Practicing the King's Economy

Honoring Jesus in How We Work, Earn, Spend, Save, and Give

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"Here is economic wisdom for humans with habits and desires, immersed in patterns and practices. Here is a model of economic discipleship that doesn't just tell you what to think but how to practically live in an economy of the kingdom. Here is a book that refuses idealism but is fueled by resurrection hope. But you can't pull this off on your own, so buy copies for your family, friends, and congregation."--James K. A. Smith, professor of philosophy at Calvin College; author of You Are What You Love

"The authors show how biblical mandates work justice and equality in the real world. Their testimonies, grown out of their own experiences, will be life-giving for any reader who cares about economic neighborliness."--Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary; author of The Prophetic Imagination

"This is a powerfully practical book."--Joel Belz, founder of WORLD magazine

"This book is good--really good. I found myself thinking differently about the economy, the marketplace, the kingdom of God, his Word, and even why God put me here."--Henry Kaestner, managing principal of Sovereign's Capital; cofounder and former CEO of Bandwidth

"This book is an incredibly helpful tool for all Christians who desire to live a countercultural life for the common good, especially as it relates to their money and resources."--Gabe Lyons, coauthor of Good Faith; founder of Q

Michael Rhodes is director of community transformation at the Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies, where he heads up efforts to equip pastors and community development practitioners with theologically informed tools for community transformation.

Robby Holt is senior pastor at North Shore Fellowship in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and teacher and theological dean for the Chattanooga Institute for Faith and Work.

Brian Fikkert is founder and president of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College. He is the coauthor of several books, including When Helping Hurts and From Dependence to Dignity.


Endorsements

"Nobel Prize winner Richard Thaler likes to say that economists treat us like econs rather than humans--as if we lived in the world like brains on a stick rather than full-blooded beings with passions, hopes, and habits. Sadly, many Christian economists mimic this. But here is economic wisdom for humans with habits and desires, immersed in patterns and practices. Here is a model of economic discipleship that doesn't just tell you what to think but how to practically live in an economy of the kingdom. Here is a book that refuses idealism but is fueled by resurrection hope. But you can't pull this off on your own, so buy copies for your family, friends, and congregation."

James K. A. Smith, professor of philosophy at Calvin College; author of You Are What You Love

"This book is an incredibly helpful tool for all Christians who desire to live a countercultural life for the common good, especially as it relates to their money and resources."

Gabe Lyons, coauthor of Good Faith; founder of Q

"We've bought into a shallow and insufficient view of economics, one that believes our highest goals are merely expanding material prosperity and increasing leisure. Practicing the King's Economy is a transformative book with a radical message--that we were created for so much more. Through biblical wisdom, inspiring stories, and actionable practices, this book will lead you to a life of greater joy, impact, and generosity. I highly recommend this book!"

Peter Greer, president and CEO of HOPE International; coauthor of Mission Drift

"Michael Rhodes, Robby Holt, and Brian Fikkert have written a compelling book of 'practical theology.' This is not a harshly confrontational book, but it is very much 'in our face' by way of their artistic capacity for telling stories about real people and their possibilities and impediments. Practical theology means that it is in touch with real life. It also means that it summons to the practice of neighborly justice and shows how that may be done. The authors show how biblical mandates work justice and equality in the real world. Their testimonies, grown out of their own experiences, will be life-giving for any reader who cares about economic neighborliness. I commend this book with great enthusiasm, for it shows the way in which the Bible offers a ground for concrete action. We may be grateful for the authors' passion rooted in both faith and experience."

Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary; author of The Prophetic Imagination

"I am bothered by this book. I bet you will be too. For all the right reasons. Practicing the Jesus Economy provides us a way out of the idolatry and abundant-less materialism of our age. The authors convict without condemning. They hold out the possibility of living life as God intended."

Reggie McNeal, author of Missional Renaissance and Kingdom Come; city coach with GoodCities

"Simply wonderful, solidly biblical, marvelously practical. This book charts a clear path through one of the greatest challenges (and failures) of the American church. A must-read."

Ron Sider, author of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger

"In this book, Fikkert, Rhodes, and Holt . . . remind us that if we're really serious about helping the poor, without simultaneously hurting them, we need to discipline ourselves in the basics of working, earning, spending, saving, and giving. This is a powerfully practical book."

Joel Belz, founder, WORLD Magazine

"Few things are more vexing for Christians than understanding how our personal and social habits fit into a larger economic picture. Michael, Brian, and Robby help believers understand how to leverage their everyday financial, relational, and time resources to help the most vulnerable among us​. Not many of us have thought through the most effective, biblical, and lasting ways to come alongside the poor like they have, and they invite us to experience new joy in the kingdom economy of our heavenly Father. I encourage Christians everywhere to get this book and read it."

