Finding Stories that Reach the Heart
While preparing to do an Offering of Letters at your church, you’ve got your Offering of Letter kit, and the date is set on your church calendar, but you feel a lack of excitement. Your congregation just doesn’t get the importance of advocacy the way you do. Now the frustration hits, but you know this is part of your call and you know God has called God's people to speak up for the most vulnerable.
How do reach people? Stories. Stories reach the heart. Stories are all around us.
I’m passionate about making sure the Earned Income Tax Credit is made permanent because I listened to Ian Finch tell the story of how that hand up helped transform his family’s life. At our Portland, OR, workshop last weekend, Rev. Jim Anderson, who just returned from Africa, made protecting poverty-focused foreign assistance personal to me. In a 10-minute talk he introduced us to Eliya, and AIDS orphan in Tanzania, and explained how USAID funded programs were making Eliya’s life better. (Read his blog post.)
I will often share my experience last year visiting a Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinic with Sen. Jeff Merkley, and how what I saw made me a staunch advocate for nutrition assistance programs.
Often in our work as advocates, we fight for programs, but never see the faces that depend on those life-lines. We talk about statistics and dollar amounts and we know those facts are important, but that kind of conversation can become a numbers game. What I saw at the WIC clinic was a room full of happy, healthy children and their families. WIC is not just about that $60 to $70 a month that mothers get. WIC is about the dynamic between the amazing people who really care about these families and the nutrition education that can lead to a healthier life. With every baby, they are playing the long game, and though they may never see the result, they know it makes a better future for the families.
So if you are frustrated with building excitement in your church, find a story, tell a story, and touch a heart.
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