What would God’s economy look like?
Church as an Economic Being Initiative:
Fragmentation and poverty within our economic systems is unparalleled. It’s clear that we need new solutions and better systems. And the good news is, we have an opportunity to create economic systems that will sustain our world. The church is already a conduit in market systems – owning properties, receiving and distributing philanthropy, stewarding investment assets. Over time, the church has been at the center of building international development, microfinance, and healthcare systems. But now, we are not only asked to be sound economic beings, but financial change-agents as well. But how do we do this? How do we transform our economic relationships in order to reflect our belief that this is God’s world, and therefore, God’s economy?
Building the movement:
While this work has been part of Criterion’s overall portfolio throughout the past 10 years, 2011 marked the development of a focused project with a dedicated team. In May 2011, we held our first Convergence on church – and the community around this work grew and was strengthened, including people affiliated with seminaries, venture funds, faith-based social change and entrepreneurship, theology, and denominational leadership. Criterion has stepped into a leadership role to help the church re-imagine our economic relationships, to translate and bridge this gap between church and the economy and to re-frame questions in order to find solutions.
2013 sees the initiative further developing – with a focus on imagination – reimagining the possibilities for church living out its call as an economic being – and on the intermediation necessary to bring those possibilities to life. We will expand our imagination when we convene again for the third church Convergence, March 11-13, 2013.
Church as an Economic Being plays two roles in this space. We are the coordinator of this movement, bringing together its leading voices in a continued dialogue about re-imagining the overlaps of church and finance. We are also conducting our own exploration of re-imagination and running a signature Church as an Economic Being project called 1K Churches.
Church as an Economic Being is deeply rooted in our values of grace, hospitality and invitation. We invite you to join us in this work and on this journey – and would love to hear more about where you see a fit. Stay tuned for information on 2013 volunteer opportunities.