With so much going on in the world today, it can feel hard to stay true to your faith and not get lost in all our modern human concerns. There is a great deal of injustice, social unrest, and scary environmental problems occurring globally. And yet, many Christians aren’t sure if they are even allowed to be activists, given the growing stigma behind the word.
Christians not only can be activists; they should be activists, as they are called upon by God to do his good works. In the bible, God called upon all Christians to take up some form of activism to help their fellow man.
Dive into God’s word about activism and advocacy, explore the powerful ways in which you can be an active agent for God by promoting kindness, love, unity, and selflessness. As a Christian, you are being called upon to engage in activism, and below you’ll learn exactly why and how you can respond to this call!
Why Should Christians Become Activists?
In the bible, Jesus commands his followers: “Walk with me, work with me, watch how I do it.” (Matthew 11:29). Jesus was an activist; he spoke up for the downtrodden, the forgotten, the poor, the broken & misguided. He was their advocate. He gave them a voice when they had none. As a Christian, you are called to live a life like Christ’s, and that means some level of activism.
Are you giving a helping hand to your fellow man, no matter their race, sex, or station in life? If you aren’t, then you are not exploring a very important aspect of your Christianity.
If your spirituality has grown deeply entrenched in politics, it might be time to dig yourself out of the trench. Yes, some activism is tied to politics, but many areas of activism are not because activism aligns more with humanitarian efforts and acts of goodwill toward man.
Love, Mercy, and Good Works
To walk this life on the Christian path means to lean into love, mercy, and good works. Ephesians 5:16 states that we must “make the best use of time because the days are evil.” Your days are not best used worrying about material things, coveting money, and forever climbing the ladder of success.
There are many successful, rich, and beautiful people in this world. There are not enough kind, generous, and philanthropic people in this world. “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13).
Conflating Activism with Current Politics
Perhaps you currently view activism as a left-leaning political activity. It simply is not. Activism takes many shapes and forms and is available to all people. It is paramount to remember that God doesn’t separate us into groups…humans do. While the difference in beliefs, politics, zip codes, race, sex, etc., may matter to us petty humans, it does not matter to God.
What does that mean? It means the division we feel, the disconnection we feel to others, is self-produced. God did not assign us the roles of “democrat” and “republican”– we assigned ourselves and gave those labels meaning.
We are responsible for dividing ourselves into groups and pronouncing hate toward the group that is not our own. If what’s keeping you from standing up for human rights, peace and unity is that you associate it with ‘the other group’s thing,’ then you need to take some time to reflect and reprioritize.
How do you do this? Dive back into God’s word and ignore the shouting of the men and women on the news, as well as the echo chamber that is social media. Proverbs 12:25 says “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”
The world is being fueled on outrage, biased viewpoints, and scandal. Refocus your mind and meditate on what God is asking of you (not what CNN or Fox News is asking of you).
“I find my delight in your commandments, which I love. I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.” (Psalm 119:45-48)
Different Ways to Express your Activism
Many people think being an ‘activist’ means simply protesting and hoisting up signs. Activism and advocacy are so much more than protesting, though protesting can be an effective way to show your support for your given cause.
Education & Outreach
Once you have entrenched yourself in the knowledge of your specific cause, one of the best ways to help that cause is to continue spreading information and awareness about it. A wonderful way to do this is by talking to your friends and acquaintances about what you are learning.
Be open with your journey and be willing to be vulnerable about your emotions and experience throughout your education.
Admitting your ignorance on a certain subject helps others to feel less shame about their own personal lack of awareness. Vulnerability draws others in; it creates a safe space for others to relate to us, and as a bi-product, more willing to listen and get involved themselves!
If you’d like to take your education and outreach a step further, beyond just your circle of family and friends, you can create educational opportunities online or through peer-to-peer programs. Maybe your church has a charity league! Ask them if they’d allow you to speak to its members about this cause that’s been laid upon your heart.
Create an online community, do live social media videos, share videos interviewing experts on this cause, get the message out!
Create a Petition or Public Awareness Campaign
Petitions and PSA’s (public service announcements) are powerful tools for change. If you get enough signatures on a petition and send that petition to your local congressperson, they have a duty to consider its validity.
Creating videos and artistic mediums to create public awareness are also highly effective. Perhaps you are both a Christian and an actor and happen to be passionate about protecting the earth that God created for us. You can create a video PSA and use your passion and purpose for a greater good.
If there is a piece of legislation you feel passionate about, that speaks to God’s word, you can join organizations that support that legislature, or you yourself can open dialogue or create social outreach as to why that legislation is so important.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had a tremendous impact on American society. To say it had no effect or did not promote actual change would be false. This is why getting behind important legislation can be an amazingly effective way to advocate for a compelling cause.
Donate & Hold Fundraisers
Another active way to support a worthy cause is by raising funds to help push that cause forward. Fundraisers can be big or as small as you like. They can consist of selling things, holding auctions, offering entertainment, and or sponsoring certain events. The non-profit theatre, The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, holds an annual fundraising event for their big-spending donors, which includes performances from the greatest artists on the planet.
