Recently, I went to the 2006 Global Summit on AIDS and the Church at Saddleback Church. The conference was great & not only did my wife & I become educated through it, we also learned how to turn it around and effectively make positive change within our own church. One of the books featured in the resource tent was the hope factor. This is basically a conference in book form. In 2003 Southeast Christian Church held a conference to address the issues of the church and HIV/AIDS. The hope factor was born out of that conference. The book is broken up in to three sections –
- Understanding the HIV/AIDS Crisis
- Crisis Interventions
- Biblical References
In the first section, the reader learns about the pandemic, what it looks like, how it affects people all over the globe & is also affecting the church. But in the flurry of numbers people spout, the thing this work gets across is that statistics represent people.
In Crisis Interventions, the authors speak about everything from how faith-based organizations can get involved to programs & people have helped in Ethiopia to the very real need for public awareness. In his essay, Peter Meadows states and important principle which is often lost in speaking of AIDS – HIV/AIDS is vastly more than an issue of human sexuality. There are many factors which help the spread of HIV – not least of which is misinformation & lack of information. The best, first thing we can do about this pandemic is become educated about it.
In the last section, thinkers from John Piper (Bethlehem Baptist Church) to Richard Stearns (World Vision) to Tom Correll (Wooddale Church) talk on the how’s and why’s of the church & its response to AIDS. The church is in the best position to stop the spread of AIDS. Not only does the church offer the behavioral solution, the hope of grace and love, but the church is the only entity that is more wide-spread than the virus – the only thing.
This book is a phenomenal resource in helping the church engage the AIDS pandemic & helping its members become active participants in the largest humanitarian crisis the world has ever seen. The church has sat by on the sidelines for far too long. Now is the time to step up and stop the spread of this treatable, preventable disease.