Rev. John Edgar, pastor and visionary for Church for All People (Columbus, Ohio), led a breakout session about the “Divine economy of abundance.” Beginning with a “free store” in a marginalized community, the Church for All People has grown into a community development organization and worshiping community that will complete $50 million in housing redevelopment, effective job training, and revitalization.
“If you build relationships of mutuality…some folks will realize the motivation for your actions.” Building relationships helps not only serve the community, it also grows the kingdom of God. As a church, listen to the community then plan small things with great impact. Every congregation has the assets to begin to make a difference in their local community.
The main biblical foundation of the divine economy of abundance is that God ordered creation out of abundance, not out of scarcity. God’s plan is to restore abundance. God’s abundance is restored through acts of generosity. God takes our small offerings and does amazing things if we will lean into God’s economy of abundance.
It begins with asset-based community development. Look at what you can do with what you have. Reflective of Bishop Palmer’s Thursday evening message, “what do we have that we have not received?” Every faith community has the resources to take the next obedient step if they will take the time to discover what assets are in the church. Ministry that matters begins with the “loaves and fishes” of our lives. Assemble what you have, however small, and then take the first faithful step.
Key points Rev. Edgar listed:
1. This happens inside of God’s plan, God’s economy of abundance.
2. There are two assets that faith-based Christians bring to the table: God’s spirit and power is with you and the people of God are available to do something. These two combined are where you begin to “build the front porch to the Kingdom of God.”
3. Start small, beginning with who is available and who is willing. Great things have small beginnings.
4. Continually look for the next set of partners, which allows you to build and grow over time. So often there are resources available if we keep our eyes open and do research to find those with similar callings.
Consider your assets: Hand, Head, Heart
Hand—What physical skills do your members have that they would be willing to teach others (ex. carpentry, cooking, photography, painting, repair, etc.)?
Head—What knowledge do your members have in particular that can be utilized (child development, health care, history of the neighborhood, etc.)?
Heart—What are the passions of your members? What stirs them to action? What would your church attempt if they knew they could not fail?
Once you begin to have people list what they are “good at,” you quickly discover solutions and strategies to take the next faithful step.