Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Applying Five Forms Of Capital : Example 1

God has invested in us, and he expects a return on his investment. Which begs the questions:
in what ways has God invested in us?
how do we put that investment to work in such a way as to earn a return for him on his investment?

There are, essentially, five types of capital – spiritual, relational, physical, intellectual, and financial - and if we want to grow any one of them, we do so by investing the others.

Here is a personal example, to illustrate how this might work in practice:

As a family, we are committed to growing the spiritual capital of discipleship in the context of community...

Over the years, we have been drawn into relationship with other people who are committed to the same investment of spiritual capital. This network of relationships grew into the Order of Mission, to which we belong. This is in effect (though not exclusively) our spiritual extended family. And in particular within that growing, global family, for the past four years we have got together once a month with a group of other families in the north of England. This ‘huddle’ is a place where we meet with friends who share our vision and our values, and in that context of committed relationship we encourage and challenge one another, and our faith grows as a result...

This requires of us a physical investment. The huddle meets in Harrogate, which was a two-hour drive from where we lived in Nottingham, and is a two-hour drive from where we now live in Liverpool. That means that we set off at 6pm, get there for 8pm, leave there at 10:30pm, and get home again for 12:30am. And that is physically tiring; it leaves us physically tired; it costs us an investment of the physical capital at our disposal. But we have decided that it is a priority on our use of capital; which simply means that there are other things that are less of a priority...

If we are to engage fully with the huddle – to allow God to speak into our lives through the other members of the group, and to listen for what God wants to speak into their lives through us – an investment of intellectual capital is required. We need to grow in our knowledge and understanding of God’s word, in order to bring it to bear – to draw on capital reserves - in the situations we face. Jesus said scribes of the kingdom draw out treasures old and new. And this is a context where we get to do both: not only drawing on existing reserves of capital, but receiving a return, as we consider new things together...

Finally, it also requires of us a financial investment. The combined cost of petrol for the journey and a babysitter mean it is not a cheap night out...but, again, we choose to prioritise it because of the return we have seen over the years, in both relational and spiritual capital.

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