The Holy Currencies Incubator provides an opportunity for congregations to develop initiatives that work alongside their neighbors to create healthy communities for all. The process teaches the six currencies that need to flow to build a sustainable and shared ministry. Churches often focus on the three currencies of Time and Place, Money, and Gracious Leadership. However, without the additional currencies of Wellness, Truth, and Relationship, ministries are not fully missional or sustainable.
“A missional and sustainable church invests its currencies of time and place and leadership to relationship-building outside the existing membership, and only by doing so will the church be able to listen and advocate for the truth in the wider community,” says the Rev. Eric Law, Founder and Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Institute and creator of Holy Currencies. “Developing these two currencies – relationship and truth – externally will ultimately assist the wider community in which the church resides to achieve wellness. When the community is well, people will contribute money to support the continuing church ministry, making the church financially sustainable.”
The six congregations participating in EHF’s third cohort of Holy Currencies and their continued work give shape and context to a variety of examples of missional and sustainable community ministries. These teams began developing their ministries last September and have all fostered significant community partnerships:
- St. James Episcopal Church, La Grange is utilizing Holy Currencies to re-boot their already successfully partnered thrift store. The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey flooded the store. As they are re-building on higher ground, they plan to become an economic engine for Fayette County and continue their partnership with the local food bank.
- St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Livingston continues to focus on mental health and has become a community-leading voice alongside the Polk County Sheriff’s Department, the Livingston Housing Authority and the Polk County Community Resource Coordination Group. Their immediate goal is to bring mental health awareness and training to the public, with a long-term vision for a caregiver’s ministry and a transportation co-op.
- St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Liberty has developed partnerships with Liberty ISD, a yoga studio, a health clinic and others who share a vision to provide a public space for gathering and wellness.
- St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Bryan has deepened their partnership with Title 1 Neal Elementary to pilot a Parent’s Academy that focuses on family connection and wellness. Because they already had a relationship with the school, the principal and the parents knew they could trust the church to be with them beyond the scheduled gatherings.
- Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, Austin has expressed a desire to repeat the Holy Currencies Incubator with a larger team. They continue to learn more about their community and how their existing food pantry ministry can move beyond supplying groceries to identify and target the root causes of poverty and isolation.
- St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Hearne is focused on engaging and energizing their city by asking questions and celebrating all that is right with Hearne. In EHF’s previous Congregational Connection, The Rev. Nandra Perry shared the story of how they are listening to their neighbors and partnering with the city.
Learn more about Holy Currencies and how your church can participate
The fourth EHF/KI-partnered cohort of congregations will begin their work in the fall of 2019. Applications are now open and available on the Fall 2019 Holy Currencies information page.
The six-month intensive incubation begins with an in-person two-day orientation, followed by multiple instructional webinars over the following six months. The webinars include peer-to-peer sharing of progress, challenges and successes.
The congregations who have benefited the most are the teams who work together weekly and follow through on the assignments.
“Our work with Holy Currencies has helped our outreach and relationships with Neal Elementary to be more strategic, go much deeper, and have greater impact,” said The Rev. Matt Stone of St. Andrew’s in Bryan. “We no longer start with what we think would help. Now we start by deep listening and getting to know our neighbors, so we can work together to build a stronger community.”
At the end of the cohort, teams will have developed their ministry plan for a sustainable community ministry.