Who We Are
What is the Chalmers Center?
The Chalmers Center at Covenant College is a research and training organization that equips churches with economic development strategies that holistically empower people who are poor. By uniting cutting edge research, micro-economic development interventions, and social entrepreneurship principles, the Chalmers Center grows the capacity of the local church to transform the lives of low-income people without creating dependency.
Since 1999, the Chalmers Center has been an industry pioneer in developing and disseminating church-centered, gospel-driven, economic development innovations including: savings-led microfinance, microenterprise development, financial literacy, jobs preparedness, and matched savings programs.
The Chalmers Center has trained people who are ministering in over 100 countries and is currently piloting new delivery models using social entrepreneurship methods in Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Benin, Togo, and the United States.
Why the Name Chalmers?
The Chalmers Center is named after Thomas Chalmers, a 19th Century Scottish pastor.
When John Knox brought the protestant reformation to Scotland in the 16th Century, he instituted a holistic approach to poverty in which local congregations cared for both the spiritual and temporal needs of all in their parish. Unfortunately, the Church’s concern for the poor gradually disappeared.
This concern and care of the poor by the Church was revived by Thomas Chalmers in the 19th Century. Chalmers had a strong belief that God has called the Church to minister holistically to the poor. He was resolute on the need for holistic, church-based ministry. Chalmers was convinced that moral and theological training combined with a program promoting self-help were essential in ensuring more prosperous economic conditions for the impoverished.
There is a need for a similar revival in the Church today. In the tradition of Thomas Chalmers, the Chalmers Center for Economic Development helps the Church rediscover its biblical mandate to serve the poor through spiritual transformation and economic development. While our name is derived from Thomas Chalmers, our methods for ministry are different and derived from research and best-practices within the contemporary fields of Christian economic development.