On today's Live Your Belief Podcast, Kalene Barry, Chief Projects Officer for Jesus' Economy talks with Victor Momoh, founder of the Sierra Leone branch of Global Missions Africa. His ministry goal is to bring the truth of Jesus to a predominantly Muslim nation and to unleash Africa's potential through the work of the Gospel. Find out how Victor and his team are doing this work. Let the Spirit bless you through their story. Listen below.
Global Missions Africa wants to ensure that Africa is for Jesus. Their pan-African missional efforts aim to reclaim Africa as an inheritance of God's purpose until the Word reaches every nation on the continent. They are currently working in Sierra Leone, Ghana, South Africa, and Madagascar -- ministering the Word, planting churches, training pastors, meeting basic needs, and providing entrepreneurship opportunities. To find out how you can support this great effort, write to Victor at globalmissionsafricasierraleone[at]gmail[dot]com.
Or by mail, write to:
Global Missions Africa, Sierra Leone
7 New Signal Hill Road, Congo Cross
Like our podcasts and blog posts? Never miss a post: Subscribe.
Most of us don't realize it, but it's within our power to transform lives. We can create jobs and we can renew homes. In Bihar, India, one of the most impoverished places in the world, we're working to empower women. In this video, I tell you what we plan to do to renew homes in Bihar, India.
This month at Jesus' Economy is dedicated to women who have empowered others and lifted their families out of poverty, as well as raising awareness about the issues women are facing. Throughout this month, tag @JesusEconomy (or on Facebook: @Jesus' Economy) and use the #EmpowerWomen hashtag to tell us about the women who have empowered you.
Let's celebrate empowering women together!
You’re not going to win “a major award” this Christmas season by simply coasting through the remainder of the year. You have to use your “mind power.” You have to be intentional.
On this sixth day of Christmas, consider what it means to be a disciple of Jesus—to live intentionally for Jesus, in relationship with others who are doing the same.
During Mary’s life, she transitions from raising Jesus to being His disciple. And right there, in the Christmas story, we see foreshadowing of this, with her taking instruction from the angel Gabriel and intentionally surrounding herself with family (including a priest, John the Baptist’s father). She looks to leadership beyond herself—and it’s for this reason, among others, that she is such a saintly figure.
As Christians, we should all surround ourselves with wiser Christians, who have followed Jesus longer than us. In addition, we should have transparent relationships with other Christians—where we admit our shortcomings, failings, and our sins.
We should also all be actively investing in the lives of new Christians, or those simply earlier on the journey than we currently are.
Being a disciple of Jesus means being in constant transition, from one state of living and being to a better one—and that is a beautiful thing.
Our investment in discipleship doesn’t have to be limited just to our local reach—it can also extend globally. To use Jesus’ Economy as an example, we have made training and investment in people a central part of our values, because we believe that it is one of the key ingredients to transformation.
Transformation is what we can all bring to our world, if we are discipled by others and disciple others. Let’s commit today to more and better discipleship: Pray, think, and contemplate how discipleship can be a more integral part of your life.
Want to catch all the posts in this series? Subscribe to our blog.
Jesus' Economy is dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. In 60 seconds, we explain how we plan to do so.
You can help make the world a better place. Donate today:
Thank you for your prayer and support.
(P.S. We've been quieter than usual lately because we've been busy assembling an incredible product line that will fund life transformation. We will let you know as soon as it's ready.)
“When there is no prophecy, the people cast off restraint, but as for he who guards instruction, happiness is his” (Proverbs 29:18 LEB).
The message of this proverb is that without vision, evil ensues. But when vision for a better life is present, happiness can be had.
Prophecy, at its core, is about speaking the truth. Likewise, ethics at their core, are all about truth—they’re guiding principles of truthful and righteous living. One of the regular problems developing world communities face is the need to overcome the general erosion of ethics. In a place where people live in complete desperation—fighting for survival—cheating and corruption often becomes part of general living. In return, good work in communities is regularly compromised: no matter what an organization does, if there is a general ethical problem amongst a people group, their work will eventually be diminished or fail.
