What’s your big idea for making the world a better place?
Do you want to support refugees in your neighbourhood? Teach teens about ethical fashion? Reduce needless waste? Perhaps you dream of serving breakfast to underprivileged kids, or starting a visiting roster to make sure local seniors aren’t lonely.
Whatever your grand vision, one organisation might help your dream become a reality. It’s called Seed, and its aim is to help Christians put legs on their visions for a better world. Seed’s founder, John Beckett, used to head up Micah Challenge. He established Seed after realising that many Christian organisations had a lot of dreams and great ideas, but weren’t always sure how to make them come to fruition. He has been working with organisations like as The Baptist Association of NSW and ACT, and Kokonut Pacific, to help them get their ideas out into the public realm and making a real difference.
“We talk about finding a ‘thing’ which might be a product, a piece of research, a policy, a law or a program, that has the capacity to be a catalyst for change,” John said. “In the case of Kokonut Pacific, the product is the coconut.”
Kokonut Pacific’s focus is fair trade, ethical and sustainable coconut based products, as an alternative to the copra trade.
“They’ve come up with technology that enables people in the Pacific to get the most possible benefit out of that product, and we’ve helped them design a strategy around that, to maximise the impact on the community.”
Giving Christians Confidence To Create Change
Mr Beckett said he wanted to give people the confidence and the tools to do positive things that make a difference.
“A lot of people feel disconnected from their faith,” he said. “They maybe feel like their faith lacks agency or doesn’t make a difference in the way it should in the world. So we want to take people through processes and tools where they can find out how they can make a difference, and where that fits for them individually, or as groups.
“And we want them do it in a really positive way that’s for the world, and doesn’t seek to critique culture or condemn culture, but creates culture and embodies a different reality, the way we see it, the way we think God intended it to be.”
Red Frogs Helping Young People To Make A Difference
Mr Beckett pointed to the Red Frogs initiative that runs on the Gold Coast during “Schoolies Week”, as a good example of Christians making a difference in their culture. Their model was to find a need, meet it, and communicate their message at the same time.
“The founders of Red Frogs identified an issue that was contrary to God’s intention,” he said, “but rather than condemning or critique or judging that culture, they said ‘lets create a culture that is in line with God’s way, and bring that culture into the community, and park it next to the existing culture.”
Under the Red Frogs initiative, teams of Christian young people bring practical, compassionate support to those who’ve come to ‘schoolies week’ to party, but end up struggling. They cook pancakes for teens who come home drunk, they set up Lifeline counselling for those suffering depression or suicidal tendencies, and they walk home with people who are under the influence of substances, to make sure they make it home safely.
When You See A Need, Be The Change!
Mr Beckett wants to help Christians see that they needn’t feel disheartened by the problems in their world.
“We’re trying to develop a community where people can wrestle with issues they have in their industry sector, or around a particular social issue, and then find some support and resources to take their ideas out into the world and make them scalable and sustainable,” he said. “We also want to make sure that people who are doing those things can tell the story in a way that connects it back to their faith and bears witness to Jesus.”
He said it was important for Christians with great ideas to engage with their culture, not hide from it.
“We’re focussed on trying to help people engage with culture in this country,” he said. “As the church is pushed to the margins of culture, some Christians are finding it harder to engage. That’s not necessarily a terrible place to be in, but it does mean that we need to understand what the best way to engage is.”
Five Steps To Changing The World
Seed’s model of creating change involves the following five steps:
- Find Purpose: Developing an understanding of our purpose in the world.
- Imagine: Thinking about how the world would look if it was more in line with God’s purposes.
- Design: Developing a social change project or program, building movements for change, and engaging with people who have power and influence.
- Get Funded: Linking up with a community of investors and business people who want to incubate ideas and grow them.
- Communicate: Telling your story in a way that points to Jesus.
How To Connect With Seed
To make your dream a reality, or help someone else’s dream come to life, go to www.Seed.org.au, or follow Seed on Twitter or Instagram @seedorgau. Founder John Beckett can be contacted on 0433 299 326.