At the Clinton Global Initiative in 2012 we launched a campaign to have churches invest in small businesses in their local economy, a program we called 1K Churches at the time. The goal through this work was to galvanize a movement in the faith-based community and engage local churches across the United States to use their assets to strengthen local economies. It continues as a core criterion program, led by Phyllis Anderson.
The idea is powerful: a movement of churches seeking to form faithful economic relationships with local small businesses. The goal is to inspire and equip congregations to invest in in their local communities, building just, faithful, and transformative economic relationships between churches and their communities that reflect what we believe God’s economy to be.
Here is how it could work. A small group from a congregation comes together for a five-session Bible Study. They reflect on new ways to connect their faith with the economy and issues of economic justice in their local communities. They choose a social issue where they feel compelled by their faith to work for change. It could be anything from food security, to immigration, to veterans’ concerns, to the environment, to health. The Bible study ends in action, with the group making a small loan ($500 to $5000) to a small business in their community that advances the mission concern they have identified. Faithful reflection continues as the group lives into a respectful and caring relationship with the owner of the local business they have chosen. This experience changes how people think about their commercial transactions. It gives them courage and confidence to become more active, informed and faithful actors in shaping the economy over time.
Ever since we started this work, we have been creating resources for local congregations to support them in getting started. We also share regular stories and examples from their peers through our monthly newsletter and invite those interested in getting started to engage with us.
Several congregations across the country have partnered with us in this work. Read their stories here.
Ways to Get Involved
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