Here at Jesus’ Economy we have a vision for overcoming the ethical hurdles we will face in many communities. First, we plan to provide an alternative: ethical (and fair) businesses, which people can work for. In the process of providing this, as well as meeting basic needs, we ask people to be participants in the change taking place in their communities—they’re the ones doing the work, not us; we’re facilitators and funders. Next, we are introducing ethical and leadership training.
Church planters will receive leadership training from Jesus’ Economy’s partners or directly from Jesus’ Economy. They, in return, will help train entrepreneurs in biblical ethics, and by extension, how they can best take care of their employees. In addition, Jesus’ Economy has a fair/direct trade survey and regular reporting that ensures that fair trade standards are being met.
While all this is occurring, Jesus’ Economy is bringing church planters into communities, who are instilling vision in believers in Jesus; these believers will then live a life for Christ. The Christians in the community will provide a better alternative than anything else on offer.
We believe that the vision of these things coming together will provide an overall alternative in communities. It will give people a better way of living—one that honors others and helps them to also take care of themselves.
Just addressing the physical issues in a community is not enough—the spiritual issues must also be addressed.
You can donate to holistic regional transformation here.
Throughout the world, corruption is a problem that perpetually destroys good work. This is especially true in developing world communities, who are already vulnerable to exploitation due to their economically powerless position. Those living in poverty desperately need assistance in alleviating corruption. This assistance very well could come through local churches, but since these churches too are very poor, outside funding—in the form of grants—is needed to turn the plans of churches into action. Here are five ways that healthy churches can make life better for those living in developing world communities. (When I speak about churches, I’m talking about Christian communities of people—not buildings.)
Jesus calls Christians to a higher standard of ethical living than others. The ethics of Christianity are intended to be applied in all situations with all people—loving your neighbor, and thus treating them as Jesus would treat them, is meant to be applied to all people. This baseline view of others can create an ethical baseline for a community.
Healthy church communities create trust-based situations. Christians are also used to training others, since discipleship is part of the model Jesus proposed. These two factors combined, make Christian communities an ideal hub for training and learning for an entire community.
Traditionally, churches have often been first responders to aid and general poverty relief, since it is part of the calling of Christianity to help the poor. Churches are also full of people ready to volunteer their time for the betterment of the lives of others. This can make the meeting of basic needs much easier for an outsider. In addition, the goal should not be for an outsider to do the work, but instead to empower people from a community to meet the needs of their community.
One of the ongoing problems of corruption, especially in poverty relief situations, is the misuse of funding. Healthy churches really get to know, and love, their communities. In the process of doing so, they become sources of truth about communities and their true needs. They also serve as people who can identify who is properly using funding and who is not. In a situation foreign to the Western world investor in a community’s betterment, this is vital to success.
Christians can serve as a hub for bringing accountability to the lives of others. In Jesus’ Economy model, we simultaneously work with entrepreneurs and church planters in the same community. Christian church leaders serve as accountability partners and ethical trainers for the entrepreneurs we help, to ensure that the standards of Jesus’ Economy are held.
Microloans are extremely effective. At one point, they were even believed to be the “silver bullet” for helping others. However, even a great idea can be improved upon. Here are five reasons why a new kind of microloan is needed.
One of the best things about microloans is that a person who receives a loan becomes self-sustaining rather quickly. But, this does not mean that they have moved out of poverty. If one poor tomato farmer sells their product to one poor butcher, the money is just exchanging hands and/or the profit margins are very slim for each. Their lives are significantly better, but not exponentially better. It’s exponential growth that needs to happen in the developing world.
In Western world culture, we wouldn’t dream of launching a product-based business without an online presence. It’s likely that we would even attempt to sell online, perhaps even exclusively. It is not logical to think that a business in the developing world will grow quickly that is not doing the same. By connecting a developing world business to online ecommerce, their business could become big, fast; and that means more jobs.
A product line is stronger when it is exposed to a larger market sector. Typically, the larger your market sector, the better your product needs to be, because there are more demands on your company from consumers. This puts the necessary pressure on a company to become stronger, faster, and thus more sustainable.
If job creation is what microloans are really all about, then being in the business of creating very small (often family) companies is not sufficient. These micro enterprises are not in the position to hire more people; their business model doesn’t allow for it. A business model connected to the Internet would.
