Friday, November 18, 2011

Advent Conspiracy 2011

We've participated as a youth group in Advent Conspiracy for the past few years, and it's been a sweet season every time. The whole concept of AC started back in 2006 when three pastors started asking some questions about the way we do Christmas:

What if Christmas became less about the religion of consumerism and more about worshiping the Creator who entered into His creation? What if people learned to spend less money on material stuff, give more of themselves and their resources into relationships, and loved both the people in their lives and the poor and marginalized of the world? What if we took the money spent on Christmas and used it to end extreme poverty and the water crisis?

Every year, students have embraced this movement of compassion over consumerism. We've partnered with an awesome organization called Global Support Mission each year, using their program Know.Think.Act. in order to meet needs for communities in Uganda.

Two years ago, junior high students raised enough funds to build a well in Mukigando, Uganda. A great friend and volunteer in our student ministry, Allison, got to visit the community last year and see the well that the junior highers funded. It was a sweet kingdom-of-God moment to have a rural community in Uganda be connected with a group of junior highers in suburban Arizona.

This year, the high school students are raising money for another well, this time in the Kyenjojo District of Uganda. I love the creativity this kind of movement fosters, and one of our awesome volunteers, Lora, has posted a fantastic idea on her blog for gifts this Christmas:

To raise money for Advent Conspiracy I’ve created some little handmade wallet sized photo things that look like this….
You can 
1. use it as a bookmark.
2. make it a sweet little reminder in your wallet.
3. use it for a gift label.
4. frame it and keep it at your desk at work
5. put a string on it and hang it from your rearview mirror to look super awesome
6. do something else awesome with it. 
Whatever you do with it you can do it knowing you’re helping someone get clean water for maybe the first time in their lives.
All I’m asking is for 1 dollar a piece as a minimum donation. 
All proceeds go to Advent Conspiracy.
If you’re interested here’s what you should do:
1. Pick out your picture. Go to the album on my Facebook titled (Advent Conspiracy)
2. Pick a few words you’d like to be on your photo. It can be a short verse, a quote, or just a reminder from your heart.
3. Let me know. Either message me on Facebook or email me with the picture you want and what you want it to say.
Depending on who you are I can either get your photo to you by mail or at church. But other than that it’s as easy as 1-2-3.

I'm eager to see what other stories come out of this advent season, what the Spirit of God stirs up in the hearts of students as they learn to give themselves to His mission. The word "advent" comes from a Latin root meaning "arrival." It's the same root for our word "adventure," and following Jesus is certainly an adventure.

Creativity + Compassion + Christ > Consumerism

Anyone else participating in Advent Conspiracy this year? Share your ideas and stories in a comment!

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