What’s your plan for changing the world?
You have probably heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which spread all over the world through social media. If you get nominated to take the challenge, you can either donate to the ALS Association or take a picture/video of ice water being dumped over your head as you nominate three others. It is beautifully simple. Someone shows you what to do, invites you to do it, and you do the same, inviting others. I did it (and put a link to the YouTube video at the end of this post. So did my youngest. It is a bit adventurous, out of the (physical) comfort zone, and kind of fun. As of August 23, donations have reached $62.5 million.
That simple little act, repeatable and clear, went farther and touched more lives than anyone would have guessed.
At the same time, another social media campaign has “gone viral.” Justice for Aaron featured a video of Andrew Wheeler, 18, brutally beating a helpless Aaron Hill, 16, in a back room at a party while others looked on. It is a disturbing video. And the campaign worked. It heaped shame and humiliation on Mr. Wheeler and the party-goers. The police took action. The attacker and an accomplice have been arrested. But people are still outraged. The reaction has gone over the top. Andrew Wheeler’s family has received death threats. Apparently, some want to go beyond justice to exacting revenge. Shame and humiliation campaigns tend to pull people that way. The world is not a less of a mess as a result. It’s a bigger one. It all proves that our world needs a change.
Do you agree?
So what’s your plan? How do you plan to change the world in the right way?
It’s not that we’ve figured it out. But we do believe Jesus did. And that is why we center our ministry on discipleship. Discipleship is basically learning to live more like Jesus. We are learning to follow and imitate Jesus and we are teaching people to follow and imitate Jesus. We are also equipping them to help others do the same. Best I can tell, over the course of history, making disciples of Jesus Christ in this way is the only approach with a proven track record for consistently changing the world in a significant way in the right direction. For that matter, during those times when the church made the world worse (and it has), it was usually when the church wasn’t interested in helping people live like Jesus. It happens slowly, one heart at a time. While it goes deep, it is beautifully simple. Someone shows you what to do, invites you to do it, and you do the same, inviting others. It’s a legacy that goes back to Jesus. Jesus said, “Make disciples (Matthew 28:16-20) and that was after Jesus had showed Peter what to do. So Peter showed Barnabas what Jesus had shown him. Barnabas showed Paul, who showed Timothy, Silas, Titus, the Ephesians, Galatians, Romans, etc., who showed… And God has been working through discipleship to change the lives of all people everywhere for the last 2,000 years. And the world has been changed.
So I’d like to thank our donors – and to invite you, dear reader, to give to FCMC. Through donations to FCMC, you will be doing something to turn cruel hearts toward kindness. You will be teaching people to respond with compassion when they see injustice. You will be setting into motion something that will protect those who are weak and vulnerable. Your gifts will inspire courage in unlikely places to do what is right and responsible. You can give online here to be taken to our secure giving site or click here for instructions to make donations by mail.
Better yet, learn to use some tools for discipleship and teach others to use those tools – because then you are getting into the game. Either by giving or by practice, you will have done something to change the world. I can’t say thank you enough.
Here’s the link I promise to the video of my daughter dousing me for the ALS challenge. And it’s more than okay by me if you decide to honor God by sending donations to the ALS Association. God cares deeply about victims of ALS. You can learn more about Justice for Aaron on the FaceBook page of the same name. You can learn about the Life Shapes discipleship tools from 3dm.
Whenever I talk about Jesus, someone will want to know what we believe at FCMC. Go here.