Every Christian is guilty of it at one time or another. Something terrible happens in the world, or to someone we love, and we say: sending you my thoughts and prayers. Don’t get me wrong, I think prayer has a place in the world (a post for another day). Just not as a platitude in difficult times.
Because let’s be honest, people have been sending thoughts and prayers for a long time. I think the evidence is in that it’s not working. If you want this world to be a better place, then get out there and do something about it.
So instead of just praying for change, check out these 5 actions you could take in Australia, TODAY. Like straight after reading this article.
1. Seek Volunteering
Want to give your time and skills to a worthy cause? Seek Volunteering looks exactly like the regular Seek jobs page, but all advertisements are for volunteer positions.
You can filter by organisation, type of work, duration of work and cause. There are 23 causes with everything from animal welfare, community service and human rights to seniors, sport or young people.
These opportunities won’t just give you a warm fuzzy feeling for doing something awesome for your community, but will also provide you with opportunities to gain experience and learn new skills.
There are a whopping 11 000 positions listed across Australia. Consider these opportunities (available at the time of posting):
- Website or Social Media Coordinator: All Together Now is looking for a Website Manager and a Social Media Coodinator. They exist to eliminate racist behaviour in Australia through innovative, evidence-based and effective social marketing.
- Homeless Support Worker: Fred’s Place, run by the St Vincent’s de Paul Society NSW, is looking for volunteers to help out at their homeless shelters in several locations.
- Breakfast Club Assistant: Don’t have a huge amount of time? You could be a Breakfast Club Assistant at Hackham West Community Centre. They provide breakfast for children before they attend school. Children are picked up from their homes in the Hackham West Community Centre minibus and brought to the Centre for a nutritious breakfast and activities.
- Koala Carer: Yes really. No specific experience required. Need I say more?
They have a New Zealand version of the page as well. Imagine if instead of sending thoughts and prayers during the Prayers of Intercession, churches listed volunteering positions for their local community every Sunday in their announcements.
2. Join a GetUp! Action Group
If you live in Australia you’ve probably heard of GetUp! They have been making waves in the political sphere for a few years now and they are the epitome of people power.
GetUp has millions of members across Australia and they aren’t all just keyboard slactivists. They are willing to attend rallies, call their local political members (yes voice call, not just email) or door knock to discuss marriage equality.
If you want to be serious about campaigning for big issues in your local area, then join a GetUp! Action Group. There are currently 40 local action groups around Australia. But if you can’t find one near you, then sign up to hear about the state-wide events and keep updated of any new groups started in your area.
3. Sign a Petition for Amnesty International
I know we don’t love slacktivism (defined as “actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement”). But we do love Amnesty.
Why? Because they have been collecting signatures on petitions and sending letters to people in power since 1961. And with great success. They have seen thousands of prisoners of conscience released and pushed governments and corporations to account for their human rights violations.
In the age of the internet we might call it slacktivism. But people power means as much today as it did in 1961.
When the victims of human rights abuse are so far away, it might feel like all you can do is send thoughts and prayers. But Amnesty gives you a way to get involved and make a difference. So act now: join an action group, attend an event or sign a petition and put your name to a worthwhile cause.
4. Donate to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
I know that donating seems a little unrewarding and effortless, but sometimes money is what’s needed most.
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre supports people seeking asylum and refugees in detention. They provide legal, medical, physical and social support to people who are seeking to escape unsafe situations or who have recently arrived.
This kind of support needs funding. Serious funding. And the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre outlines exactly what your money could go to:
- $38 can fund an appointment with a detention centre advocacy worker.
- $112 can provide a consultation with an interpreter, critical to supporting people suffering trauma.
- $235 can maintain pressure on politicians to create real policy change for people seeking asylum.
Better yet, become a monthly donor and make an ongoing difference.
If you would also like to donate your time and skills there are plenty of ways to get involved. You could become an advocate or arrange for a guest speaker to come to your event. Check out the opportunities HERE.
5. DIY Activism
Don’t feel drawn to the causes or organisations listed here? Start working on a cause of your own!
Do some research. Figure out what issues resonate with you. Is it environmentalism, human rights, animal rights or maybe something in your local community?
See if there’s a group already running. If so, like their social media account and sign up to hear their latest news and see where you can get involved. If not, consider starting your own group.
Find out who your local political representatives are (local, state or federal depending on the issue) and email or call them about an issue important to you.
Start a Change.org petition and share with your friends or find one that’s already running to sign and share.
So now that you’ve finished reading this article don’t scroll onto the next list of 30 of the Funniest Drunk Texts People Have Sent. Take action. Don’t just send your thoughts and prayers. Do something practical and know you’re helping your community.