It is easy to get so caught up with our own problems that we neglect to notice the needs of other people. Giving changes this. It makes us hopeful. It changes our perspective. It makes our problems seem manageable.
Paul the apostle recognized the power of giving to change our perspective on life:
"The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:6–8 NRSV).
The key to changing our world starts with you and it starts with me. It requires generosity. And when we give generously, we may just find that the gift returns to us in the form of joy, a renewed perspective, and a deeper relationship with Jesus.
When I think of the power of giving, I come back to how the founding of Jesus' Economy has changed my life. I'm a completely different kind of Christian because of this cause of creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Jesus, by his grace, has shown me how generosity is a gift to my life. It has renewed and strengthened my faith. It has also brought me immense joy, as I have seen God work through the efforts of Jesus' Economy to renew communities.
People around the globe are in desperate need of our help. They’re suffering from issues outside of their control, but many that are changeable. When we walk alongside them, we can create opportunity out of these seemingly hopeless situations. We can find, and offer, solutions. I believe that now more than ever.
We live in an interconnected world with incredible possibility: We have an opportunity to bring goodness and peace to the lives of others. There is a better future ahead for all of humanity, if we make it possible. What if the future could look different than the trajectory humanity is currently on? What would you want it to look like?
I want to see love, peace, and hope. I desire to see poverty alleviated, so that people can live freely and with purpose—so that they can accomplish good for other people in the world. I long for Jesus to become a major part of people’s lives, because I know the difference he has made in my life and the lives of others. I want to watch transformation in ethics and lifestyles occur. I want to see entire communities renewed. How about you?*
*This article is adapted in part from my earlier article, "What Does a Better World Look Like to You?"
Around this time of year, organizations send you a summary of your giving from the past year. Why are those receipts so boring? Shouldn't our giving be the most exciting thing we do? This year at Jesus' Economy, we're reinventing donation summaries by including a graphical report made custom for you.
We already send donation receipts via email, which you get immediately when you give on JesusEconomy.org. We also go the extra mile to send an annual donation summary to each donor via physical mail or digitally. But this year we're sending a custom report to all donors who have given over $500 to Jesus' Economy since our launch in 2012.
We believe that you should be able to see the impact of your giving. That's why we've done the math to help you measure your contribution to making the world a better place.
Everyone who gave to Jesus' Economy in 2018 will receive a digital donation summary next week, by March 8, 2019. This is in addition to the giving receipts you already received via email when you first donated; we send this summary for your convenience. For all who have given over $500 to Jesus' Economy over the course of a lifetime, expect to receive in the mail your custom, graphical report.
Thank you for creating a legacy of generosity. Thanks to you, the movement of Jesus' Economy is making our world a better place.
It’s the Christmas season! It’s time to snuggle under a blanket with loved ones, with a cup of hot cocoa, a roaring fire, and all things peppermint. Along with the warmth and cheer of the season, it is also a time of reflection and generosity. Many seek out ways to bless others. After all, there are so many blessings to celebrate. Searching for the best ways to spread Christmas cheer, meet real needs, and honor Christ can be surprisingly difficult.
In our desire to be generous, one of those difficulties comes from weighing the many opportunities available. Some organizations have done wonderful jobs of marketing their opportunities and making them accessible. I think of the bell ringers for Salvation Army, shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, toy donations through Toys for Tots, donating animals and sponsoring children through Compassion International, and sponsoring children for Christmas through Angel Tree. And these are just a few off the top of my head.
With all of the available options, do we share our time and money locally or internationally? What organizations, people, or ministries do we want to focus on? An added factor for parents is finding opportunities that provide tangible and visual examples that children will remember. Our desire is to help instill the tradition of generosity in our children’s hearts. In a culture that screams “more!” we want our children’s hearts to instead sing “give!” This alone can be hard enough to sort through.
Another difficulty that has gained more attention lately is gifts or donations not meeting real needs. This is not a new problem, but one that donors are thankfully becoming more aware of. Although impoverished families may appreciate the temporary joy brought by small toys, toothbrushes, clothing, or even gifts of food, their underlying problems are not addressed. If their children are still dying from water-borne illnesses and their parents from medical conditions, then toys, warm blankets, or even food, will not save their lives. From an economic standpoint, providing temporary aid can create dependency and lower self-esteem. Recipients may become depressed and unmotivated.
