In this post, volunteer BAM team manager Jim Schlott, shares why he is sold on MDE’s approach. We are grateful for volunteers like Jim who are helping to shape MDE through their service, expertise, and passion.
When I first met Mark Canada in 2015, Marketplace & Development Enterprises (MDE) was little more than articles of incorporation and a flow chart. As we talked about his vision, which is to facilitate thousands of Business as Mission (BAM) ventures in unreached communities, Mark told me, “I am tired of talking about BAM. I’m ready to do BAM!” At that time he asked if I would be interested in helping him develop MDE as an organization. I had been working with individual BAM ventures to advise them on specific challenges. Mark’s proposal was unexpected, but I thought, ”Well, if that’s where God wants me to serve, I can do that.” My role since then has been to help MDE organize and give direction to our BAM team managers.
My previous experience with BAM had been through Open Network, a trade organization for BAM practitioners, and IBEC Ventures, a consulting firm for BAM ventures. Both are great organizations. The former provides a forum for people interested in BAM to connect but without direction or oversight on how those connections will happen. The latter helps solve specific problems an individual BAM venture may encounter, but once solved, their involvement is finished. In contrast, our goal at MDE is to come alongside a new BAM venture to help them develop their business, and then continue to partner with them. We connect them to a network of volunteers with specific skill sets (i.e., QuickBooks, website design, marketing). These volunteers truly become part of the team.
When I look at a BAMer, I am inspired by their courage to move overseas with their entire family and sink their savings into a new business. Many of them have no previous experience owning or running a small business. Most of the time they don’t even know what they don’t know. Because of their call and commitment to the Savior, they need and deserve our help. As a BAM team manager, I am grateful to be able to support our BAM members all along the way.