Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Advent Conspiracy 2009

Back in October I attended a conference called Catalyst in Atlanta Georgia. Over 12,000 church leaders from around the globe were in attendance in the Gwinnett Arena. When I I say that I attended the conference, I didn't actually go to the conference itself, but rather had the privilege of representing Nuru alongside about a dozen nonprofit organizations of varying types. Among other nonprofits represented were Invisible Children, Compassion Intl, Hope Intl, and a really cool organization called Advent Conspiracy.

Advent Conspiracy is a really brilliant idea (if you couldn't tell from the video above), that encourages people to re-allocate their funds and their time during the holidays. Last year, this organization raised $500,000 that was invested in the drilling of wells and brought clean drinking water to thousands of people. Not only is this a brilliant idea, but the people who are running this organization are top-notch. While at Catalyst, I was able to talk with them at length about the work they are doing and it really is exciting to see what happens when people change their spending habits just a little bit.

Don't get me wrong, it is great to give and receive gifts during the holiday season, but what if we made gifts instead of buying them. What if we gave our time instead of lots of stuff we don't need. Buying gifts for friends and family isn't horrible thing, but what would happen if we spent a little less on gifts, and instead gave some of that money to save lives and bring a little joy to a stranger. Imagine people having clena drinking water for the first time because of you! Imagine people being rescued from trafficking because of your gift! Imagine entire communities being empowered to lift themselves out of extreme poverty because of you!

To me, that's a celebration that can keep going long after the holiday season. By spending less on ourselves and our families, we can be part of bringing lasting change to others. And beyond that, if we spend less money AND time shopping, we could actually spend some of that time with our loved ones.

If we become part of this "Advent Conspiracy" it means . . .less sitting in traffic, less standing in line, and less money owed on a credit card bill. And this can mean, more lives changed, more quality time with others, and more joy during the holidays!

It's really hard though. We feel badly if we don't spend money on gifts. We feel like there's something missing around Christmas if there aren't lots of packages to open. We can fill that space with our time. We can fill that space with our love. We can cook together and laugh together and make and share stories together.

I hope you enjoyed the video, and that you join in the Advent Conspiracy this holiday season!