Providing aid for impoverished countries can unfortunately be met with corruption within locals and their governments. Tejvan Pettinger, an Economics teacher in Oxford, writes a blog about economics, the developing world, and how aid can disrupt local governments.
“Aid is often subject to vested interests and fails to make real improvements in living standards,” he said in a post titled “Trade not Aid.”
He said that aid can interfere with democracy and referenced Milton Friedman’s Collection of Essays in Public Policy, “Foreign Economic Aid: Means and Objectives,” where Friedman said “many proponents of foreign aid recognize that its long-run political effects are adverse to freedom and democracy.”
In the same post, Pettinger gives an example of how foreign aid can be detrimental for a developing country rather than helpful.
“If aid finances public health care, governments in developing economies may feel they don’t need to set up efficient tax collection and spend money - as they can rely on foreign aid. This is damaging for the long-term,” he said in the post.
The last difficulty I would like to focus on is the lack of financial transparency within organizations like nonprofits and charitable organizations. It can be nerve-wracking to donate money both overseas and domestically, especially if you aren’t sure exactly where your money is going or how it will be used. Some organizations face corruption within the countries they are serving. Far too often, when donations arrive on site, they can be taken by criminals, and governments or people in need may be forced to pay high fees to get the aid meant for them.
Another thing we are wary of is high overhead costs. When an organization’s donations go to highly paid staff members or extravagant fundraisers, donors can be discouraged, and people may not receive the help they need. Websites like charitynavigator.org exist to keep charitable organizations accountable and to make consumers aware of exactly where their donations are going.
With all of these things to consider, I would like to share why my family is choosing to serve through Jesus’ Economy. Jesus’ Economy takes a holistic approach to community development. We provide a platform for artisans in impoverished countries to showcase their handmade goods. 100 percent of the proceeds are reinvested in the artisans’ communities.
The artisans are provided with jobs, hope, better futures, and self-esteem. Jesus’ Economy partners with local organizations to meet basic needs and support church planters in the impoverished communities that the artisans live. We offer microloans, ethical business training, and we are the guaranteed buyer of products produced. We meet basic needs by identifying with local community leaders the most pressing issues and help solve them. We have successfully dug seven water wells in Bihar, India providing access to clean water for thousands of people.
You may be wondering how an organization can reinvest 100 percent of their proceeds. The answer is simple. Jesus’ Economy is 100 percent volunteer run. Even the founder and CEO, John Barry, and his wife Kalene, who serves as the CPO, volunteer full time. They sold their home and most of their stuff to start Jesus’ Economy, and live incredibly sacrificial lives to run it. I have volunteered with Jesus’ Economy for five years, and I have the utmost respect for our team. I can attest to the fact that every dollar donated goes directly to the designated destination. Donors can indicate which specific aspect of the ministry they would like to give to.
If you are a parent, you may be wondering how this opportunity translates into a hands-on giving project to include your children. I offer two suggestions.
As a family, we began purchasing items from the Fair Trade Shop. My children got to pick presents for aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors, and teachers. When they arrived, we wrapped and delivered them. Rather than giving trinkets from the store, we provided jobs. We talked about the items, marveled at the intricacy, and prayed for the artisan families that would be blessed by our purchases. We also prayed that the recipients would be blessed and perhaps challenged to consider making similar choices.
A second suggestion is picking a specific aspect of the ministry, and asking that your loved ones donate to that cause in your name. Last Christmas, our family asked that loved ones donate in our names toward a water well in Bihar, India. We made a chart and cheered together when donations came in. We also did several water related science experiments and crafts to drive home the focus on clean water in their minds. We were thrilled that it was fully funded! We made charts and celebrated each time a donation was received.
Essentially it comes down to conversation and involving your kids in every aspect. If you walk them through it and let them be intricately involved, they’ll grasp the importance of helping others and see the results. They’ll also get the chance to be excited about being generous which can be hard for kids at Christmas time when everything is geared toward them and their Christmas wish lists.
