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Analysis: The Human Needs Economy and the Church

Perhaps one of the Church’s greatest written sources of information (which does not originate from itself) is a Techcrunch Extracrunch piece entitled, “Building and investing in the ‘human needs economy.’ (Part 1: Health and Wellness)” by Heather Hartnett, CEO of Human Ventures.

Here’s the key line (even though there’s so much good insight in it to consider):

The last 10 years of startup growth have been about building and investing in these “nice to haves.” We believe the next 10 years will be focused on building and investing in “need to haves,” and the greatest business opportunities will be found in what we at Human Ventures call The Human Needs Economy — products and services that have material impact on basic needs and livelihoods and address a core draw on a consumer’s time, money or energy. For 2020, we are focusing on solving problems within three categories that we believe will have a huge impact on the Human Needs Economy: health and wellness, the future of work and community.

This should beg the question of the Church: is what we are doing about “nice to haves” or “need to haves?”

In all honesty, it sure does seem as though most people can do without the Church. And, besides those who are of a retired status in life, it would also seem that it is disposable income and leisure time that goes towards church-related activity. What this makes “church” is a luxury (kinda like vacations or club memberships) more than a necessity (like toilet paper).

As we enter the Coronavirus Age, it would be a good time for denominational leaders to take a deep breath and consider how churches are developing the means of discipling people in these areas. It’s not that the Church has not been doing it – in fact, church-work seems a lot like the list of things Human Ventures wants to invest in. It’s that the way in which it is delivered (and also costs the church member) was from and for another time.