Last week, I wrote an article for OnFaith about God’s abundant economy and how we live into that as churches.
If this article captures your imagination, you can read the full chapter on Abundance from the Slow Church book online as part of the free Slow Church sampler.
How Churches Are Finding Abundance in Hard Economic Times
Facing declining tithes and offerings, some churches are discovering the power of their theological imagination.
by C. Christopher Smith
Recent years have been hard economically for churches, especially small ones. Many churches are cutting staff and programs or even closing because of lack of resources. But while all of these cost-cutting measures deal with the expense side of the ledger, some creative churches, are finding abundance by imagining and then implementingways of increasing their income.
The success of these churches hinges on a fundamental shift from a mindset of scarcity to one of abundance. Scarcity is one of the basic axioms of all major economic systems (especially capitalism); we are trained to live and act as if there are not enough resources to go around. Abundance, on the other hand, is the conviction that that the world has enough resources to sustain itself. In the Christian tradition, abundance is a theological conviction that God provides for creation to flourish in the manner for which it was created.
Speaking of scarcity or abundance in this way is an assumption about the nature of the entire universe, not particular places within it. Specific places do experience real abundance or real scarcity, and such experiences do not necessarily disprove our convictions about the nature of the whole universe. For Christians who believe in abundance, situations of scarcity are striking reminders that the world is not functioning as God intended and that evils such as greed and injustice persist.