapore. The event truly broke international barriers and became a platform to fuse our hearts into one. We could see this interplay even among the ones guiding the proceedings on stage. BAM Core Member Rachel Tan, who was from Manila, was the main host. Cebuana Christian sisters like Angeli Si and Katherine Dacay introduced the Cebu-based speakers whom they have known a long time, and whose spiritual journeys they sometimes shared. Stewardship of God’s business After the inspiring praise and worship session, Pastor Collen Lo, the BAM Philippines Shepherding Pastor, again did the opening prayer as he did in BAM Philippines’ Davao Face-to-Face Fellowship last March. Afterward, during his short exhortation, Pastor Collen emphasized our roles as Christian Business Owners in building God’s kingdom here on earth, as well as our responsibilities for being His stewards. His talk really made us reflect on the way we conduct our businesses and how we deal with our employees and customers. Also inspiring was the first speaker, Matthew Kok, the Chairman of Business as Mission (BAM) Thrust CEFC, Singapore. He first said that business is our God-given platform for the testimony of our faith and the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ. As such, he added that this means, “As God’s stewards, our chief aim should be to align our business to our Master’s purpose of redemption and new life.” Next, he showed us how a redeemed business can become an instrument of evangelization outside our own corporate walls. Matthew pointed out that, while some governments prevent Christian missionaries from entering their borders, “Legitimate business is welcome anytime, anywhere, everywhere, even in closed countries.” Our next speaker, Lorainne Limchesing, gave her testimony as a Christian Business Owner and revealed how God moves in her life as well as her family’s. She is the Managing Director of their family-owned group of companies which has established itself for decades, starting with her father-in-law. To those of us who have run family businesses or who are bringing in siblings and grown children slowly into our companies, her sharing was really helpful and edifying. “Those who honor Me, I will honor.” 1 Samuel 2:30 Among the most important lessons she shared, this principle was probably the one that really sank deep into our hearts. As business owners, it is natural for us to want to grow the business and succeed. Lorainne reminded us that, “In order to prosper, we have to stop thinking of money as belonging to us. We need to quit seeing ourselves as the source of our prosperity and recognize that ALL blessings and ALL riches come from God.” It is a principle that Lorainne has passed on to her three sons who are helping out in their family business. Another Biblical verse that she encouraged all of us to remember and apply is from 1 Samuel 2:30, where the Lord says, “Those who honor Me, I will honor.” During these two discussions, a lot of us wanted to ask questions but could not because we might disrupt the flow of the sharing. We did have our chance in the panel discussion which tackled the intricacies and challenges of running a family business, and how the Christians in the company can apply Biblical principles to its operations while inviting their non-Christian family and relatives into the faith. Matthew and Lorainne were the centerpiece of the panel. Other fellow believers and business owners who joined were Tristan Joseph “TJ” Limchesing, Lorainne’s 27-year-old son who is currently the Operations Manager of their family business; Pastor Nigel Ong, a tent-making pastor to the youth of his local church in Cebu; David and Emily Villanueva, who are involved in the Bacolod Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry; and Amen Say, a Christian Business Owner in the Distribution Industry and a Business as Mission Practitioner. Moderating the panel discussions were Pastor Steven Tumbaga, who is a youth pastor at his local church in Cebu City; and Lucy Gwee, who leads the Business as Mission Young Entrepreneur Group as part of the BAM Singapore Core team in her local church. A growing community During the lunch break, we spent the time just sharing our learnings and insights with our new friends who were seated next to us. We compared notes and realized how many of our experiences were similar, and so was our desire to serve God. What was wonderful about this lunch break was that a BAM Core Leader sat with us, one of them at each table, to answer any question we might have. They also shared their walk with the Lord and how He provided for and protected them while they were doing their business God’s way. After everything we had heard and seen, we wanted to know more about BAM Philippines. We felt the tug of God in our hearts and we wanted to improve our service to Him in our respective companies. We couldn’t do it alone and recognized that we needed a community. This was where James Tan came on stage to enlighten us. He is a BAM Core Member based in Singapore and is the Managing Director of a consultancy firm with over 40 years of experience in IT. He did confirm that Christian Business Owners can grow together as a community. He cited Hebrews 10:25: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” What did set our hearts on fire was his description of BAM Fellowships. They hold monthly fellowship meetings to build a missional community. Learnings are done through business issues and case studies guided by Biblical principles. A BAM business also has the possibility to venture towards discipleship and church-planting. James’ talk was really an eye-opener. He showed us what we could do as Christian Business Owners right in our own companies to spread the work of God in and through the business landscape. Another blessing was the short exhortation by Richard and Cathy Tan, who are Christian Business Owners in the Distribution Industry. Their own lives and testimonies themselves are blessings. They are living out BAM principles in their own company and have become effective Christian witnesses to their own staff, many of whom now worship the Lord. Richard and Cathy are also the parents of our wonderful host, Rachel. Richard and Cathy were on stage to give their plaques of gratitude for our two speakers---Matthew and Lorainne ---as well as for Amen, our panelist who was a main speaker in the BAM Davao Face-to-Face Fellowship. October conference The event was nearing its end when we realized that the best was still to come. The Tan family encouraged all of us to join BAM’s First Asia Conference which will be happening on Oct. 20-21 at Shangri-La, The Fort Manila, Bonifacio Global City. As they described it, what we had learned and been blessed with in the Cebu face to face Fellowship was just a tip of the iceberg. We could feel