Why should Christians engage in advocacy work? Isn’t that getting too political? Learn why as Christians we are called to speak up for people that need our voices.
Advocacy is simply intercessory prayer in action. We pray for each other and for people in need. We ask the Holy Spirit to advocate for us and for each other. Advocacy takes this prayer practice a step further.
Fellowship Southwest advocacy is rooted in the same spirit and call that motivates our mission endeavors: to demonstrate the love of Christ by loving our most neglected and marginalized neighbors. As Christians dedicated to service, we often encounter situations and issues in need of a strong voice. Such encounters create passionate advocates in our churches and among those serving across the globe.
Fellowship Southwest advocacy is about encouraging, equipping and promoting the voice of advocates in our midst as they encounter need. In doing so, we strive to exercise responsible Christian citizenship by modeling a more effective, positive and inclusive public witness for the church.
The goal of Fellowship Southwest advocacy is to discover advocates already at work and to...
- Increase their effectiveness by offering strategic advice and counsel
- Connect them to one another in order to share experiences and best practices
- Connect them to experts — both individuals and trusted organizations
- Promote opportunities for effective and impactful advocacy among our churches and pastors
Do the public schools in your area need support? The answer is almost always a resounding YES. Here is how you can help!
1. Join Pastors For Texas Children
2. Find a local school that your faith community can support.
3. Bolster your mission efforts through advocacy work to ensure that the school you support gets its needs met from the state.
Fellowship Southwest is committed to combating predatory lending in the form of payday lenders and auto/title loans.
The Bible has a lot to say about usury.
Stephen K. Reeves, who leads the advocacy efforts for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has put together a comprehensive library full of documents/resources on payday lending.
The states in the southwest have some of the highest APRs in the country. When people with very limited income and no other resources available have a crisis: a flat tire, a sick child, a broken AC unit, they have very few choices. Payday lenders are often the only way they can make ends meet in an emergency.
One loan leads to the need for another. In fact, 90% of payday loans issued are to recurring customers. The loans are designed to entangle consumers in a debt trap.
Predatory lending directly impacts our communities. When a family’s finances are tied up in outrageous debts, they can’t provide basic necessities for their families like food, diapers and school supplies. Many churches and organizations pick up the slack to help. As Jesus said, “The poor are always with you.” But our resources are often already strained and stretched, and it benefits all of us to empower people away from payday loans so that they aren’t reliant on emergency and relief services from churches.
Fellowship Southwest believes in a twofold approach to predatory lending: Mission and Advocacy. As with many of our projects, the most effective way to help is this twofold approach: provide services and resources to people in need, and advocate for lasting change through public policy.
As a missions approach, creating alternative loan programs is a great way to serve people that might otherwise get trapped in a payday loan debt cycle. This is also a way to help rescue people from their debt cycle by offering a fair loan to pay off their payday loan debt. If you are interested in setting up an alternative loan program partnering a local congregation or group with a local credit union, contact us.
Want to engage in meaningful mission work on the Mexican-American border?
Adopt a Border Community!
Churches on the border are serving people with great needs. People in their congregations and in their communities are plagued by poverty, hunger, housing needs, under-funded schools, high drop out rates, immigration issues and separation of families, and predatory lenders.
If you or your faith community is looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of people living on the border, you have a unique opportunity. Adopt a Border Community and commit to serving alongside the people there and supporting them in their work.
What do we do when we adopt a border community?
- Plan a mission trip to the border
- Worship together
- Listen, hear their stories, seek to understand their unique environment
- Find out about their ongoing missions and ministries and see how you can help
- Share their stories and what you learn with your own faith community and network
- Send financial support for their ministries
Diann Berry, a CBF Field Personnel, has been working in the Rio Grande Valley since 2005. She blogs about the work happening in her community. Read along and understand more about life and ministry in the Valley.
Although not a disaster relief organization, Fellowship Southwest responds when major disasters strike, doing this through its own resources or in concert with partner organizations. Fellowship Southwest's model for response ministry is to be a long-term presence, helping communities recover and rebuild. We might be among the last to arrive, but are often the last to leave.
We believe that God’s love is experienced more deeply in a faith community. If you would like help finding the right church for you, we can do that. Just contact Marv Knox at 214-335-7719 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help.
If there isn’t a good option for you nearby, we can also help start a new church connected to Fellowship Southwest. Let us know if we can help serve you and your community in this way.
Fellowship Southwest seeks a two-sided relationship with its partner congregations. There are many opportunities for you to serve the community through Fellowship Southwest, and Fellowship Southwest also wants to serve you and support you internally. We have a wide network of churches and ministers, and we want to help you connect to that and become stronger because of it.
Pastors need opportunities for their own spiritual renewal and time to connect with colleagues and build community. Fellowship Southwest invites ministers into a supportive network where they can be fed by mentorship, retreats and conferences.
It is heavy to take on the needs of your communities and the world on your own, and yet many churches are doing just that. Fellowship Southwest wants to be a source for sharing your best ministry practices, so that other congregations can learn from you and you can learn from others. When we share our experiences, it helps churches to not have to recreate the wheel whenever a new ministry begins.
Sometimes the work of the kingdom grows heavy. But if we take on Jesus' yoke, he promises that the burden will be light and he will give us rest. One way that Jesus lightens our load is by giving us a fellowship that shares the work, encourages each another, and celebrates the good things. We are people of hope, people of joy, and our communities are a hub of celebration. There are many ministries that spread the joy and love of Christ in our communities, and Fellowship Southwest wants to celebrate these acts too.
Follow Fellowship Southwest on social media, be inspired by the work of the Holy Spirit throughout our region, and copy what you like!
Good God, George Mason (coming soon)
Fellowship Southwest serves as a resource to churches that are searching for a new pastor. Let us talk with you about the role of a search committee and provide some resources for you during your time of transition.
We specifically advocate for finding a place for young ministers and women ministers to serve God in healthy congregations. We support the education and formation of these ministers, and are committed to helping churches open their hearts and pulpits to them.