Welcome To “My Brother’s Keeper”
“True religion confronts earth with heaven and brings eternity to bear upon time. The messenger of Christ, though he speaks from God, must also, as the Quakers used to say, ‘speak to the condition’ of his hearers; otherwise he will speak a language known only to himself. His message must be not only timeless, but timely. He must speak to his own generation.” – A. W. Tozer
In the generation since A. W. Tozer made the above penetrating observation, Christianity has (for the most part) squandered enormous resources of time, money and energy speaking a language known only to itself, while ignoring the universally understood “language of the Kingdom of God”; the language of God’s love and compassion, embodied in good deeds done in His Name.
Christian philosopher and apologist Ravi Zacharias has posed the penultimate question of our day, namely, how do we effectively reach a generation of people who “listen with their eyes and think with their feelings”? I believe the answer is for each of us to “re-learn” this “language of the Kingdom” and to once again become legendary for our good deeds. By doing so, we will enable people of ths generation to listen with their eyes, to think with their feeling and to have open hearts and open minds to the good news of the Kingdom.
And that brings us to “My Brother’s Keeper.”
View Our Promotional Video
What Is “My Brother’s Keeper”
“My Brother’s Keeper” is an idea for a half hour television “reality” program demonstrating how Christians, Churches, businesses, ministries, agencies and people throughout community can come together to change the life of a person or a family in crisis. What if we as a community – particularly as a Christian community – could mobilize hundreds of volunteers, dozens of Churches, scores of businesses along with ministries and community agencies on an on-going basis to help real people solve real problems of hunger, homelessness, unemployment and many more practical issues which keep people stuck in their circumstances. Imagine bringing the people and resources together to help a homeless veteran or a homeless family get on their feet or helping homeless teens to get off the street and maybe even re-connect with their families. Imagine not just highlighting problems in our community, but actually solving them one person and one problem at a time. “My Brother’s Keeper” is all about Christians working with their communities to solve real problems by serving others and speaking “the language of the Kingdom.” And imagine creating a genuine model of solving problems by serving people, and then duplicating that model in communities all over the country.
A Philosophy For Becoming Legendary
“My Brother’s Keeper” embodies a simple-but-profound biblical truth: Sometimes the Kingdom of God tastes like a hot meal; feel like a warm blanket; comes in the form of a job offer, a Walmart gift card, a free car repair, a paid trip to the supermarket and a host of other acts of compassion and kindness. We’ve spent a considerable portion of this book examining the biblical teaching and importance of good deeds in the life of the professing believer. All of that teaching can be summed up in an underlying philosophy which stands behind “My Brother’s Keeper.” That philosophy was best expressed 250 years ago by John Wesley, leader of the Evangelical Awakening in England, founder of the Methodist Church and a legend when it came to good deeds and speaking “the language of the Kingdom.” He expressed it this way:
“Do all the good you can,
by all the means you can,
in all the ways you can,
in all the places you can,
at all the times you can,
to all the people you can,
as long as you can.”
Now, THAT is a philosophy for becoming legendary, and it is the unspoken-but-universal language of the Kingdom of God. The philosophical goal of “My Brother’s Keeper” is to demonstrate the love of God toward people in need and to do it in practical ways which they can understand and appreciate within the context of their own life-struggles. In the process, we want to highlight the positive role that believers and churches can have and the positive contribution they can make in addressing and solving the practical problems which affect the lives of those around us.
Five Specific Goals
Now, in addition to having a catchy philosophy, a project the size of “My Brother’s Keeper” needs some specific goals. We have five:
1. To Help – First and foremost, we want to provide practical help for real people in crisis. The “big idea” here is to identify specific practical problems which are keeping real people and families stuck in their particular life-crisis. Once we have identified the people and the problems, we want to rally Churches, ministries, agencies, businesses and people to offer practical help and solutions.
2. To Highlight – Next, we want to highlight those Churches, ministries, agencies, businesses and people which are making a difference in the community by serving people and solving problems. The “big idea” here is that there are people and organizations in our community which are actively helping people to solve practical problems. We want to give them the positive exposure and support they need and deserve.
