New Vision Paper on Economic Wisdom and Pastoral Ministry
For some time now, the Oikonomia Network has relied on 12 wise elements about the economy to reframe the integration of theology and economics. We envisioned these elements as the first step toward a larger Economic Wisdom Project that would advance a new conversation about faith and economics with biblical integrity. Today, we’re excited to announce the release of the EWP Vision Document that provides a vision for connecting theology and economics in ways that serve the needs and calling of pastoral ministry.
Here’s a quick guide to what you’ll find:
1. The elements have been slightly modified. We changed the order of the elements so they now flow more logically. We also tweaked the wording in a few places based on your feedback; the new wording maintains the same meaning, but helps avoid misunderstandings.
2. The elements have been reframed. One of the most common things we’ve heard from faculty who use the elements with students has been the need to clearly frame what they are and are not. The new vision document provides a handy, colorful graphic that makes the nature of the elements abundantly clear – we hope you’ll find this useful as a resource when introducing the elements.
3. Four central themes make the theological connections explicit. The elements are now organized into groups under four themes:
Stewardship and flourishing (elements 1-3)
We were given stewardship over the world so our work would make it flourish for God’s glory.
Value creation (elements 4-6)
Through economic exchange, we work together and create value for one another.
Productivity and opportunity (elements 7-9)
Economic systems should be grounded in human dignity and moral character.
Responsible action (elements 10-12)
Economic systems should practice and encourage a hopeful realism.
For each of these themes, we have provided a brief summary and a recommended reading list.
4. Pathways to pastoral application. This is the largest addition! We have identified five specific ways in which the role of the pastor requires the cultivation of economic wisdom:
Preaching the Trinity, incarnation, imago Dei, biblical narrative, and more illuminates economics.
Pastors need to be equipped to console and counsel those affected by economic change.
Our ministry to those in need should cultivate hope, dignity, and growth instead of dependency.
Churches that understand the economy will be equipped to help their communities flourish.
Youth and Family
A flourishing life starts in early childhood with a culture of vocation and responsibility.
For each of these themes, we provide an overview and a list of questions for pastors to consider. These reflection questions will help pastors discover new connections between economic wisdom and the task of pastoral ministry.
As you cultivate conversations about theology and economics in your classrooms and campuses, we hope this new vision document is a useful resource to stimulate thought, uncover questions that we need to be asking, and reframe the discussion.