ONE Sermon Challenge Launches

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King saw his role not simply as a Civil Rights leader, but as a preacher – he called it his “first calling and greatest commitment.” History remembers Dr. King’s voice, whether from the church pulpit or in the public arena, as a powerful instrument for social change.

As a preacher myself, I often sweated the challenge of bringing an inspirational message to a congregation to help spur on faithful action. What always encouraged me, however, was seeing colleagues and friends doing the same thing and lifting up their voices in their houses of worship. Seeing preachers speak out and engage their congregations motivated me to do the same. That’s why I invite you and your local faith leaders to join a new effort to speak out to your congregation and help inspire action on behalf of the world’s poor.

The new effort is the ONE Sermon Challenge. Starting today, The ONE Sermon Challenge will accept original and inspirational sermons related to global poverty and collect them online at Through ONE Sermon Challenge, pastors, rabbis, imams and other faith leaders have the chance to share their message to ONE’s millions of members and congregations nationwide.

The challenge is part of ONE Sabbath 2008-09, ONE’s effort to mobilize people of faith to speak out and take action for those struggling against poverty and disease around the world. Preachers from all faith traditions are welcome to make submissions and fully incorporate their own tradition into their messages at:

Over the next few days as sermons come in, take a look at what others have shared. If you are a preacher, join the effort. If you’re not a preacher, ask your pastor, priest, rabbi or imam to join the ONE Sermon Challenge. We ask that the sermons be recent or are slated to be preached in your congregation over the next two months. If you do, we’ll then ship you a ONE Sabbath Action Pack, with ONE bands, literature, T-shirts and other materials you can use to host your own ONE Sabbath event. If you’ve already held a ONE Sabbath, then the pack will help keep the conversation and anti-poverty work going. If you submit a video of your sermon, we’ll include the book “On The Move,” Bono’s address at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2006.

Visit the ONE Sermon Challenge on the web and then come back often to see what other ONE members of faith are saying. Invite your priest, minister, rabbi, imam, pastor or other faith leaders you know to join the ONE Sermon Challenge and share their preaching on global poverty.

One word, one sermon, one challenging message on what we can each do, can make a significant difference. So whether it’s a sermon in worship, a sermon message at your youth worship, a d’ivrei torah, or a Friday khutba, add your voice and help inspire action in the fight against global poverty.

-Adam Phillips