A large customer base is necessary for a company to grow rapidly. When many products are brought into one market place, in an elegant way, the amount of buying power of the customer base generally increases. This is part of why Amazon.com is such a successful company. If a set of quality products from the developing world were brought into one place, the customer base would also likely increase, creating a better chance of collective success.
Jesus’ Economy envisions creating a large microloan program with ecommerce in mind. We’re going to supplement this with training of entrepreneurs, including biblical ethics training to ensure that corruption does not destroy the investments we make. We plan to bring together entrepreneurs’ products into one large marketplace—to create a network effect that is good for the fair-trade minded customer and for the businesses. All proceeds will be automatically reinvested in the work of Jesus’ Economy. We believe that this will create economic change in communities; it will create jobs.
From the outside, it can seem like a mystery why certain countries are poor and others are not. However, there are tangible reasons why certain countries remain poor. There are also tangible solutions. This is what Jeffrey Sachs in his book The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities of Our Time explains. Sachs identifies eight reasons why countries fail to have economic growth. I have included four of the reasons from his list here and offered my own explanations of his ideas. The next four will be included in tomorrow’s post.
There is a cycle to poverty: People who are poor lack the “savings” and “capital—
physical, human, and natural”—to overcome poverty. The idea is that poverty itself leaves people in the same circumstances despite their efforts to change them. As much as people may try, there is a barrier in place to becoming wealthy, and that barrier is poverty and its implications upon their daily lives.
The poverty cycle and a solution to it is explained in this infographic.
If the country you live in is full of mountains or deserts, it’s very difficult for proper infrastructure to be created. It’s also problematic to transport goods. This prevents most types of companies from existing.
When a government doesn’t have the necessary resources to create infrastructure, economies struggle to grow. This is the case for many impoverished countries. The physical geography problems, and often the simple infrastructure problems, cannot be overcome because of a lack of financing. This keeps the economy stagnant.
An ineffective government can ruin any economy. This is certainly the case for many governments around the globe, and seems to be especially true in the developing world. There is little the average person can do about this. But there is something.
Jesus’ Economy offers leadership training, accompanied by biblical ethics training, to help overcome some of the barriers of corruption that run through many societies in the developing world. (Corruption in many developing world societies became widespread because it was the only way people knew to survive.) When a group of people begins to live by a higher standard of ethics, others may soon follow. This can produce moral change around the board.
People who live in poverty are not any different than you and me. They just need help overcoming the barriers in their way. Jesus’ Economy offers solutions to many of these problems. Donate today to holistic regional transformation.
“For the first time, their incomes allowed them to decide when to say yes and when to say no. Money is the freedom and confidence of choice. And choice is dignity."
This line from The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between the Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, by Jacqueline Novogratz, the CEO of Acumen Fund, accurately summarizes why financial independence is so critical. Aid alone is insufficient. Help alone just tackles one part of what people in the developing world are up against. We must empower people to live financially independent lives. In the process of doing so, we provide them with dignity.
There are hundreds of answers to poverty, but the answers that provide people with choice are the ones we must focus on. In addition, we must add to the picture God’s work with churches; if we don’t, the incomes being created via our work will not last. (Healthy churches can alleviate corruption by providing biblical ethics to a community.)
Novogratz may not directly identify churches as the answer to many of the issues associated with poverty, but she does make clear that fighting corruption is at the center of alleviating poverty.
“‘Is corruption a cause of poverty?’ I asked Mary one afternoon. ‘Or is poverty a cause of corruption?’ ‘It is both, isn’t it?’ she answered sweetly.”
When we look at the underlying issues associated with poverty in the developing world, we must look at the problems as interconnected. There is no logical chain of events for how poverty begins and what keeps it in place, per se, but there is a logical solution: being holistic in our approach. We know that the web of problems people face in impoverished communities are interconnected. Our solutions to them must also be interconnected.
Jesus’ Economy provides this kind of interconnected plan. We seek to bring the dignity of choice to others through microloans. And we desire to end corruption through healthy churches and biblical ethics training. We want to see the whole person cared for and loved. We believe this is what Jesus would do.
You can bring dignity to the lives of others by donating here. One hundred percent of your donation will go to holistic community development.
(This is part two of three of the “What I Learned from Jacqueline Novogratz” blog series.)