Earlier this week I shared with you about finding the key to contextualizaion. The key is to discover the core values of your context and discerning the shadow implications of those values if there are any. And just this last week our church did exactly that.
One of the core values of our context is activism.
Activism in just about every form from recycling, organic farming, raising money for wells in Africa, Toms shoes, anti-bullying, etc, is a high, high value. If you add social justice causes to this activism value, now you are in the sweet spot for one of the strongest values in our context. Because activism and social justice are values that are also similar to values found in the heart of God, partnering with people in our community is something we are trying to live more and more into as a church.
There is a young girl in our area who was captivated by child slavery and compelled to do something about it. At first glance it seems "nice" that this little girl would want to take a stand against child slavery. But because activism is a core value for our context and a huge value for her family, they decided to actually get after and make a difference. She decided to make a lemonade stand and raise $150,000 to free 500 child slaves. And for the past 125 days, this is exactly what she has done. This is how Vivienne describes what she is doing in her own words:
"hiya! thank you for being here! i am vivienne. i am 8. on may 5, 2012, i saw a picture of two boys my age, working in nepal with giant rocks strapped to their little heads. they were slaves. to help each other feel better, they were holding hands. it hurt my heart. i decided to MAKE A STAND. a lemon-aid stand...and a stand against child slavery.
i am at my lemon-aid stand every day--rain or shine (121 days in a row and counting!)--until i raise enough money to free 500 child slaves through: not for sale an organization that wants to end child slavery. i believe that compassion is not compassion without action. that's why i am MAKING A STAND every day. i am vivienne. i am MAKING A STAND. will you please MAKE A STAND with me?"
Vivienne has become a local celebrity and came to the attention of one of our pastors, Jeff Mazzariello. He decided that what Vivienne is working towards is exactly in line with the heart of God and with the expansion of God's kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. So Jeff invited Vivienne and her family to share their story with our church and to give our church an opportunity to buy some lemonade from Vivienne to support the organization she is working in.
We wanted to be a part of something that brings joy to God's heart:
We decided as a pastoral team to give here $1000. We had no idea that our little church would come through with another $3500 for a grand total of over $4500 towards her goal. The entire morning was so inspirational for us as a church as we get to see all the big and small ways that God works to get his will done. And this morning was inspirational for this family who got to experience God's heart of love, grace and appreciation towards them.
After our time together on Sunday, Vivienne's dad wrote on her blog about their experience here at Marin Covenant Church. He called it A Day Unlike Any Other. You have to read his blog and see what happens when we get over our own version of the Gospel and seek to be cross-cultural missionaries. Missionaries who discern the values and thin places in a culture and share the good news of Jesus Christ in a way that is actually good news.
God is alive and at work! We need to simply get ourselves and our agendas out of the way, and go where he is going! What are the values in your context that you can partner with and celebrate?
Would you consider checking out her site and even MAKE A STAND with her?