World Aids Day

This past weekend we focused our services on World Aids Day, and the work our congregation is already doing and wants to do in the future to contribute our time and resources toward addressing this global pandemic. Most of Willow’s work connected to HIV/AIDS is focused in sub-Saharan Africa, where 74% of those suffering from this disease currently live. Our service included a powerful 23-minute video captured last week featuring our lead pastor Gene Appel exploring our work in one of the remotest, northern-most regions of Malawi. I hosted the service, and was so thrilled with how our video team captured the stories, the devastation, the deep needs of our partners in a village so isolated that the nearest paved road is 5 hours away. Then Lynne Hybels, whose personal passion about the AIDS crisis awakened our congregation about 4 years ago, interviewed one of our partners who pastors a church in South Africa.

Our church has been outrageously generous toward funding these projects and praying for our partners in the last few years, and it was obvious this past weekend, that they want to do so much more. I feel proud of our people and even prouder of my husband Warren, who volunteers full-time leading our Global Connections ministry. Compared to the staggering need, we are only making a small difference. But if the big “C” church all over the resourced world continues to awaken and mobilize, together we can actually make a huge dent in reducing poverty and reversing the spread of this horrific disease.

Finally, I’m ruminating more and more these days on the role Christian artists can and should play in addressing global issues of justice, equality, poverty, and disease. I couldn’t agree more with Brian McClaren, who calls Christian songwriters to invest a portion of their creativity to write songs that call believers to action, to being the hands and feet of Jesus to those who have no voice. We also need story tellers including writers, videographers, and filmmakers to capture the real-life challenges of those who live so far outside of the average person’s reality in the developed world. Our service would have been nowhere near as impactful without the work of such artists. I am hearing more and more from church artists all over the world who are beginning to make a difference with their art in addressing these kinds of needs.

Please let me know what you are seeing in your churches and among your artists related to justice issues and the awakening of believers to break out of our comfort zones and holy huddles. We all have a long way to go and a lot to learn – but I’m increasingly hopeful!


bw said...

can you tell me where brian mclaren says this? i'm a huge mclaren fan, and have been impacted by his other works. did not know he ever talked much about songwriting and the arts.

in the last 2 years, i've become passionate about using music to inspire christians to look outward, and be moved towards action during times of corporate worship (some of which i'm sure has been influenced by thinkers like mclaren). not many people have written songs that go along with this, so i've had to just write my own. not sure if there are many others doing so, but would love to hear more corporate worship music along those lines. does anyone have music they'd like to share?

Nancy Beach said...

bw -
Sorry for the delay in my reply. Brian's open letter to worship songwritiers is supposed to be at his website which is:

hope this helps,
Nancy Beach