Rick and Kay Warren are in the middle of their talk on what the church can do to help fight HIV/AIDS. Powerful stuff, here’s a synopsis of the talk:
Care for and support the sick
Churches are commanded to care. It is their calling. Love leaves no choice! Local congregations are the only caring organization found in almost every community around the world. Members can offer physical and emotional care in homes.
Handle testing and counseling
Churches are the most trusted organizations in communities, so people may be more willing to be tested and counseled there. Just being tested has proven to promote healthier behavior. Members can be trained to give medical, emotional, and family counsel to those receiving results from their testing.
Unleash a volunteer labor force
Churches have the largest volunteer labor force on the planet — more than 2 billion members. What if half of those could be mobilized? There aren’t enough professionals in the world to teach prevention, administer treatment, and offer care to those who need it. There is an enormous pool of untapped talent and energy sitting unused in churches waiting to be mobilized.
Remove the stigma
Churches must embrace those infected. They can replace rejection with mercy. The church must remove abuse and alienation. They offer faith, hope, love, forgiveness, and grace — spiritual support which neither business nor government can offer.
Champion healthy behavior
HIV/AIDS is complex and yet preventable. Churches have the moral authority to promote healthy behavior and to offer moral imperatives for the family and teach the moral motivation for abstinence and faithfulness. To resist peer pressure and relapse, faithfulness requires faith.
Help with nutrition and medications
The church has the largest distribution network on the planet. It’s already in place worldwide! Millions of villages have a church, but nothing else. For treatment to become universal, we must develop a church-supported treatment model. Organizations come and go, but churches are permanent community fixtures. Members can be trained to distribute HIV/AIDS medications and support essential nutrition. The church can offer pre-treatment preparation, treatment education, adherence support, direct observation therapy (DOT), and treatment coaching to the entire family.