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1K Churches, through Criterion Institute and its partners, is on a mission to radically impact the lives of our neighbors, the health of our communities, and the strength of our economy. Through engaging in the process of investing in microbusinesses in the local community, churches will explore their individual and institutional roles as economic actors.

By 2017, we aim to have churches across the United States investing in their local communities through microloans. Through prayer and discernment, churches will discover their roles as economic beings and participants in the local economy.

Churches will have collective, theologically grounded experiences of understanding themselves in the context of their economic relationships. And they will be better equipped to understand their call as an economic being, to make choices about how they want to participate in the economy and to define their roles in creating God’s economy.

Core Principles of 1K Churches

Christian – We are intentionally and explicitly Christian, in order to be focused, not exclusive.

Richly Diverse – We are committed to working with evangelical, mainline and Catholic communities, and to attending to language and assumptions that would exclude.

Welcoming – We use language and positioning that welcomes churches in all contexts, and are intentionally building the community and the support systems so that all can participate.

Easy to Engage – We are providing “plug and play” models, along with access to existing financial intermediaries and infrastructure, so that churches will not feel pressured to become experts.

Volunteer-Led – We rely minimally on paid staff or consultants, and providing online tools to support discernment and implementation led by volunteers within congregations and partner organizations.

Local & Connected – We seek to enable congregations to focus on their unique local contexts. At the same time, we are building a national community of leaders and facilitate shared experience across the 1000 churches.

Adaptable – We have created a range of choices that can be adapted across mission concerns and risk appetites.


Criterion Institute, 501(c)(3) 81 Church Hill Rd · Haddam, CT 06438 860-345-3520 (main) · info@criterioninstitute.org ©2023, all rights reserved.

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