Have you heard about the Change the World Event, April 24-25?
Maybe you have. Maybe you haven't.
It's an initiative of the ReThink Church working group at United Methodist Communications to encourage local United Methodist congregations worldwide to do two things that weekend:
1) Get outside their walls on April 24 and do something together or as smaller groups to improve lives in their local community.
2) Act as one in emphasizing World Malaria Day on April 25.
Congregations around the world are signing up for this at the Change the World Event website. As they do, a pushpin indicator shows up on the Google Maps app on that site with information about who they are and what they're planning to do that weekend.
One of the things I'm liking about how this is going is the approach of several Global South congregations and conferences. They're not looking for handouts (as if they ever were!). No. They're looking to be partners where they are doing what they can do to raise awareness and eradicate malaria on the ground. So on April 24 in Mozambique, one of the "community day" actions will be filling up areas on the ground that are known to gather standing water and so breed the mosquitos that spread malaria. It's as basic as it comes-- and it will make a big difference wherever it occurs. If you click around on the map, you'll start to get a sense of how different communities are planning to respond worldwide.
At this point, something over 130 congregations have signed up to do something that weekend.
For it to change the world more than locally, though, EVEN for it to draw more than a few shrugs from the within UMC, we're going to need far more than that. Think thousands rather than hundreds. Think not just "imagine no malaria" but "give malaria a huge kick in the proboscis."
But to do that, word with strong encouragement to participate needs to get out. "Changing the World" and "Imagining No Malaria" and even "getting outside the walls" are "nice ideals" but no more than that if we don't get a strong, even massive, level of participation worldwide. We need not be seen as "religious folk with good intentions." No, this is an opportunity to incarnate "spreading scriptural holiness across the land!"
So, I'm asking you to do two things.
1) Go to http://www.rethinkchurch.org/changetheworld and get as many people in your social networks and faith communities to do the same. There's lots to see there-- and links to a webinar, more information about other churches doing this, a YouTube video, and resources for worship and ministry both that weekend and the previous one leading up to it.
2) Sign up indicating how you and your faith community will be part of the actions that weekend.
3) Keep spreading the world about this far and wide. On Twitter, the hashtag for this event and Mike Slaughter's book of the same name is #changeworld. Drive traffic there-- smash the API limits!
Oh, that's three, THREE things!
Let it not be said, "No one's expecting the Change the World Event!" Let it rather be said, "No one expected just how committed these Christians are to be in mission where they are AND globally to end malaria!"
Peace in Christ,