A few weeks ago, I unabashedly admitted that I watch the TV show, “The Voice.” Sadly, one of my favorites, Pia Renee, did not make it to the finals. But another of my favorites, Cam Anthony, did.
During the finals on Monday, Anthony used one of his last performances to make a statement about social justice. Each contestant was asked to write a “letter of dedication” before singing their final songs.
Others wrote about their hometown, girlfriend, or grandmothers – but Anthony, all of 19 years old, used his platform to talk about wanting to “stand up for peace, love, and equality...” He then launched into a stunning performance of Cynthia Ervio’s “Stand Up” from the movie, “Harriet,” (the bio-pic about Harriet Tubman who led the Underground Railroad).
Then there are the new sensations, The Linda Lindas. A girl-band comprised of four 10-16 year olds, the Linda Lindas used their platform, in response to anti-Asian American slurs and violence, to sing their punk-anthem “Racist, Sexist Boy.” They did this in, of all places, the stacks of the L.A. Public Library. Their music may not be your cup of tea – but I dare say, you won’t forget their message.
This week, the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder has been a chance for many of us to contemplate what this past year has meant in our own journey of pursuing racial justice, the role we are playing in changing systems, and how we are utilizing our own platforms to make a difference.
One of my favorite development professionals, Andy Robinson, recently turned over his blog to Laurel McCombs of the Osborne Group. She used the platform to write about “Using Values to Build Your Anti-Racist Fundraising Program.” Her major focus to help development people to be more anti-racist? “…Values: good old-fashioned, organizational-management-101 values.”*
If values are going to play their crucial role in making your organization more equitable, inclusive, diverse, and anti-racist, you need to invest the effort to make them relevant to your mission and vision, and meaningful to the people currently in your community – plus those you wish to bring into your nonprofit family.
Hmmm…who might that also apply to? Why yes! The church – the place that is all about values. Really, wasn’t Jesus the most values-driven person you have ever known? He was the ultimate rabble-rouser. He never took the easy way out. He spoke truth to power in all its forms. Jesus used His “platform” to change the world.
We are living in a time of incredible change.
Many of you are already using your voices and platforms to move your congregations to live out the Kin-dom of God right here on earth. You are calling out injustice. You are living out that part of your baptismal vows that asks us “to accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.” One church, one community at a time. Thank you for your courage and willingness to use your platform for change. Thanks be to God!
*To read more about anti-racist fundraising, I suggest Vu Le’s Nonprofit AF and Community-Centric Fundraising.
Two more ideas to add to last week’s The Post-COVID Offering: 3 Options:
1. Encourage people to give as they come into the church. From John Dillard of Monroe UMC (OR), “The offerings are placed in [the offering plate at the back of the church], usually when folks come in for service. At Offertory time, the plate can either be mentioned or brought forward. The Doxology is sung and the prayer of dedication is given.”
2. Use the United States Postal Service or allow for hand-delivery of offerings (with permission). Rev. Kent Koehler (retired) from Eastern PA Conference, said that in his church, “Sources of income include some electronic giving…, the basket at the back of the worship space, and... overwhelmingly (drum roll - are you ready?)...mail! Full disclosure - I take our envelope in each week - because I usually forget it on Sunday.”
Thanks for the extra suggestions!