By Victoria Robb Powers
This past March, I was given the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. and participate in a three day workshop hosted by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship called “Advocacy in Action.”
As a minister who has a passion for social justice, I was very motivated to participate, so I went to represent Wilshire Baptist and learn more about what advocacy looks like within the church. Sadly, we often forget that advocacy is a pillar of the Christian faith. Yet it is true that where Christians do not express concern for the needy the gospel has not yet been proclaimed.
Our time in D.C. was spent reflecting on this missional principle of the church while meeting with various religious organizations that serve as advocates for communities in need. These organizations included Bread for the World, the Evangelical Immigration Table, The Center for Responsible Lending, and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.
Each of these organizations shared their passion for addressing issues such as hunger, immigration, predatory lending, and religious persecution. They all shared a deep understanding that works of social reform are a necessary part of Christian life. Among meeting members of these organizations and dialoguing with other CBF participants, I left with a new understanding of what advocacy means. I always understood that ministry includes service, which requires us to focus on the needs of the less fortunate in the world.
Like the Good Samaritan, we bind up the wounds of the injured and the marginalized. But advocacy moves beyond this service; advocacy demands that we move beyond binding wounds to becoming the advocates of the wounded—addressing the oppressive structures and fighting for societal change.
As Christians, our fidelity to the Kingdom of God mandates our participation in advocacy. By changing structures, we seek to lessen the likelihood of oppression in the future, fighting for a Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
Victoria Robb Powers is a member of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.