This past Christmas, Ekklesia Hattiesburg (Mississippi) decided to participate in the Advent Conspiracy. The general idea was to think about the Christmas season as an opportunity to change the world by worshiping fully, spending less, giving more, and loving all. Ekklesia’s idea was to give more by providing clean water for those without in Haiti.
And so they did. The group collected about $10,000 in the few weeks leading up to Christmas. That, in itself, makes you take notice. But knowing that Ekklesia is a new church of about 100 people makes you really pay attention.
Why such generosity? “I think it worked for a couple of reasons,” says Mike Dixon, Ekklesia’s pastor. “One, we have generous people in our community. The Haiti Water Project gifts are just one example of a larger ethos of giving that our people embrace. Two, we do consistently talk about the importance of giving to those on the fringes of society, because it is so prominently themed in Luke. … We have never really asked them to give to us, although we have asked them to be generous with those who need it.”
In addition to opening up their wallets, the church gave people an opportunity to buy Christmas tree ornaments made in Haiti — a chance to charge a little extra and give profits to the HWP and also provide work for a Haitian artisan.