By Joey Avellana, BCBP President, BCBP Makati member
The Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP) is a Catholic Charismatic Lay Organization that was founded in 1980 by Fr. Herbert Schneider S.J. Initially an outreach of the Ligaya ng Panginoon charismatic community, the BCBP was formed to address the evangelization of the business community, long regarded as a breeding ground of corruption and unfair and exploitative business practices.
The BCBP finds inspiration in the social teachings of the Church and in the Book of Genesis, where God created the world for everyone, not just for a few, to enjoy. Thus in the BCBP, we find men and women, businessmen and professionals all, who work tirelessly as “stewards” of God’s creation and goodness, trying to “spread the word” to all, and hopefully, in action, become agents of “spreading the wealth” to all.
From the first breakfast in Makati in July of 1980, the BCBP has grown to become a potent agent of change in the centers of businesses all over the Philippines where we have close to 95 chapters, 40 Outreaches and 45 missions. The community likewise has established missions internationally, with 14 in the U.S., 4 in Canada, and 5 in Asia. Today the BCBP number 20,000 in all, committed men and women in the service of Jesus Christ in the Marketplace.
Through the BCBP weekly breakfast, businessmen and professionals come together to fellowship and experience the awesome transformative power of Jesus Christ, through the life testimony of a brother or sister in the community whose life has been changed by the Lord. This inspires us to do the same, to change our lives according to the gospel values espoused by and exemplified to us by our Savior and role model, Jesus Christ.
Our BCBP community’s way of life, our behavior and business practices, most especially in our work place and in our homes, are modeled after such ideals as charity, compassion, fairness, transparency and equity for all.
Businesses of today are slowly becoming aware of the need to redirect the purpose of the enterprise– to create a new paradigm, if you wish — to go beyond just PROFIT as the reason for businesses to exist. Modern management theory augurs that PEOPLE are the greatest assets of any enterprise, and that addressing their needs make for better business. Higher wages, better benefits, a cleaner workplace, convenient work schedules that can be adjusted to the needs of the workers to have a better balance of work and home life (amidst the great Filipino phenomenon we call traffic!) are some issues the manager today has to deal with.
In the larger context, our businesses are being challenged to do more, to “give back” more. Some pragmatic themes being raised today include — sensitivity to the environment, the use of cleaner and greener technologies and materials, such as bio-degradables and even green power. And in the area of social equity, firms are being asked to show compassion to the poorest of the poor, by adopting programs that demonstrate a firm’s social conscience through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
Thus, to become effective agents of change in the marketplace, we conduct Market Evangelization Programs for companies all over the country. We regularly conduct Brotherhood Christian Businessmen’s Retreats for our members. We also have various national advocacies– a nationwide BE HONEST campaign that extols the virtue of honesty and integrity.
BCBP also has a community-wide social-action program that brings us to heed the call of the church for preferential options for the poor. We are currently conceptualizing various models for sustainable livelihood projects we can roll out to the poorest of the poor communities so that they can be uprooted from the morass of poverty.
We also create linkages with the other major sectors of society– the government, the business community, the academe and civil society, to work together on programs that promote justice, compassion and inclusivity in our midst.
Over the next hour, we will hear some concrete examples of how our community members in the BCBP comport themselves as “corporate soldiers” of Jesus Christ in the Marketplace, spreading the message of Christ ‘s compassion and mercy, in their daily journey in the Marketplace and in their own social and family lives.
May their stories capture your imagination and lead you to do the same: to strive to be God’s agent of transformation and a vessel and channel of His love and mercy in the workplace everyday.
God bless us all!
Note: Bro Joey’s talk was the first of four talks given by BCBP members during the PCNE Saturday Breakout Session: Mercy in the Marketplace. The other three sharers were: Tito Serafica, Bong Pelaez, and Jun Catan.