Money, when used well collectively (admittedly, it isn’t always) serves as a currency. Like a current, it flows through communities and creates an economy of care through patterns of giving and receiving.
But money isn’t our only currency.
Years ago, I went to a workshop led by Eric Law. He is an Episcopalian priest, author, and church consultant. The workshop I attended was based on his book, Holy Currencies: Blessings for Sustainable Missional Ministries. That workshop was designed for church contexts, but additionally, I find his way of thinking to be applicable to any organization or community that seeks sustainability in life-giving ways.
Eric Law invites us to think about a variety of currencies as they flow through communities and create patterns of care through sustained giving and receiving. In addition to money, he names these to be especially important for sustainable organizations, communities, and intentional efforts for change:
1) Time and Place
2) Gracious Leadership
These are vital currencies too.
After all, an organization can have all kinds of money, but if it has created a culture where it’s fundamentally unsafe to tell the truth, it’s not life-giving, viable, or sustainable.
Likewise, if a community pursues financial resources to the detriment of wellness, it causes harm rather than vitality.
If a community uses resources like money and power to stratify relationships rather than empowering those relationships toward equity, it creates injustice and oppression.
It’s pretty clear that we need to prioritize much more than money if we want to grow healthy communities and organized efforts for sustained change.
What other currencies would you add?