Building on Faith

Habitat for Humanity: A Christian Ministry

Habitat for Humanity International is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness worldwide and to making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat is founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, decent, affordable place to live in dignity and safety.
 
Interested in how your church can get involved with Habitat?
 
Habitat has an open-door policy: All who desire to be a part of this work are welcome, regardless of religious preference or background. Habitat for Humanity has always had a policy of building with people in need regardless of race or religion, and we welcome volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds.
 
The work of Habitat for Humanity is driven by the desire to give tangible expression to the love of God through the work of eliminating poverty housing. Habitat's mission and methods are predominantly derived from a few key theological concepts: the necessity of putting faith into action, the "economics of Jesus" and the "theology of the hammer."
 
Putting Faith into Action
Habitat's ministry is based on the conviction that to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ we must reflect Christ's love in our own lives by loving and caring for one another. Our love must not be words only—it must be true love, which shows itself in action. Habitat provides an opportunity for people to put their faith and love into action, bringing diverse groups of people together to make affordable housing and better communities a reality for everyone.
 
The Economics of Jesus
When people act in response to human need, giving what they have without seeking profit or interest, we believe God magnifies the effects of our efforts. Habitat refers to this perspective as "the economics of Jesus." Together, the donated labor of construction volunteers, the support of partner organizations and the homeowners' "sweat equity" make Habitat's house building possible. By sharing resources with those in need, Habitat volunteers and supporters have made decent, affordable housing a reality for more than 200,000 families worldwide.

The Theology of the Hammer
Habitat is a partnership founded on common ground—bridging theological differences by putting love into action. Everyone can use the hammer as an instrument to manifest God's love. Habitat founder Millard Fuller called this concept "the theology of the hammer," explaining, "We may disagree on all sorts of other things ... but we can agree on the idea of building homes with God's people in need, and in doing so using biblical economics: no profit and no interest."

Habitat for Humanity welcomes all people to build with us in partnership. "The Bible teaches that God is the God of the whole crowd," explained Fuller. "God's love leaves nobody out, and my love should not either. This understanding drives 'the theology of the hammer' around the world, steadily building more and more houses in more and more countries."

Church Partnerships

Benefits of church partnerships
Habitat for Humanity benefits from all the contributions that churches make to this ministry. The prayer, financial and volunteer support that churches provide is the backbone of Habitat’s work. The partnership works both ways.
 
What can my church do?
Most importantly, every church can pray for the work of Habitat for Humanity around the world. Churches support the ministry of Habitat in a number of other ways and at a variety of levels. Find out more about church partnerships, including volunteering, fund raising and serving on committees.
 
How do we get started?
Habitat for Humanity operates through local organizations in communities around the world. Many Habitat groups organize specific church-sponsored builds or create events that focus on church partnerships. Campaigns such as an Apostle’s Build (a partnership of 12 churches based on the biblical concept of the 12 apostles in ministry with Jesus) give churches a terrific opportunity to get a taste of Habitat.

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