BIBLICAL ECONOMICS—Biblical economics is used interchangeably with a similar, but broader term, the “economics of Jesus.” These terms are defined in Millard Fuller’s book, Love in the Mortar Joints. “Biblical economics,” based on Exodus 22:25, is summarized in that book as follows: “In our dealings with poor people, we are to charge no interest and seek no profit.”
CHRISTIAN PARTNERSHIP—Christian partnership is twofold: we are in partnership with God and with other Christians and others who have a heart to help; and we are a people-to-people partnership that, following Christ’s example, brings people together regardless of race, nationality, religion or socioeconomic status.
COVENANT PARTNER—the world-wide work of The Fuller Center is carried out by local nonprofit organizations who share our name and our principles. We believe that decisions on for whom to build, what to build, and how to finance the building are best made at the local level. This approach allows us to control administrative expenses by not having a large, centralized bureaucracy to oversee the work.
ECONOMICS OF JESUS— while sometimes used interchangeably with “Biblical economics,” the term “economics of Jesus” encompasses a broader perspective and refers to several spiritual principles in Fuller Center work. Millard Fuller’s book, Love in the Mortar Joints, dedicates a chapter to the term and explains that it embraces five principles:
Christ can multiply the minuscule to accomplish the gigantic, as in the feeding of the multitudes. This teaches us that when we move out in faith God moves too, and our small supplies are miraculously multiplied to fill the need.
We do not place value on profit or interest but emphasize meeting human need. Christ will show us how to face the challenges of inflation, indifference, opposition or lack of resources.
Christ expects us to immediately put the resources we receive into meeting human needs and not hoard or stash them away.
Every human life, no matter how insignificant it may seem, is priceless.
We acknowledge that the needs of people are paramount and the response to those needs is not connected in any way with people’s usefulness or productivity. “Grace and love abound for all.”
FUND FOR HUMANITY—a local, revolving Fund for Humanity exists at each covenant partner with the fund’s money coming from Fuller Center house payments, contributions from individuals and organizations, and income from fund-raising projects. The monies in the Fund for Humanity are used to build and renovate more houses.
FULLERITIS – (full-er-ite-is) – n – an infection of the brain caused by direct contact with Millard and Linda Fuller and their mission and/or vision. Can be spread by physical contact ( i.e. shaking hands) or aurally (i.e. hearing a speech). An infected person can be recognized by being full of life and wanting nothing more than to help all God’s people and spread the word on how to do it. There is no known cure, but the symptoms can be satiated by the giving of donations to The Fuller Center and its partners. Monthly donors have the highest rate of remission.
SIMPLE, DECENT HOUSES—the houses we build or renovate are simple, decent and affordable, meaning that we build houses that are basic in design and construction and without frills. The houses are built to last without imposing undue maintenance costs on the buyer.
SWEAT EQUITY—is the unpaid labor invested by homeowner partners in the Fuller Center ministry. These hours are a requirement of homeownership. Sweat equity reduces the cost of the house and increases the personal stake family members have in their home. It fosters partnership with other volunteers and donors; is a key principle of The Fuller Center; and is important in building partnerships across economic, racial and religious divisions. The number of sweat-equity hours required of homeowners varies locally, but is usually between 300 and 500 hours.
THEOLOGY OF THE HAMMER— Millard Fuller explains the term in his books No More Shacks! and Theology of the Hammer.
“This simply means that as Christians we will agree on the use of the hammer as an instrument to manifest God’s love. We may disagree on all sorts of other things—baptism, communion, what night to have prayer meeting, and how the preacher should dress—but we can agree on the imperative of the gospel to serve others in the name of the Lord.” (No More Shacks!, p. 127.)
GREATER BLESSING PROGRAM—when repair or rehabilitation work is done at a relatively low cost the Greater Blessing Program may be more appropriate than writing a mortgage to repay the cost of the work. With the Greater Blessing Program the cost of the repair is “repaid” as a donation in pre-agreed monthly installments. The beneficiary family is provided with a Greater Blessings Box containing pre-addressed envelopes equal to the number of months that the family needs to “repay” the cost of repair. With each donation the family receives the blessing of giving. There is no note or lien with this plan and the “repayment” depends on the good will of the beneficiary family. The gifts are dedicated to the rehabilitation or construction of other houses.
Helpful hint: If you want to search for a specific topic in the Operations Manual, search for the word “manual” followed by a “+” sign and then a specific term. For example, if you want to know more about hammers, you would search for “manual+hammers”.