The One Campaign has much in common with evangelical Christians, and yet I have seen remarkably little involvement among evangelicals in their efforts.
But there’s some good reason for that. Evangelicals are obviously against poverty and work tirelessly to eradicate it through any number of different organizations. World Vision, Compassion International and others–both of which are partners with One–were frequently at the concerts I attended growing up. In addition, most denominations have relief arms, for both local and international projects (my father’s denomination, for instance, runs an extremely effective and fiscally responsible relief organization). While I was aware of One, it seemed like nothing more than a glorified PR campaign with overly lofty and naive goals (“The poor you shall always have with you.”)
While many of One’s earliest members were people of faith, it hasn’t yet become trendy for the broader swath of conservative evangelicals.
That’s may be about to change. For the first time ever, One is targeting religious communities to build awareness of it’s mission and goals, and is doing so through the One Sabbath (November 23-25th). They are asking churches of all faiths to devote a weekend to raising awareness and mobilize people to work to end poverty. This year is a limited release, if you will–if successful, a broader and more publicized effort will happen next year (though it’s not too late to sign up!).
In some ways, however, the One Campaign seems similar to the evolution of the web–a hundred different platforms, systems and tools which are increasingly unified through a common language. To that extent, it would be good for evangelical Christians to join the party and learn how to link arms and be belligerent against a common foe with those whom we have deep and substantial differences. That said, it’s not entirely clear what One wants from this specific effort, as their is (it seems) no broader unification, but rather only isolated attempts to build awareness within specific churches.
The One Campaign has lots of room to get better. Hopefully, evangelicals will be an increasing voice in improving it.