Sowing seeds -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Sowing seeds

By Chris Clarke

From the earliest beginnings of Habitat for Humanity we have been charged to fulfill our mission in three important areas:

Koinonia Partners will have three prongs:

  • Communications
  • Instruction
  • Application

―From the founding documents of Koinonia Partnership Ministries.

“By Communication we mean the sowing of the seed, the spreading of the radical ideas of the gospel message; the call to preach the good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed…

“To do this we will use every available means of modern communications. We will travel and speak extensively across the land and throughout the world. We will make tapes, records, and films, publish books, and circulate literature in every way possible.”

“…Exemplifying the gospel of Jesus Christ through loving acts and the spoken and written word.”

―Point 3 in the “official purposes of Habitat for Humanity,” as stated in the Articles of Incorporation

That is what we have done for more than 30 years. We have communicated. We have sown seeds. Seeds that have turned into houses and that low-income families have turned into homes. We have sown seeds of awareness that have grown into supporters and affiliates and national organizations. We have sown seeds of what our CEO calls a “Holy Discontent,” an unwillingness to stand idle when those around you are suffering. We have sown seeds that over time have grown into a worldwide ministry with a mission to eliminate poverty housing.

We have communicated in all of the ways our founders called upon us to do, and many, many more. Perhaps the most pivotal communication we have done resulted from a former U.S. President and his wife getting involved in our work and leading a “project” to help renovate a six-story building with 19 families in need of decent, affordable shelter. That experience in 1984 planted the seed, and the Jimmy Carter Work Project has been an internationally recognized event of HFHI ever since. Twenty-three years later we are in the midst of planning the 24th annual Jimmy Carter Work Project which will take place in Los Angeles this fall.

In between those two historic bookends hundreds, thousands of Habitat "special events” have been planned and executed throughout the world. Some we have led. Countless more, large and small, have been led at the local level. Each one being unique and each one spreading the seeds of awareness and support for our mission.

The recent work to update Habitat for Humanity’s brand value, now at US$3.1 billion, lent support to something we have suspected for years. Put someone on a build site and place a hammer or trowel in their hand and put them to work. God will do the rest and the person will be forever changed. In the truest sense of the phrase, that is a “special” event.

Chris Clarke is senior vice-president of Communications at Habitat for Humanity International.