Am I Truly Loving People? Thoughts on Holistic Community Development

Jesus' Economy model wearing aluminum cuff bracelet

I regularly wonder if I truly love people. Am I living the entire message of the gospel or just part of it? I think this is one of the most important question Christians should ask.

If I don’t have an income, how will I have time to do anything but survive? If I suffer each day from malnutrition or waterborne illnesses, how will I have time to do anything but pray for salvation from my situation? I may want to serve "the one who saves" but it will be very difficult for me to do so if I am praying for salvation from my daily circumstances.

Living Holistic Community Development

The idea of truly loving people is why we here at Jesus’ Economy have a holistic model. In each developing world community we serve, we address business issues, spiritual problems, and the needs of a community. We do this through church grants, microloans, and the meeting of basic needs. Our church planters also engage directly with those receiving microloans and business training. This allows for us to bring biblical ethics into business to alleviate corruption.

In addition, we create jobs by providing an online fair trade shop. Through our shop, we not only buy products from artisans from around the world, we also buy products from the people receiving microloans through our holistic projects. We complete the economic cycle by also becoming the guaranteed buyer.

See the Full-Size Infographic about our Holistic Model

This Idea Could Change Our Entire World

I often wonder if we all practiced loving a whole person, not just their need, how our world would change? And I am not just talking about you donating to Jesus' Economy here; I am talking about truly engaging in relationship with other people, to empower them to overcome the spiritual (a lack of living fully for Jesus) and physical poverty (a lack of resources and access to them) they're facing.

The Holistic Model in Practice in Bihar, India

In the instance of our Renew Bihar, India project, we're practicing our holistic model, because we want to see hope, hearts, and home renewed. 

Here's how it will work. 18 church planters will receive grants and 18 water wells being drilled in the same regions those planters are serving. In addition, 40 women will be empowered to develop products for the western market—by receiving business training and microloans if they so desire.

With the knowledge of how to develop a product for the western market, these women will then be able to expand the businesses they own and hire others. We will become their buyer at the end of the microloan cycle to further jumpstart their business and economy—we will then sell those products to you right in our fair trade shop and reinvest any profit.

We will also establish a medical clinic for the impoverished. We’re creating jobs and churches, while meeting basic needs.

Living the Change We Want to See

I want to have the same level of care I have for the people of Bihar with everyone I meet, every day. How can I empower them to live for Jesus? How can you do the same?

God Loves the Whole Person

I believe that God cares as much about a person’s daily income as he does their spirituality, because work life is connected to spiritual life. Above that, work itself is spiritual—everything we do is. We may not acknowledge it, but every decision we make affects others, in some way or another—either by what we are doing or by what we aren’t doing.

God loves a whole person—not just the person when they’re praying, or when they're going to church, but also when they’re living the rest of their life. Our aim here at Jesus’ Economy is to do the same.

John Barry
John Barry


CEO, President, and Founder of Jesus' Economy. John is the author/coauthor of 12 books and General Editor of Faithlife Study Bible and Lexham Bible Dictionary.