Meanwhile, other organizations have found ways to pair with local five-star chefs, where those chefs bake an exclusive baked good, like a pie, and all the proceeds of that treat go directly to the cause in question. Check out And Gather for Good. Their online bake-sales sell out in a matter of minutes!
If holding fundraisers feel like too much of an effort, you can donate your own personal earnings and savings. After all, God asks that we tithe 10% of all earnings, for what we do with a little, we do with a lot. Even if all you can donate is $1, that is more than nothing. Often such offerings, even when you have little, will draw more to you.
There are so many hurting children, vulnerable citizens, and struggling communities that need our attention. One of the best ways to help is to physically show up and extend a helping hand. In Acts 28:2, it says, “The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.”
How can you help the helpless? How can you show unusual kindness in a modern world that can otherwise feel terribly unkind?
Donate your time at a local woman’s shelter to offer a helping hand, mentorship, and friendship. There are programs that encourage volunteers to participate in support groups or work helplines that provide useful information. Or volunteer at your local soup kitchen and meet and feed those you normally wouldn’t meet in your community.
The more connected you begin to feel to your community, the more enthusiastic you will feel about helping those in that community that needs extra help and love.
Change your Line of Work to Non-Profit
Sometimes when you get invested in activism and helping one or perhaps even many different causes, you might start to question your larger purpose in this world. Perhaps you were made for activism and philanthropy.
Maybe your 9 to 5 job no longer suits the person you are becoming, and that’s okay! One of the scariest things to do is to change careers after a lengthy period of working in the same field or at the same company. However, it is never too late to make a change that better suits your soul.
There is a myriad of non-profit organizations that you can work for, even remotely, so your passion for helping others, the planet, and animals can be integrated into your livelihood. Working for a non-profit does not mean you’re doing free work. Non-profits pay their employees! And the emotionally rewarding feeling you gain is invaluable.
If you are currently volunteering your time for free at a specific organization, ask what job opportunities they have available, and submit your resume! Your continued display of passion will already be proof that you’d be a great fit at their organization.
For example, World Vision International is a Christian organization that helps people all around the world. They do humanitarian work that would make God proud, and it is an excellent organization to work for should you feel so-called.
Protesting has been conflated with looting and rioting, as though the two intrinsically go hand in hand. But it is simply not true. Protesting has been turned into a scary word that has been tainted by the news and current events. Just to clear the air here… 96% of protests in the United States are peaceful. It is only 4% of all protests that involve forms of misconduct and unruly behavior, like rioting or looting.
So, if you are equating protests with riots and that’s keeping you from standing alongside your brothers and sisters in support, let us free you from your fears.
Protesting is an immensely powerful expression of activism. Unless you have experienced it firsthand, it is hard to explain just how intense it feels to walk beside your neighbors in unity, demanding justice, change, and help for the helpless.
The key is finding the right cause for you. The public expression of showing your passion will make you feel part of a larger movement and can also connect you to like-minded individuals who share that same passion.
Call & Write Letters
Never underestimate the power of a well-written letter or an impassioned phone call! One way to be an activist is to call your local government officials, write letters to corporations, etc. and implore them to do better.
In the United States, 88% of Congress publicly claims the Christian faith. If you know your Congressperson is a Christian, speak to them about God’s word and what God has called upon them to do.
Run for Political Office
When some people get involved in the community, town halls, and activism, it can often lead them into a life of politics. While politics may seem like an entirely unchristian entity, most individuals who pursue a political office do so (at least initially) for the better good.
Politicians get bogged down by the promises they make, which they cannot keep or are later forced to keep. However, there is no saying that as a Christian, you can’t take political office in a different way. You can make a commitment to yourself and to your faith to maintain your honor, integrity, and faith even while holding political office.
When you do hold political office, you are at the helm of change. You have an actual say in what does and does not pass into legislation. If activism calls to you in a larger way, holding political office might be the right move for you. After all, when we feel we are being called for a purpose, Christianity teaches that we should listen to God’s urging.
Discovering the Cause You Can Get Behind
If you do not yet know what causes you feel passionate about, you do not need to get behind something just to ‘tick off the box’ of being a Christian, or an activist, or a Christian activist. God knows your heart, and if you aren’t truly behind a cause, there is no point in pretending to be.
You will know when you’ve found the right cause to get behind because you will be filled with emotions and an insatiable desire to help and create change. There are so many issues in the world that will want your attention – give yours to the one that calls to your individual heart.
Sometimes finding your cause might require stepping out of your comfort zone. If you live in a safe and quiet neighborhood and only interact with people who are exactly like you, you might be blissfully unaware of all the things that need improving upon in this world.
Go visit a neighborhood you’ve never stepped foot in. Go travel to a country that is suffering from great poverty. Visit animal shelters, homeless shelters, and refugee centers. It will not be easy, it will be incredibly challenging, but it helps to see the pain and suffering that occurs if you want to be an agent of help and comfort.
The Key Take Away
There is no one right way to be an activist, but God calls upon all his children to promote positive change in the world and to help save the beautiful earth he created, and to show love and mercy to all human beings. Period.
It is okay to feel fearful at first, but do not let your fear of the unknown and fear of discomfort keep you from doing God’s work. Remember, God said, “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous hand” (Isaiah 41:10)