3. To Stimulate – Do you remember “Good Deeds Principle #15: Stimulate One Another” which we explored back in Chapter 4? The third goal of “My Brother’s Keeper” is to stimulate greater community involvement in serving those in need. Yes, it’s time to “incite” and “provoke,” just as we learned earlier. Why? Because people need both the motivation (“stimulation”) and the opportunity to “do the right thing.” And because we need more people at the table. There are people throughout our community who, if given the opportunity and a little encouragement, would step up and get involved serving those in need in our community. We want to offer them opportunities to get involved.
4. To Raise Awareness – The fourth goal of “My Brother’s Keeper” is to raise public awareness of specific widespread and chronic issues which affect quality of life within our community, including, but not limited to, issues such as hunger and homelessness (we currently have initial plans for episodes of “My Brother’s Keeper” dealing with ten different issues, and that’s just for starters!).
5. To Give Back – Our final goal is to raise financial resources, above and beyond the cost of producing “My Brother’s Keeper,” which we can sow back into the lives of people in need and ministries which are serving people and meeting needs.
An Idea Whose Time Has Come!
“My Brother’s Keeper” is a biblical idea whose time has come. Every major city and community in America is looking for practical approaches to doing real good and solving real problems. The good news is that, today, more and more people are looking for practical ways to do good and to make a difference in their communities. “My Brother’s Keeper” could give them both the encouragement and opportunity they’ve been looking for. Why not bring together the best people and ideas that our community has to offer in order to solve real problems for real people. People understand doing the right thing for the right reason and serving other people. I can only imagine what would happen if more people and Churches stepped out of their comfort zones and got more involved doing the right thing. What a great opportunity for Christians to take the lead in doing good (just as we learned in “Good Deeds Principle #9″ in Chapter 4) and bringing our communities together to help people and solve problems.
A Video Reality Project Unfolds
When fully developed, the plan for “My Brother’s Keeper” is to produce a one-half hour television “reality” show documenting issues of hunger, homelessness and a wide variety of related issues. The program will showcase how a Churches and communities come together to address a chronic social issue by changing the life of a person or a family in crisis. The plot and procedure of each program (with variations) will unfold along the following basic outline:
What? – The exposé – This is the stage of the program that develops and explains a specific widespread problem that affects our community (for example, homelessness among men, including military veterans; homelessness among women with children and the lack of shelter space for women in crisis).
Who? – The Personification – In this part of the program we will identify and introduce a specific person (or family) who is struggling with this issue. This person will have been pre-selected and screened through a recognized organization experienced in working with this particular population. We want to assure that the need is legitimate and to establish a level of confidence regarding their ability to succeed moving forward. Through a process of pre-interview we will determine some of the underlying issues and needs which, if met and resolved, could put this person on a path toward long-term success.
How? – The Implementation – This is where we will bringing together a combination of Churches, ministries, agencies, businesses and individuals (who have agreed to participate) to help address the issues which have been identified. At this point in the program we will introduce positive solutions to the practical problems which have kept this person or family stuck in their circumstances and unable to move forward.
Sample Program Plot
The following is a fictional sample plot of a possible “My Brother’s Keeper” program. I include it here for illustration purposes.
