WORLD HUNGER SUNDAY: Jesus' love compels response

EDITOR'S NOTE: On Oct. 14, Southern Baptists will observe World Hunger Sunday and congregations across the United States will receive offerings for the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund. Since its inception in 1974, Southern Baptists have given more than $235 million through the fund. For information on the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund, visit worldhungerfund.com.

NASHVILLE (BP) -- When Southern Baptists observe their annual World Hunger Sunday on Oct. 14, they will be called to act out the powerful love of Jesus, who the Bible says was "moved with compassion" for people in desperate need.

Scripture recounts several instances, like the one recorded in Matthew 14:14, when Jesus saw a large crowd, was moved with compassion for them, and took powerful action to meet their needs. The Greek word translated "compassion" refers to tender emotions, deeply felt feelings, or a deep churning in a person's spirit. We might call it "gut wrenching."

That kind of compassion compels a response. Churches and other groups who want to engage the issue of world hunger have a variety of resources available to them.

A particularly noteworthy item is World Hunger 101, a two-hour churchwide event that explores the issue of world hunger. The downloadable event pack from Woman's Missionary Union includes suggestions about ways to introduce the topic and how to consolidate a full understanding of issues related to hunger. Each age-level session plan includes promotion ideas and hunger project ideas.

World Hunger 101 is available for download at wmustore.com. A variety of resources also can be found at worldhungerfund.com, the homepage for the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund.

Among the free downloadable resources:

-- Bulletin inserts, the World Hunger Fund logo, mini-poster ads, videos and a PowerPoint presentation

-- Soup can labels to create receptacles for WHF donations

-- A mini coloring book depicting real people whose lives are being touched through Southern Baptist hunger ministries

-- A drama script that can be used to educate church groups on the Christian mandate to minister to the poor.

Among the low-cost items available for order on the site:

-- "Impact World Hunger," a four-page publication, sized for easy placement in most church bulletins, that also can be used as a stand-alone informational handout

-- World Hunger Bread Bank to help churches, schools, or community groups fight world hunger by collecting money to donate to the World Hunger Fund

-- World Hunger Fund offering envelopes

-- A "B.E.A.T. Hunger" retreat kit.

World hunger awareness and fundraising event ideas are available from Baptist Global Response (gobgr.org), the international relief and development organization that partners with Southern Baptists' International Mission Board in hunger relief initiatives overseas.

Among the ideas to help plan a world hunger awareness and/or fundraising event:

-- f30 Weekend -- A fun way to help people, young and old, become aware of and impact world hunger. This event also is great for team building, prayer, fasting, college campuses or weekend retreats.

-- Harvest Festival -- Incorporate hunger awareness in your harvest festival with a variety of educational activities designed to help children better understand world hunger and what they can do to make a difference.

-- Run for Their Lives -- A 5k run to raise funds. Instead of "running for your life," this is a race to "Run for Their Lives," raising money and community awareness for world hunger.

Baptist Global Response also can arrange for a speaker who has experience in hunger relief for world hunger events or hunger-focused church services. For more information, contact BGR through its website, gobgr.org.

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission also provides resources at erlc.com/hunger, including articles on biblical directives for combating hunger and poverty as well as how to begin a hunger ministry. Also available are two sermons, "The Ministry of the Open Hand" and "Do Justice to the Afflicted and Needy."


Adapted from information at worldhungerfund.com, gobgr.org and erlc.com.