Merriam-Webster defines advocate as “one who supports or promotes the interests of a cause or group.” If you’ve given financially to 127, traveled to visit a partner or you receive our monthly prayer letter, you should know that 127 considers you to be an “advocate.” Perhaps you’ve never before identified with that title or maybe you’re new to the work of 127 and wondering who our advocates are.
The name “advocate” for 127 supporters describes our primary role as believers living in America who want to help impact vulnerable communities abroad. We desire to see the orphan, the widow, and the impoverished flourish, and “supporting the interests of a group” describes our part on the team of Christians around the world working together toward that goal. As advocates, we advocate for the cause of someone else. We're the story-tellers who raise our voices on behalf of the vulnerable and, in doing so, we draw attention to the local leaders who are actively meeting the needs of at-risk communities.
But why is advocacy our role in the first place? We're so glad you asked.
1. We’re advocates for the cause of the vulnerable because Jesus is our example.
The New Testament describes Jesus as a self-emptying Savior who sacrificed his spiritual riches to rescue the spiritually impoverished. In 2 Corinthians 8:8-9, Paul claims that seeing Jesus who became poor for us compels us to personally disadvantage ourselves for the advantage of the vulnerable and materially poor. When we think about taking action for the sake of the vulnerable, we remember what Christ has done for us. We can’t turn away from human suffering because Christ did not turn away from us.
2. We’re advocates because we aren’t neighbors.
Seeing the plight of the vulnerable and responding to the example of Jesus summons us to action in many ways. The Bible is full of instructions to care for the people around us, summed up by the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… and you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt. 22:37-39). For our neighbors in need, that love might look like us serving as the immediate hands and feet to provide relief.
But then there’s suffering that isn’t immediately in our path. There’s poverty and family fracturing and hunger on continents far away from our homes. We don’t know the names of these sufferers, and we’re not physically able to love them like our neighbors because, well, they’re not.
So instead of a physical ministry of presence, we practice advocacy. We leverage our social media accounts, our platforms, and our networks to draw attention to their suffering while 127 partners (local leaders serving in that context) actively care for the need of their neighbors. By raising awareness, we can mobilize the body of Christ to work together towards meeting their needs. We follow Proverbs 31:8-9 which urges us to, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves… defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
3. We’re advocates because together we advance the mission of God.
The beauty of recognizing our own geographical limitations is that we get to celebrate God’s work through his global church. He’s already raised up leaders who are caring for their neighbors in the world’s most vulnerable communities, and by working together, we can empower them to flourish. As these local leaders receive the support of our advocacy, they minister among the vulnerable that much more effectively.
Through the work of 127 partners, God is caring for the orphan and the widow and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. By acting as advocates, we get to collaborate with them to produce human flourishing.
127 offers avenues for our advocates to collaborate with local leaders through opportunities to Pray, Give, Go, and Grow. We hope that you too see yourself as an advocate for the vulnerable communities our partners serve and that you grow in advocacy by taking part in these opportunities!