HOPE is for More Than the Hereafter
By Tom Bassford
Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup wrote these words in his 2011 book, “The Coming Jobs War”:
The primary will of the world is no longer about peace or freedom or even democracy; it is not about having a family, and it is neither about God nor about owning a home or land. The will of the world is first and foremost to have a good job. Everything else comes after that. A good job is a social value. That is a huge sociological shift for humankind. It changes everything about how people lead countries, cities, and organizations.
His conclusion is not a “hunch” or some kind of intuitive insight on the human condition but rather the early results of the Gallup World Poll that he designed as a way to give the world’s 7 billion citizens a voice in virtually all key global issues. He goes on to write:
If you were to ask me, from all the world polling Gallup has done for more than 75 years, what would fix the world — what would suddenly create worldwide peace, global wellbeing, and the next extraordinary advancements in human development, I would say the immediate appearance of 1.8 billion jobs.
There is something here for the church to take note of if it wants to become an answer to the biggest question the world is asking,” How can I get a job?” The best of the “Business as Mission” (BAM) movement is about that very thing. And why shouldn’t church missions evolve and step into this space the same way we did in medicine and education? At these critical junctures in human history there has always been those whose faith is so bifurcated they will argue the church should stay out of such secular nonsense. I’m glad we didn’t with education and medicine and equally glad we seem to be stepping into this space as well. After all, what is more sustainable and “dignity giving” than a job whereby a person can provide for the needs of their own family?
One ministry that has stepped into this space and developed a model combining relief efforts with job creation is the Oklahoma based ministry Water4. They are “in the business of obliterating the world water crisis” by training “local entrepreneurs to start their own businesses, drill their own wells, and bring water to their own communities.” Take a look at Water4’s CEO, Ray Sanders SATtalk from last year.
It’s efforts like this that clearly show that with financial resources, subject matter expertise and relentless resolve the church can develop ways to turn what has traditionally been pure relief into something that is self-sustaining and even job-creating. Water4’s model helps tackle the need without creating dependency by focusing on entrepreneurs and then providing them with the opportunity, the training and the access to necessary capital to start a business. It’s not about eradicating poverty…it’s about creating the conditions for human flourishing and allowing people to lift themselves out of poverty.
Another ministry that is taking this overall approach is HOPE International. They are investing in the dreams of over 900,000 people worldwide by providing Christ-centered financial services to the tune of $51 million dollars. They do it through Savings and Credit Associations (SCA’s) and Microfinance Institutions (MFI’s) which enable people to start small businesses and begin to lift themselves out of poverty.
Here is the church stepping into the space Jim Clifton was writing about in “The Coming Jobs War” and providing discipleship, biblically based training, a safe place to save, and small loans that empower people to start businesses. And those businesses make it possible for them to provide for their families and give back to their communities.
Why focus on providing financial services instead of the more traditional ways the church has tried to serve the poor? Because like a growing number of others in church missions ,HOPE International believes all men and women are created in the image of God, with unique abilities, creativity, and dreams. What they lack is not another hand-out but rather access to basic financial services that could help them invest their talents, save for the future and provide for their own.
If you’re interested in learning more about how employment-based solutions are empowering men and women to move from poverty to flourishing you can download a FREE COPY of Created to Flourish, co-authored by Peter Greer, HOPE’s president and CEO.
To be sure, microfinance and savings are not the final word on this matter of job creation. Our efforts must eventually move us into the more difficult and costly realm of small to medium enterprises (SME’s) which I plan to write more on in a future article. But for now, one of the most positive steps a church could take with its mission work is to find partners like HOPE International who are effectively helping those on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder begin to climb out. As a ministry they are providing people with a HOPE not just for the hereafter but for the here and now as well.
HOPE International to present at SATtalks – October 6-7, 2016
On Thursday and Friday of this week (October 6-7, 2016) we will be having our 3rd annual SATtalks and we are pleased to have Christine Baingana with HOPE International as one of our presenters. Christine serves as the Business Development Director for HOPE International and lives in Kigali, Rwanda. She graduated with a master’s in public administration (MPA) from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 2010. Her professional background includes over 20 years of experience providing financial services in the private sector as well as corporate management. For the past six years she has focused her time and talents in micro-economic development. She is passionate about serving families living in poverty and seeing the church equipped to holistically serve its members.
SATtalks is a two-day TED Talk type of event for people interested in sustainable solutions through church missions. Presenters give their best 18-minute talk to a live audience about what they’re doing and learning, what’s working and what’s not, followed by a time for Q&A and plenty of opportunity to network with other like-minded people.
Click Here to Register for SATtalks
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