By Andy Hale
If you grew up Baptist, then it is a surefire guarantee that you know all about missions.
Not only did we have weekly children and youth programs around missions, but we went on mission trips, domestically and overseas. Our church collected an offering twice a year for missions, in addition to our budgetary contributions to missions, even sponsoring specific missionaries that wrote letters to us and visited our church.
We get the mission culture.
At the same time, our Baptist mission culture also created a detached relationship to incarnational ministry’s physical work. We were typically spectators of the work being done by professional missionaries and organizations. Don’t get me wrong; we still participated in many charity acts within our community that usually centered around our churches giving things to “poor people.” We are all familiar with the concept of toxic charity.
But some churches have learned to directly impact the systemic issues that cause many of the problems we seek to aid through missions. For most churches, advocacy is not a foreign concept, but an unfamiliar practice.
And yet, now is the perfect space and time for churches to be active participants in dramatically changing the challenges that face their community through advocacy.
But what does that look like and where do we begin?
This week’s CBF Podcast Conversation is an interview with CBF’s Associate Coordinator for Advocacy and Partnerships, Stephen Reeves, along with two local church ministers leading their churches in creating a culture of advocacy, Heather Mustain of Wilshire Baptist Church (Dallas, Texas) and Preston Clegg of Second Baptist Church (Little Rock, Arkansas).
The episode also features Reeves’ new book, “The Mission of Advocacy,” co-authored with Katie Ferguson Murray.
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Andy Hale created and hosts the podcast of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Hale is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following eight years as the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton and five years as CBF’s church start specialist. Follow on Twitter @haleandy