a friend of mine is in serious need of dental surgery… another friend who has a really tight budget has a car that is in serious need of tyre replacement before something goes horribly wrong… someone else i know has their house taken down by the latest hurricane to hit the states and are just needing a bit of a boost to pay a deposit and first month’s rent on an apartment for them and their child… a couple who are having quite a tough time due to the regular circumstances of life could really just use a bit of a weekend break away to be able to focus on their marriage…

as someone who is operating on a fairly tight budget, what do i say to these people? what can i do?

“I’ll pray for you.”

Not that praying for someone is wrong or bad, but if it is all i am able to do, then it does feel somewhat inadequate.

Especially if i can do much more. And the book of James in the Bible seems to suggest that we should:

15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. [James2]

Enter Common Change… the non-profit tbV and i work for… and the group we have been a part of for about a year and a half.

The needs mentioned at the start of this post are all ones that have been met by the group we are part of. Although not necessarily all personal friends of ours, we got to play some part in empowering their friends to walk alongside them as some or all of their need was met.

Here’s how it works:

# you register to Common Change and then either create a group [with a bunch of mates, work colleagues, small group at church, indoor hockey teammates] or join an existing group and start contributing usually a monthly amount to the group common pool.

# when someone in the group knows someone [one degree of separation] who has a need they present the need to the group on behalf of their friend.

# members of the group then respond by giving creative suggestions or asking deeper questions to try and figure out the best way to get involved in meeting the need [so drawing on the wisdom of the group]

# when the group has weighed in, a gift is sent to the person in need and the person who shared the need with the group is encouraged to walk the journey with their friend

it is that easy… and it can start small [ten people each giving 10 dollars suddenly have 100 dollars to be able to put towards a need] or be really huge [some people give fixed amounts, others give a percentage of their salary]

the aim is to eradicate economic isolation – instead of simply throwing money at needs or at organisations we are committing to get personally involved in relationships we already have where need exists and hopefully be part of making a long-term difference in someone’s life.

sound doable? interested in learning more or getting involved? email me at and we can get this ball rolling…

Also, if you like the idea it would be great if you could share this link via your social networking vibes… thank you.