The word “currency” comes from the Latin meaning “to run or flow.” In English Merriam-Webster.com defines currency as “something that is in circulation as a medium of exchange.”
In my work with parishes over the years and based on research, I discovered and named six currencies—media of exchange—that are essential for a church to thrive. They are:
Time and Place, Gracious Leadership, Relationship, Truth, Wellness, and Money.
This dynamic approach to being church requires the flowing of these six currencies around the circle, inward to renew and strengthen internal relationships and increasing gracious leadership capacity, and outward to connect, discern the truth and foster wellness in the wider community. Lack of awareness of the importance of all six currencies has caused many churches to run into financial trouble. For example, if a church uses the time of volunteers and paid staff to provide wellness to their members only and members are then expected to give money to maintain the place—the building—and continue to pay the staff, this church, using only three of the six currencies, is not going to be sustainable or missional.
For a church to be sustainable and missional, the currencies of time and place and leadership must engage in relationship-building outside the existing membership, and only by doing so will they be able to listen to and advocate for the truth in the wider community. Developing these two currencies—relationship and truth—will ultimately assist the wider community to achieve wellness. When the community is well, people will contribute money to support the continuing church ministry, making the church financially sustainable.
Learning how to develop, access and “flow” these currencies are essential skills that members of the church must have in order for the church to be sustainable and missional.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Circling through earth so all may grow
Vanquishing fear so all may give
Widening grace so all may live
By the Rev. Canon Eric H. F. Law
Executive Director, Kaleidoscope Institute
Diocese of Los Angeles
For more information, read Holy Currencies and Holy Currency Exchange by Eric H. F. Law. For training and workshop on Holy Currencies, see: www.kscopeinstitute.org