Pastors gather on World Aids Day in the U-S

By December 1, 2005

USA (MNN) — Today is World Aids Day. Worldwide there are up to 36 million people living with HIV or AIDS. Christians are doing very little about that and that’s why Purpose Driven Ministries held its first AIDS conference for pastors in the United States, called Disturbing Voices. 1,600 pastors and church leaders gathered at Saddleback Church, says Purpose Driven’s Kay Warren. “We’ve called this conference a wake-up call and a kick in the butt.”

Why? Warren explains. “When I came back from Africa for the first time I was so upset that I didn’t feel like the African church was doing as much as they could to address the stigma and talk to their congregation about the realities of HIV and they’re surrounded about it. And then, I came home an realized, what have I done for an HIV positive person? The answer is nothing.”

Because evangelical churches, especially, are doing little about AIDS. Warren hopes pastors will go home… “having repented of not caring, of being apathetic. We want them to go home full of enthusiasm for beginning an HIV ministry in their own church.”

The conference presented six things each church can do to help AIDS victims. Warren says churches can help with care and comfort, testing, volunteer, reduce the stigma of the disease, champion behavior, and help with nutrition and medication.

While this help is physical assistance, Warren says it doesn’t end there. “We want every person to come to know Jesus Christ. But, it’s very difficult to introduce people to Jesus Christ when you’re pushing them away. We’ve been given the task of making the invisible God, visible. How do we do that? (We do it) by our arms of love, by our compassion, by our acceptance.” That provides a platform to share the Gospel.

Christians need to imitate Christ’s actions when He was here on the earth. Warren says, “He’d be right smack dab in the middle of them. And, He would be touching them and he would be holding them and he would be comforting them.”

According to Warren, people must personalize this disease in order to make a difference. “What if it were my daughter, my mom, my sister who was ill and being ostracized, what if it were my dad, my brother, what if it were me, how would I like to be treated? When you think about it in those terms, you’re going to do everything you can to fight for life.”

The Disturbing Voices Conference ends today with a World AIDS Day Concert.

Leave a Reply