Daniel Darling, vice president of communications at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; author of The Original Jesus

"For all its positive aspects, a major negative of globalization is that it has exported consumerism to every part of our planet. Certainly, in the West, consumerism is the major idol of our day, and Western idols ricochet around the globe. So pervasive is consumerism that it often seems as if there is no other option. However, the three multitalented authors of this book join together to show again and again that it doesn't have to be this way--and it shouldn't be this way. Jesus and his kingdom point in a different direction, a far more human one that leads to genuine flourishing. To their credit, the authors not only do extensive work on the Bible but also connect biblical teaching with a myriad real-life examples of what obedience to biblical teaching looks like today. This is an extremely important book."

Rev. Dr. Craig Bartholomew, director of the Kirby Laing Centre for Christian Ethics, Cambridge, UK

"I'm a big fan of this book. It's a must-read for every leader who desires to have to have a significant kingdom impact. Michael, Robby, and Brian are rare in that they are both theologians and true practitioners. As a result, Practicing the Jesus Economy is full of potent ideas and practical tools for living them out!"

Dave Runyon, coauthor of The Art of Neighboring

"While many believers have been inspired and challenged by the idea that Christ has claimed lordship over every square inch of our world, we often don't know how that relates to the day-to-day realities of our pocketbooks, neighborhoods, and supermarkets. Enter pastors and practitioners Michael Rhodes, Robby Holt, and Brian Fikkert, who give us not one key but six, which help us unlock not only a more faithful life of following Jesus but also a more just relationship with God's world. The result has profoundly challenged and encouraged me, and I trust it will do the same for you."

Dr. Sean Michael Lucas, senior minister, Independent Presbyterian Church, Memphis, TN; chancellor's professor of church history, Reformed Theological Seminary

"Practicing the Jesus Economy is an extraordinarily thoughtful and well-written book urging God's people to adopt economic practices that would transform our nations and communities. Highly recommended."

Bruce Ashford, provost and professor of theology and culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

"This richly insightful book shows American Christians how to disentangle ourselves from American consumerism and our often unexamined economic practices. It provides practical examples for change and real-life stories of people who have changed--to show us that it's possible. I hope its message reaches thousands of churches."

Dr. Amy L. Sherman, author of Kingdom Calling

"The Bible teaches that 'it is required of stewards that they be found faithful' (1 Cor. 4:2 ESV). Practicing the Jesus Economy is more than just a clarion call to faithful stewardship; it is an eminently practical guide and a spiritual inspiration to that awesome responsibility. This book helps us understand the gospel in its majestic, transforming, and radically humbling fullness. The seed that Practicing the Jesus Economy sows promises to blossom into a generation of faithful stewards, whose work and witness are a foretaste of the kingdom to come."

Dr. Jordan J. Ballor, senior research fellow, Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty

"If loving God does not impact the way we manage our finances, then we must ask if we really love him at all. This book challenges us to live out our gospel convictions and our worship with the money that we do--or do not--have. I love the six keys that apply Scripture and can unlock a deeper and more meaningful encounter with God. If your checkbook has been the most significant book in your life, then you need to read Practicing the Jesus Economy."

Dr. Krish Kandiah, founder of Home for Good; author of God Is Stranger

"Practicing the Jesus Economy explores the 'why' behind our economic choices and presents practical, genuine steps for positively impacting our families, neighborhoods, and communities. I recommend this book to anyone seeking to live authentically in a world where our deeds must lead the conversation on faith."

Stephan Bauman, executive director of Cornerstone Trust; former president/CEO of World Relief

"Our money, time, and relationships, just like politics and beer, are by themselves morally neutral things. Ultimately, it is how we choose to invest them that determines whether they will be used for good or for ill. In this prophetic and inspiring book, the authors put forth a vision for the healthy, faithful, life-giving use of resources that can, if heeded, make us not only observers of but participants in Jesus's vision to heal the world."

Scott Sauls, senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, Nashville, TN; author of Befriend and From Weakness to Strength

"Practicing the Jesus Economy provides a radical and wonderful blueprint for a new economic order that's closely aligned with my interpretation of Jesus's teachings and in stark, uncomfortable conflict with many aspects of twenty-first-century America. On these three issues--worship, community, and equity--and more, the authors highlight daunting problems with our current economic paradigm and offer hopeful solutions for getting us back on track. In my own work leading the Kiva US team, I have tried to implement many of the principles espoused in this book. In Michael Rhodes, Robby Holt, and Brian Fikkert, it's encouraging to have much smarter, more scripturally versed writers than me endorsing this direction toward a financial and economic system that's more equitable, compassionate, and fundamentally based on relationships."

