Skip to content Skip to cookie consent
Skip to content

Research reports

Abundant community theology: Working towards environmental and economic sustainability (EES)

Seeking a global theological perspective on environmental and economic sustainability

2022 Available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese

Smiling residents of a community in Nepal sitting in front of a maize field

Residents in the community in Palung (Nepal) who have benefitted from the water pool they built. Photo: Matthew Joseph/Tearfund

‘Our true role as humans requires that we think differently about ourselves, and then live differently with others and with the planet.

‘That we share more abundantly and more generously. That collectively, we tread more lightly on the earth. That we hoard and consume less.

‘And that we recognise we live in an abundant community of creation, in which love – not dominion – pervades all we do.’

So concludes the Abundant Community report, which seeks to provide a global, theological perspective on environmental and economic sustainability (EES). 

Drawing on the input and contribution of countless theologians, thinkers, writers and practitioners of various sorts from many countries around the world, the report represents the culmination of a lengthy process in which Tearfund commissioned consultations around theology of EES in:

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Latin America
  • Europe and North America

Watch the webinar launching the "Abundant Community" theology

Enough for all: Embracing an abundant community mindset

As Christians, we all want our faith to have an impact on our lives, on the lives of those around us, on our societies and economies, and on wider creation. But how we see the world affects whether that impact is helpful or harmful.

Our mindset determines what we think it means to be human in this world, and how we relate to one another and the wider creation.​​
Let’s consider two mindsets we might have.

A scarcity mindset means we see the world through a lens of lack or shortage. We live as though there is
not enough for everyone. Economic markets become places where people compete for limited resources. Ultimately, this mindset leads us to selfishly hoard and consume resources, often at the expense of both people and the planet, rather than demonstrating love and care.

With this mindset, we can think the solution to economic poverty is increasing production: simply making more stuff. But this can further perpetuate the problems. We need something more a different approach.
As followers of Jesus, we can adopt a mindset that is more relational, responsible and biblical.

An abundant community mindset is a theology that views humanity as relational beings, fundamentally interconnected with one another and the rest of creation, living within a world that has enough resources for all. As we adopt this mindset, we start to see the world not as a market of fierce competition, but as a shared home: a place in which we recognise our deep connectedness to people near and far, to our Creator God, and to wider creation.

We come to understand that true wealth is not stored in our bank accounts, but in the health of our relationships with others, with God, and with wider creation. We don’t ignore the facts which tell us
we have finite resources. But we assume that in God’s world, there is always enough:
not enough to hoard or exploit, but enough to share generously with others– and not just our money, possessions and goods, but also our power, voices and lives.

As such, it’s more about an abundance of love, hope and trust – a relational abundance – than an abundance of material things. And an abundant community mindset reshapes our theology of economic poverty. The problem, we realise, is not poverty ‘over there’, to which the economically wealthy have the solution.

Rather, the problem is ur flawed mindset of scarcity. And the solution is for those with an excess, and those with not enough, to connect deeply nd share what they have with one another to bring change.

To explore abundant community theology more deeply, click the link in the description to download your free summary PDF.

Other languages

Share this resource

If you found this resource useful, please share it with others so they can benefit too.

Get our email updates

Be the first to hear about our latest learning and resources

Sign up now - Get our email updates

Cookie preferences

Your privacy and peace of mind are important to us. We are committed to keeping your data safe. We only collect data from people for specific purposes and once that purpose has finished, we won’t hold on to the data.

For further information, including a full list of individual cookies, please see our privacy policy.

  • These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

  • These cookies allow us to measure and improve the performance of our site. All information these cookies collect is anonymous.

  • These allow for a more personalised experience. For example, they can remember the region you are in, as well as your accessibility settings.

  • These cookies help us to make our adverts personalised to you and allow us to measure the effectiveness of our campaigns.