Labels

We live in an interesting world of societally-created designations. Put in simpler terms, we create some interesting words and labels. For example, take Kingdom Causes Bellflower. KCB is a “faith-based” organization, which is a designation that we embrace. We are unapologetically about loving our neighbors as ourselves because this is what Christ asks of His followers.

If you go to our website, you can read through our mission and vision statements, as well as our Statement of Faith. Included in our mission is the vision statement, “Our VISION is to see Bellflower transformed as God’s people live out the Great Commission locally.” That is what drives our work, and why we continue to pursue our mission.

What has become clear over the years is that society is not always comfortable with faith-based organizations. The concern is usually centered on two areas. One, there is a fear that faith-based organizations will only help their own, and that there may be a literal or metaphorical ideology detector at the front door. Two, there is a concern that the work being doing is restricted to proselytizing, which is a big word for witnessing, evangelizing or sharing a specific religious message. In practice, the fear would be that KCB walks up and down the streets hurling Bibles at our homeless neighbors, rather than helping them with more tangible needs.

We have found that some foundations will not even consider funding us because we are faith-based, even when we present clear evidence that we have a proven track record in the areas of homeless prevention, affordable housing, job creation and neighborhood development. The frustrating irony is that faith-based organizations can be the victim of discrimination by other entities that are fearful of discrimination. As I said, we live in an interesting world.

Lest this become a long lament about government designations or narrow foundation criteria, let us focus on some realities. In recent decades, the church has not done a good enough job showing love. We have talked about love, but we have also talked about a lot of other things that have turned society off to the Gospel message. To be fair, being a Christ-follower has never been about fitting in with society, nor will it ever be. In addition, the church has also done some amazing work around the world, loving people in myriad ways.

The point here is that we can still do a better job convincing people that when we talk about love, we mean it. Obviously, the word love is very broad, and secular society has used that word to justify all sorts of random behaviors and lifestyles. That doesn’t change the fact that we can always help our neighbor. At KCB, we do our best to get people off the street and prevent them from ending up there in the first place. We work to repair broken families, and keep fractured units from splitting. In addition, we work to create jobs, so that our neighbors can sustain themselves, make good choices, and be contributors to society.

Our faith-based status is something that we will not compromise on, and in some cases, it will cost us. Some people will understand that our faith is not just what we do, but why we do it. Regardless of who we encounter, we will do our best to help them. Society will suggest that you don’t need a specific faith to help your fellow human being, and they would be right. However, it certainly adds to the meaning when you consider that you are loving your brother or sister in Christ.