Jonny Price, senior director of Kiva US

"Michael, Robby, and Brian have unlocked truths with keys from ancient biblical Scripture that are absolutely relevant today. A must-read for business leaders and entrepreneurs who are interested in bringing their faith into the marketplace in a new, fresh, and relevant way!"

Wes Gardner, CEO of PrimeTrailer

"The six keys outlined in Practicing the Jesus Economy provide a paradigm-shifting​ framework and the action ​steps we need to experience a world in which everyone flourishes. This is a must-read for every business and community leader who is longing for something more but can't quite put their finger on it. You will certainly find it in this book."

David Spickard, president of Spickard Consulting; former CEO of Jobs for Life

"Practicing the Jesus Economy is one of the most soul-satisfying works I have encountered in my Christian life. I am measuring my words carefully as I make that statement. It is richly exegetical and biblically rooted. It is disarmingly practical and engagingly accessible. It is searching in its application and hope-filled in its perspective. Such a fusion is a significant authorial accomplishment. The topic of Biblical economics is, in my estimation, far too often profoundly lacking in one or most of the above. This is a heart-rending and heart-renewing exercise in biblical and gospel work. I did not want it to end. Michael, Robby, and Brian--the church of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, is well served by your hard work. The most mature and seasoned in faith as well as the youngest and newest to gospel life will find this work spiritually refreshing and realigning. We are all the debtors of our brothers for the good work they have done and entrusted to us. Read and be reshaped by the Word of God!"

Joseph Vincent Novenson, Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church, Lookout Mountain, TN

"I am thrilled to see the release of Practicing the Jesus Economy as it builds on the positive shifts in poverty-alleviation ministry that have developed over the last few decades. This book should prove to equip the church more fully to minister to vulnerable people within our communities. We must first free ourselves from the often-unseen economic captivity so pervasive in our Western context. Then we will be positioned to minister more effectively from a place of unimagined freedom. Thankfully, this text brings to light this vital conversation and offers a practical path forward out of culturally defined values and practices and into the economy of Jesus as defined by Scripture."

J. Ryan West, PhD, Send Relief 

"As a pastor who wants his church to see how the kingdom of God influences every aspect of our lives, I'm thankful for this book. It helps us think holistically about how our lives can be lived in light of God and his kingdom in such a way to bring him glory. I hope you'll read it!"

Micah Fries, senior pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church, Chattanooga, TN

"This book is good--really good. I found myself thinking differently about the economy, the marketplace, the kingdom of God, his word, and even why God put me here. God has spoken through Michael, Robby, and Brian in a way that allows me to see him more clearly. I am a richer man for having read this, and I recommend it to all."

Henry Kaestner, managing principal of Sovereign's Capital; cofounder and former CEO of Bandwidth

"In this passionate and compelling book, the authors give us a glimpse of what God's economy could truly look like, if only we took the Bible seriously. Grounded in Scripture and full of inspiring stories, this book encouraged, excited, and deeply challenged me. The good news of Jesus Christ brings whole-life transformation, including economically and financially."

Nigel Harris, CEO of Tearfund

"Beautifully exegeted. Practicing the Jesus Economy reintroduces a wide-ranging, timeless, and distinctive approach to economics that only the body of Christ can display."

K. A. Ellis, Cannada Fellow for World Christianity, Reformed Theological Seminary

"Jesus tells us that there is a connection between our hearts and our treasure. Even those of us who believe him need a great deal of help understanding and stewarding what God has provided. Deeply rooted in God's word and shaped by rich experience in God's world, Practicing the Jesus Economy is a marriage of gracious words and prophetic insight. Rhodes, Holt, and Fikkert have done the hard work of crafting a biblical vision for flourishing as citizens of God's kingdom. They've left us with the easy work of being set free by the truths in this marvelous book."

Jason B. Hood, PhD, assistant professor of New Testament and director of advanced urban ministerial education, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary


The Authors

  1. Michael Rhodes

    Michael Rhodes

    Michael Rhodes is the director of community development and an instructor at the Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies, where he heads up efforts to equip urban pastors and community development practitioners with theologically informed tools for...

    Continue reading about Michael Rhodes

  2. Robby Holt

    Robby Holt

    Robby Holt is the senior pastor at North Shore Fellowship in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and teacher and theological dean for the Chattanooga Institute for Faith and Work. He teaches theology of work and New Testament courses for the Chattanooga Fellows Initiative.

    Continue reading about Robby Holt

  3. Brian Fikkert

    Brian Fikkert

    Brian Fikkert is the founder and president of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College, where he also serves as a professor of economics and community development. He is the coauthor of several books, including When Helping Hurts...

    Continue reading about Brian Fikkert


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