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The Jesus Army does not only practice community of goods, but they also have several business which are owned by the communities, called Kingdom Businesses. What make these small corporations stand out is firstly that everyone gets the same wage – the managing director does not get any more than the one who wipes the floor. Secondly, you have to be a part of the Jesus Army, either as a community member or as a covenant member – meaning someone living outside the community but who still have made a commitment to spending time, energy and finances in the church – to be employed in the businesses. Thirdly, all profit go to one of the charitable funds of the church, either the Jesus Centres who are social centres for people in need, or stuff like evangelism, national conferences and other church stuff.
The Kingdom Businesses are basically “church at work”, and the Jesus people surely bring in a lot of ethics in what they do. Goodness foods distributes organic health food, TBS building supplies have started an EcoCentre programme that sells windmills, solar panels and other green technology. Several of those who are employed are people who have had difficulty getting a job.
I was very inspired by this – generally I’m skeptical towards businesses but since these are social, green and Christian I think they make a lot of good impact. Most churches don’t really care where people work, and so church goers worship Jesus on Sunday and sell products produced by child slaves on Monday without anyone reacting. For the people living in Jesus Army’s communities, church isn’t something you go to – it’s something you are, live in and work in 24/7. And while it brings several challenges, it’s scriptural, ethical and way more fun than the usual two-hours-a-week church.