I mentioned briefly in yesterday's post that I attended a leadership conference last week with the leaders of my church (our main Worship Arts Pastor invited me to attend--he has been kindly training and guiding me in leading worship for the past 16 months). There were over 15 speakers and presenters at this conference, all with distinguished and exceptional leadership credentials (such as, Condoleezza Rice, to name just one). All the speakers were not only truly gifted speakers and entertainers, but shared such soulful advice and humble counsel on what leadership means to them, what works/doesn't work as a leader, and how they derive the energy and perseverance it takes to be an effective leader from their relationship with Christ (and His great example of it). I took so many notes (shocking, I know), that my head is still swimming with all the thoughts and ideas shared. If you've never been to one of these conferences, I highly recommend it--even if your domain of leadership consists of being a wife, a mother, and/or a servant to others. Being in service to others is one of the great areas of leadership, and the associated idea of, "humbly serving those you lead," was also a core point at the conference.
In fact, several of the speakers, like Pranitha Timothy, do the kind of leading that one might call, "servant leading." She isn't afraid to get her hands dirty doing the dangerous and tough work that is required in her position as the Director of Aftercare, International Justice Mission, in Chennai, India. Pranitha's job is to rescue and rehabilitate children and young women/men who've been kidnapped and sold into the slave trade (for forced labor or sex trafficking). Her Mission provides both legal and basic support to these rescued victims, as well as, educational support to help them begin a new life. The realm of influence we have on those we feed, clothe, and support is not to be taken lightly. It is by her caring for one life at a time that the world gets changed for the better. She cannot save everyone, but she can save some. People think the world's issues are too great to ever be solved, so why bother. But Pranitha, as well as many of the other speakers, all agreed that this mentality is just an excuse for apathy. We are all called to try to, "be the change we want to see in the world," regardless of how huge a dent we think we can make in the problem. I was thoroughly inspired by her tireless hope, humility, and by the great love that clearly drives her to rescue God's children who desperately need an advocate.
Obviously, we are not all called and equipped to go into India and rescue people out of the slave trade. But those of us here in America have the blessing of financial abundance (or at least, the vast majority of us do), and financing missions and charities with honest social conscience is fundamental in helping our fellow brothers and sisters with whom we share the planet. People doing the dirty work, like Pranitha, greatly need our help--their missions wouldn't exist without monetary support from donors, fundraisers, and average folks like you and me. I believe in the work that Pranitha is doing and am placing her site below. If you are one of the blessed 60% of Americans who, according to the WSJ, dines out a minimum of 9 times a week, please consider going to the link and giving to IJM (International Justice Mission). I am reminded of the widely-authored quote that states, "The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members." Even American children are being kidnapped and sold into slavery. This problem needs our attention, and as you know, it takes money to make the world go 'round (and many times, for good to triumph over evil). That reminds me of another quote (by Edmund Burke), "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
I am also including links to, "Compassion International" and "Trash Mountain Project"--two other charities I believe are doing God's work to a level of integrity and focus unparalleled. You can view videos on all three of these sites to get a better feel for the work being done for each. I think you'll be equally impressed. It is important to give money to missions and charities that we not only trust with responsible stewardship, but in which we also see real purpose and heart (and children suffering bodily harm and damage is about as purposeful as a charity gets)! These charities have soul and much more. So skip a meal out each month, and give a needy child invaluable, priceless hope. You'll be taking the first step toward servant-leadership, and you won't regret it. God bless you, and God save the children.
IJM (International Justice Mission):
Trash Mountain Project