There are many other organizations with similar models, and I encourage you to look into them. Leslie Verner, author of the blog Scraping Raisins, has compiled a wonderful list of ethical companies. I highly encourage you to look into some of them. In the meantime, perhaps you can think about some of the difficulties I presented when you choose where you volunteer your time, efforts, and money this season. Maybe it’ll help you to better figure out where your donation will help the most, leaving you with full confidence that your dollar went where you want it to.
I hope you have a blessed season in which you embrace the old adage, “It is more blessed to give than to receive!”
John Barry here, CEO of Jesus' Economy. It's that time of year: Christmas is wrapped up and you're thinking about donating once more before 2017 is over. Here are seven very good reasons to choose Jesus' Economy for year-end giving.
With Jesus' Economy, you can choose your passion and have 100% of your giving go where you designate. This means you can donate to a developing world project and 100% will go straight to the developing world, specifically for that project. Our Operations Fund is what makes all this possible. For year-end giving, consider fueling the movement of Jesus' Economy by giving to our Operations Fund.
We post all of our financials online; GuideStar gave us a Gold rating for transparency. We also connect you to the real stories of what your donations are doing in the field by posting reports from the field on our blog regularly and sending out annual reports.
We've developed technology that makes it possible for you to shop fair trade and give in the same place, in the same transaction. And that's just the beginning of the ways we're innovating to make it easy for you to empower others.
We're innovating to solve global poverty by using a new model and leveraging technology. We believe that the spiritual and physical health of a community are interwoven. That's why we create jobs, plant churches, and meet basic needs at the same time.
Currently, Jesus' Economy operates on an all-volunteer staff. You read that right. And my wife Kalene and I literally sold our house and nearly everything we own to further this movement. We will never ask you to do something we haven't done ourselves.
In Northeast India, we're bringing the gospel to unreached people groups, people who have never heard the name of Jesus before. In the same region, we're also meeting basic needs, such as clean water and literacy training. One of the most impoverished places in the world is being renewed through Jesus' love in word and deed.
Every time you give and shop with Jesus' Economy, you're being part of the solution to the problems our world is facing. You're joining a movement of people who have chosen this innovative solution and are collectively changing our world, for the better.
Jesus' Economy is nimble and innovative, resulting in a big impact per dollar. We're leveraging our interconnected world for the good of the global poor and unreached. And I want you to be a part of it.
A huge part of the vision of Jesus’ Economy for holistic community transformation is creating churches by providing grants. Planting churches in Bihar, India is a vital part of renewing the community in the name of Jesus. When the gospel of Jesus Christ is learned and experienced through the ministry of a church community, lives are transformed.
Did you know that your small group, Bible study, or life group could be a part of this effort? By collectively sponsoring a church planter, you can support the formation of a spiritual community from across the globe. Through Jesus' Economy several small groups have supported renewing communities; now we're making it even easier for you to do the same.
We currently sponsor four church planters who work in different villages throughout Northern India. Rahul, Santhosh, Veer, and Advik are each dedicated to bringing the gospel to unreached people, to those who have never heard the name of Jesus. It only costs $226 per month to support a church planter. In a small group of eight people, it would cost each person less than $30 a month to sponsor one of our church planters’ monthly salary and expenses. The monthly amount also includes the administrative costs of our partner organization in India, which provides ongoing training, accountability, and infrastructure to the planters.
Here's how we're making it easy. Your small group can automatically give each month, by selecting monthly giving. With Jesus' Economy, you can set the sponsorship up once with someone's credit card and then collect the funds each month at your group; we will automatically charge the credit on file. Or, if you each want your own individual receipts, you can each commit monthly in a smaller amount to sponsoring the same church planter. Collectively, that church planter will be supported by your small group, Bible study, or life group. You will have brought the gospel to the unreached.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians about the beauty of church to church generosity. Encouraging the Corinthian church to fulfill their commitment to help the impoverished church in Jerusalem, he says:
“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:12–15 NIV)!
Paul declares that a donation is not only helpful for those who receive it, but also prompts others to praise God. He then connects the “indescribable gift,” that is Jesus, to the gift of generosity. As God has been generous to us through providing Jesus, so we should be generous to others.
