Serving and engaging the needs of the global poor has become one of my life's great passions...and I've often wrestled with the huge question of how you do that which I am called to pursue well...and here's a really solid list that serves as a strong framework from our friends at Catalyst:
1) Pray Deeply
1) Pray Deeply
Transformation starts from within. When the burden for the materially poor grips your heart, the best action step you can do is to pray. Pray for light to shine and darkness to be destroyed. Pray that God would give you wisdom and use your gifts to make a difference and pray that God will comfort those who are suffering. We simply cannot forget that the battle is not flesh and blood.
2) Seek Wisdom
As I travel the globe, my heart breaks often. I see so many people who love God and love people do work that actually may damage the people they are trying to love. Why? Because we have not sought wisdom. We do not understand the depth of culture or the complexity of living in a developing country. Sometimes our passion to "go" is what ruins our ability to see communities transformed. Passion can often get in the way of wisdom! Seek wisdom from key leaders on how to love and serve well.
3) Dig Deep
A shotgun approach to extreme poverty is a sure fire way to not get much done. Ask yourself: what area am I passionate about? Is it orphans, water, anti-trafficking, or job creation? Who is doing that kind of work and how can I help them? There are a few ways to engage with groups that you care about:
Give: Money moves the mission forward. Be generous!
Human Capital: You have gifts, passions and talents. How can you leverage those to make an impact? Do it.
Longevity: Find a few organizations you love and stick with them long term.
4) Activate Your Tribe
Become a storyteller to your family, friends, co-workers and network. Ask them to be involved. Folks have a desire to make a difference. We asked our tribe to tell the simple story of Garage Sale for Orphans. (https://www.helponenow.org/catalyst/) We've raised $300,000 in the last two years and we hope to raise another 1 million in the next two.
We need 1000 people to say "yes" to throwing a garage sale party. 40 kids have been rescued from trafficking, orphans have clean water, and homeless Haitians now have homes and jobs--all through this initiative. Can you join us as well, and become a part of the 1000? You see how simple that was? We would have never been able to make that kind of impact, had our tribe not told our story — it makes a huge difference!
5) Run The Race And Do Not Quit
It is not a sprint. True change takes a long time. I have seen so many passionate "do gooders" burn out quickly as they get frustrated with the reality that changing the world is a slow and steady approach. Pace yourself, keep your main focus on your relationship with God, surround yourself with people of wisdom, find an organization or two and dig deep, activate your tribe and prepare for a marathon, and, little by little, you will see the beauty of transformation.