the excitement in the air. We do want to serve the Lord through our business and we want to know more. The testimonies and lessons we had heard so far have encouraged and motivated us to join this spiritual journey. It is also gratifying to know that we are not and will never be alone. The Lord is with us---and so is a growing community of fellow Christian Business Owners who want to spread His message of love to the world. As Matthew put it, “The BAM Movement is defined as groups of business people, faithfully and intentionally, in their ordinary course of business, testify their faith and lead the lost to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour---beginning in Cebu, Davao, Manila, then the rest of the nation, and to the rest of world. Together we influence business and impact the nations.” BAM Philippines’ Davao Face-to-face Fellowship: The Calling of Christian Business Owners 4 March 2023 The consecration and surrender of one’s business to the Lord. Implementing His principles of righteousness in the workplace, despite the tough challenges. Living a life and managing a company that is worthy of the calling He has placed on us. Equipping fellow Christian Business Owners in a community that will spread Jesus’ word in the marketplace. Supporting and serving one another in love, humility, truth, and transparency, as guided by the Holy Spirit. Those were the learnings that we took to heart, when we attended the first Face-to-Face Business as Mission (BAM) Fellowship in Davao last March 4. There were about 100 of us Christian Business Owners, joined by pastors and leaders who filled the Acacia Hotel Davao in Davao City. All of us were spurred to attend by a genuine desire to worship the Lord, discover His will for our lives, and walk in obedience to His will, including our business. Leading us in prayer with a short but encouraging exhortation was Pastor Collen Lo, Shepherding Pastor of BAM Philippines. There were two main speakers who blessed us with their teachings and their testimony: Matthew Kok, Chairman, of the Business as Mission (BAM) Thrust CEFC, Singapore; and Amen Say, a Business Owner in the Distribution Industry. Afterward, we participated in a panel discussion with both leaders who were joined by the following Christian Business Owners: Andrew Chua; Richard Tan and his wife Cathy Tan, and John Gaisano Jr. Moderating the discussion were Arch. Daniel Lim and Lucy Gwee, who is known for her work in International Strategy and Business Development from Singapore. Ian Co delivered the welcome remarks. How Christian Business Owners can serve God Can we truly serve God and yet have successful companies? Is there a common ground where the practical need to make profits can meet with the passion to build His Kingdom? Matthew addressed those lingering questions, first saying that a business must be profitable; otherwise, it is not a business. Yet he also added that without a moral compass and the fear of the Lord, profit becomes the Christian Business Owners’ sole driver and motivation---removing or reducing their focus on God. He emphasized what sets apart businesses of Christian Business Owners from secular ones: the purpose of God in business is partnering with Him to present the Gospel, so the lost will come to know our Lord and Savior. Everything else---profit, prestige, expansion---is a by-product. Matthew also described how God’s purpose for business is very different from the ruthless, stressful rat race many business owners are used to. Doing God’s way means being caring and industrious, allowing us to have time with our families while taking care of the poor and others around us. Amen also exhorted us to always keep in mind the calling God has for us, and let it not be buried by the need to make money. He reminded us that God has assigned good works for us to do. We should always ask ourselves if we are indeed walking in the journey He wants for us, or are we pursuing the things the world tempts us to chase, e.g. a new car that we may not even need. Christian Business Owners: sharing God’s light to the world We also learned that consecrating our business to the Lord is a life-changing experience---and one that brings a closer intimacy in our walk with Him as Christian Business Owners. Richard spoke of God’s calling in his life and his company, and the divine faithfulness that came with it. He shared that before he came to know the Lord, business was just about making money. However, when the Lord called him back, He changed his heart and made him understand that everything belongs to God, and not him. However, doing business the Lord’s way will also assure him that the business will be successful. Richard said that, after these many years of doing God’s business His way, his business has been doing well. His wife Cathy affirmed this testimony, describing how following God empowered them to share His word and bring the people they work with to the Lord. Through His guidance, her and Richard’s company now dedicate several hours a day to Bible study, worshipping the Lord, and praying in the morning, at lunchtime, and before going home. Andrew also shared that doing business God’s way can be a difficult but ultimately rewarding decision. Obeying God in faith means compliance with all government rules and regulations, paying the right wages, and holding accurate bookkeeping. God helps the Christian Business Owners to implement righteousness in their operations. Christian Business Owners: honoring God as stewards As Christian Business Owners, we face a dozen decisions every day. We meet challenges that we have to solve. We have goals we need to reach. Pastor Collen put it all in perspective when he encouraged us by saying that we are not alone. At the same time, every act we do should have the blessing of the true Business Owner, the Lord Jesus. Pastor Collen acknowledged that we business people need support in all our activities, especially in strengthening ourselves against worldly practices that do not conform to the will of God. He also advised us to always ask ourselves this question: “Is this what God wants us to do?” At the end of the fellowship, we felt encouraged to go deeper in our walk with the Lord. To understand how He sees businesses and our roles in them. We are but His stewards, and He is the Owner of our businesses, and everything we do should glorify Him. It is a divine honor that we are privileged to fulfill. As Andrew said, following Jesus Christ in business takes time and practice. But He loves and cares for us. He understands our weakness and wants to strengthen us from faith to faith. There will be MORE learnings and teachings as the BAM’s First Asia Conference draws near this October at Shangri-La, The Fort, Manila. If you want to know more about the First Asia Conference, click here.