The efforts of people supporting church planters in Bihar have led to us praising God! Here are some beautiful stories of transformation already happening in Bihar because of the partnership between church planters and those who have chosen to support their ministry.
People in Bihar are encountering the love and healing of Jesus for the first time ever. Their lives are changing as they choose to trust God. People are being baptized and churches are being formed. God is working through Rahul, Santhosh, Veer, and Advik—and he can also work through you.
Click below to sponsor individual planters and read their stories:
Please prayerfully consider supporting one of our church planters with your small group today.
Do you draw a complete blank when people ask, "So, what do you want for your birthday?" Are you feeling like you want to give back but just aren't sure how? Birthday dedications are for you!
Birthday dedications to a cause are an effective way to alleviate poverty and plant churches. Our projects like Renew Bihar are supported by donations efforts such as this. It's one of the the best ways you can make an impact in the remote villages in Bihar, India.
Your family and friends can donate money toward creating jobs, planting churches, or meeting basic needs. It's completely customizable. You can choose where you want the funds to go and your gift giver can choose the amount they want to give. 100% goes to the cause.
To dedicate your birthday, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And your birthday doesn't have to be soon to do so, you can pledge your birthday now and we will email you closer to the date.
You can either have a simple photo on your birthday dedication page, create an eye-catching meme, or come up with a video that gets people watching and donating.
Here are some videos and images of people who've dedicated their birthday in the past.
Playing on a pun, Kati Clair ... See Kati's birthday's dedication here.
Our Founder, John D. Barry, ... . See John's birthday dedication here.
Dedicate your birthday to a cause. Email us at email@example.com.
Update April 4, 2015: We have now met this goal, thanks to you and God's incredible work. Learn more about our March 2015 campaign below. Learn more about church planting in Bihar, India here.
Our two church planters in Bihar, India are up for their second year of funding. They have been doing incredible work providing access to the gospel, in an area where millions have never heard the name of Jesus. But here's the deal: We're $3,000 short on making the total we need for this grant.
To help us hit this goal, an anonymous donor is willing to give up to $1,500 to match each dollar you donate. So if you give $1, it equals $2. Donate $25 to church planting now by clicking here. I tell you more in this VLOG.
Join us in providing access to the gospel. Renew hope in Bihar, India.
By having achieved our goal, our matching grant has now been met and donated, but you're still welcome to give. We have other church planters who are in need of funding, and there are still millions in Bihar who have never heard the name of Jesus.
It's Giving Tuesday, a day when we celebrate generosity in the U.S. Here are four innovative ways that you can be generous today.
Let's celebrate the fact that Jesus' currency is love! Let's be generous. Let's transform lives. Let's make our world a better place together.
We use every dollar exactly as you intend. This means that if you donate $100 towards a sewing machine in Bihar, India—for a training center—we ensure that a full $100 goes towards that sewing machine. We don’t take operations costs out of that $100 or credit card fees—we send the full $100.
With Jesus' Economy, your money always goes where you designate. And as you can imagine, we have some pretty complex accounting to make this happen. But because of the technology we use, we can track every dollar as it is donated—and ensure it goes exactly where you intend.
But here’s the catch. We still have other expenses. And at this point, I don’t mean salaries.
Currently, our entire leadership team donates their time, that includes Kalene Barry (our Chief Projects Officer) and myself (CEO). Down the road, we will have regular employees, but currently we do not.
Our Operations Fund goes towards things like contract services, flying to project sites, and new product purchases at fair trade prices. The Operations Fund covers credit card fees and maintaining our website. It takes care of travel expenses, and event fees. It is a large part of how we do what we do.
We use the Operations Fund to invest in growing our network, structure, and telling the story of Jesus' Economy. Its how we tell the story of artisans around the globe and develop projects like Renew Bihar, India. Our Operations Fund allows for us to make the world a better place. Investing in the Operations Fund is investing in the future of Jesus' Economy.
We make your money go where you plan for it to go. Today, I would love for you to consider donating towards the Operations’ Fund.
Thank you for considering donating towards the Operations of Jesus’ Economy. Without it, we wouldn’t be here.