Proverbs 31:8: Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
World Relief’s commitment to advocacy for justice and on behalf of the poor and oppressed is based on biblical truths and on the example of Jesus. Scripture constantly emphasizes the importance of showing compassion (Matthew 25:31-46), seeking justice (Isaiah 58:1-14), defending what is right (Proverbs 31:8), and showing mercy (Micah 6:8).
World Relief seeks to follow the example of Christ, who intervenes on our behalf to God, as our advocate. Because of Christ’s love and support of us, we receive freedom and eternal life. As Christians we are called to be Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), representing Christ to the world and speaking on His behalf. For this reason, we also defend those who are oppressed, weak and who do not have a voice of their own, whether in Darfur, Burma or the US, just as Christ defends us.
what is advocacy?
Tearfund, an international development organization actively involved in advocacy, provides a great definition:
Seeking with, and on behalf of, the poor to address underlying causes of poverty, bring justice, and support good development through influencing the policies and practices of the powerful.
Advocacy is not just responding to individual needs, but influencing policies and structures that create poverty and oppress God’s children.
We can see a perfect example of an advocate in the life of Esther. She was a normal woman who was suddenly thrust into a position of great influence; as the wife of a King. When she learned of the great injustice happening to the Jewish people, she risked her life to advocate and intervene for them and to persuade the King to show justice and mercy. “‘Who knows,’ said Mordecai to Queen Esther, ‘but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?’”
Esther’s story reminds us that although World Relief may just be one organization, God has given us resources and the ability to make a difference in the lives of many.
World Relief continue to educate and mobilize churches on the important issues of our day and speak out to those in positions of influence so that the vulnerable, oppressed and poor will receive the dignity, rights, and freedom God desires for them.
In World Relief’s, Welcoming the Stranger through Action and Education, you’ll find information on thinking biblically about immigrant and advocating for immigration reform.
Welcoming the Stranger through Action and Education (pdf file 423 KB)
The Refugee Council USA has developed an advocacy manual for agencies like World Relief. However, many of the ideas related to contacting your Senator/Congressman can be used by individuals and small groups as well.
If you like to receive advocacy updates by e-mail, ask to be added to the World Relief advocacy listserv by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- NAE resolution on immigration
Immigration reform legislation
5 ways to engage your congregation