The Front Porch: When Normal Becomes Revolutionary
When it comes to changing the world, I always thought it would start with something big. It would entail casting a vision with hundreds of people involved, while people would be set free, and justice would be experienced on a large scale level. I thought revolutionary things happened with revolutionary moments. However, since working at ACT, I have learned that changing the world is rooted within the most humble of situations. It seems the normal moments that are given purpose are truly the ones that become revolutionary.
Within the public interest field, especially within Christian culture, words like “social justice” and “world change” come out easy and are praised to no end. These things are good, important and reflective of the gospel. But how they play out looks a lot different than what I ever thought before.
My time at ACT consisted of a myriad of things: some administration work, some social media/development exposure, and a few community visits as well. Some of the most impactful experiences came from the simplest of moments. It was the moments that I was placed outside of my comfort zone, and entered into the reality of my ignorance and pride, that I saw a lack of true social justice in the way I live my day to day life. Working at ACT opened my eyes to the true foundation of world change; the gospel and an understanding of God’s grace. Jesus humbled himself to the point of death for us, that we may experience freedom. He declares us as innocent because of His sacrifice, so that we may be eternally His sons and daughters. His love and life for us was the ultimate picture of justice. As that truth sinks in, grace and justice in our hearts become a natural overflow to the other people around us, changing lives by pointing them to the One who has saved theirs.
My time at ACT has also shown me that obedience in intentionally making the most of every moment I am given is an opportunity to carry out justice and to change the world. This realization did not come by theological mentorship nor did it come from memorizing some mission or vision statement with trigger words. Realizing that changing the world is a daily choice came from the small, day to day tasks and conversations with staff and community residents.
Prayer with the entire staff happened every day. Phones weren’t answered, meetings were not scheduled, and the focus was on building community and lifting up requests, expectantly to the Lord. It was a way to acknowledge the true World Changer, and bring our desire for justice to the ultimate Mover and Shaker. I will never see prayer as an add-on or as a small thing again.
Another example of world change being found in the ordinary came from my community visits. I will never forget my first visit with one of the community advocates. We met with a 92 year old man. Being a planner, and just a people-pleaser in nature, I asked questions on the drive over to inquire about who we were talking to, what the purpose was and how to best interact with this particular resident. But then it hit me. There is not a formula for building relationships. Connecting with someone comes solely from the Lord providing such words and wisdom. And it was there, sitting on his front porch, that I saw more of Jesus. We talked about ford trucks, drug-deals and TV shows, not about social justice or changing the world. It was through one conversation that He revealed more of His character, and more of His heart for justice than any book I have read ever has before. It was a conversation on that front porch that defined social justice in a way nothing else ever had. I saw that social justice is a natural response to what Christ has done for us. The gospel is never too big to be lived out in small day-to-day moments; it was intended to permeate every aspect of our life, giving the most menial things significant meaning.
I am leaving ACT for now, but the truths and convictions that I have learned from my time at ACT are not leaving me. It is my prayer that the heart for justice, conviction to act, desire for obedience, patience in waiting, diligence in work, and genuine community, and love for Jesus that I have seen at ACT are each components of a foundation that will always be a part of who He has made me to be for His kingdom. I am thankful for the men and women of ACT, who visit front porches and meet with donors and make schedules for the sake of bringing justice to the least of these. They are truly world changers and have encouraged me to see every moment as a front porch moment: one that has the ability to change this very world in which we live.