The program theme is “homeless families” and the opening 5 minutes of the program documents the plight of homeless families in our community (and elsewhere) and the extent of the problem. The “My Brother’s Keeper” team assembles at a café venue and participating business in north Spokane to discuss the problem and how we can help with the solution. The focus then narrows to the Juarez family (a mom, dad and two kids). They came to town pursuing job prospects which fell through. When their resources ran out they ended up sleeping in their car and eating at a local ministry serving free breakfast out of a Church basement. We interview the director of the breakfast ministry about what they do and who comes through. As the program progresses, the Juarez family is taken in by a faith-based ministry which works with and provides residential shelter for homeless families. We interview the director who talks about what they do and who comes to them. Together we interview the Juarez family. We discover that the dad has some job prospects, but is hindered by lack of suitable work clothes and no reliable transportation because their car has broken down. They can’t get out of the hospitality network until they have enough money for deposits and rent. Working with local churches and agencies “My brother’s Keeper” finds and presents the following solutions: A local private garage owner agrees to help out by towing and fixing their car (for free) so they will have reliable transportation. A small participating church offers to take up a special offering and take the Juarez family clothes shopping for new clothes. A local realtor and property manager agrees to help find suitable housing for the family, while a larger participating church decides to take up an offering and pay all deposits, rent and utilities for the family for 6 months while they get on their feet. They will also take them grocery shopping. The program ends with a “job well done” discussion among the team and a discussion of how people in the local community watching the program can volunteer and get involved helping families in crisis.
The Incredible Potential of “My Brother’s Keeper”
“My Brother’s Keeper” will be examining issues and solving problems which are present in communities all over America from Hawai’i to Maine, and from Alaska to Florida. In addition to the immediate benefit of helping people in need throughout our community, we believe “My Brother’s Keeper” presents us with some amazing opportunities and incredible potential:
1. The potential exists to reproduce the program and its model in communities coast-to-coast as a successful tool for rallying local communities to address and solve chronic social problems.
2. It presents us with an opportunity to inform and motivate large numbers of new people concerning the practical issues and needs within our community and how critical their own involvement could be in helping to meet those needs and to address those issues.
3. It presents us with a unique opportunity to change the public perception of Christians and Churches as uninvolved and uncaring regarding the practical needs of struggling people in our community.
4. It presents us with a unique opportunity to express the values and good news of the Kingdom of God in practical terms which are intrinsically good, outwardly attractive and easily understood by those who witness and experience them.
5. It presents us with a unique opportunity to offer interested viewers practical opportunities to respond and become involved in good deeds throughout their community.
6. It presents us with an opportunity to raise funds, above and beyond the cost of producing the program, to sow back into the lives of people in need and to support the work of ministries which are making a difference.
Here’s How You Can Step Up And Get Involved!
Are you ready to become legendary?! If what I’ve shared so far interests you – even excites you – then consider this your invitation to get involved and to make a real and tangible difference in the lives of people in need. This is your opportunity to be part of something bigger than yourself; to serve those in need; to become “legendary” in good deeds; and to make a difference for the Kingdom of God. Here are some specific ways you can get involved right now!:
1. Tell Your Story! Let’s start by making this personal. Perhaps you are like the lovely lady at the Rental Car Agency I introduced earlier (see page nine). You have a personal story of struggle, faith and overcoming adversity (unemployment, homelessness, drug addiction, etc.) that no one else knows. You may even think your story isn’t worth telling; that no one would be interested. We disagree. We want to hear your story. As part of our “Everyone Has A Story” Project, we are looking for real people who are willing to tell their unique stories of how their life journey has brought them to where they are today. We want to publish the best and most compelling of those stories in a series of books tentatively entitled “Everyone Has A Story.” This is your opportunity to tell your story! You can learn more on our website (risingrivermedia.org). Click here for all the details on how to submit your story.
2. Tell Us About The Good Deeds You Are Involved In! You may be one of those “shining lights” of the Kingdom who has been involved in “doing good” to those around you without telling anyone or making a “big deal” about it. Or perhaps your Church or ministry has been at work doing good. We want to hear stories of your personal involvement. Click here for all the details on how to submit your story.
3. Challenge Your Church To Become Involved! We’re looking for Churches, ministries, businesses and individuals who want to bring their unique gifts and resources to the table to serve people in need and to solve specific problems.
4. Become A Financial Partner! We can’t do this alone. We need your help and participation. We’re looking for financial donors, sponsors and advertisers who want to be a part of sponsoring the production of “My Brother’s Keeper.”
5. Volunteer! We’re looking for volunteers willing to donate their time as support staff to help with such things as legal work, accounting, research, script writing, advance production work, technical production and editing, web production and more.