For most, Christmas is about the things. It’s about presents, stockings, trees and candy canes. For South Hills Burbank, Christmas is about true generosity, at home and abroad.
South Hills Church, a non-denominational Christian church with eight campuses throughout the country, has launched a program called “Christmas Conspiracy,” and South Hills Burbank is taking part. “Christmas Conspiracy” is a program created through the church to help reframe the concept of Christmas.
South Hills’ goal is to focus not on receiving, but on giving in a powerful way as an expression of faith in order to live out the church’s purpose of “loving God, loving others and loving life.”
On Sunday, December 21, each campus will work to collect as many donations as possible in order to give 100 percent of the proceeds to others in need. The proceeds from “Christmas Conspiracy” will not only benefit global ministry and relief programs, but will also benefit local Burbank charitable organizations. Last year alone, South Hills Church raised over $125,000 from all campuses combined.
Since its launch in April 2014, South Hills Burbank has become committed to supporting the Burbank community.
“I believe the church should not exist to serve itself or by viewing the church as a ‘building,’” said Dave Stewart, campus pastor at South Hills Burbank. “The church is made up of people that live in a community with other people and we should look for ways to make positive impacts in people’s lives all around us.”
Stewart is encouraging community members to take a portion of the money they might have used to purchase expendable, and even unnecessary, gifts and instead give to someone in need.
“This year, my family has decided to donate money to this cause, instead of participating in what I call the annual ‘gift card exchange’ with family members. It’s a more meaningful way for us to be proactive in helping others,” Stewart said.
In addition to “Christmas Conspiracy,” the Burbank campus has launched a “one-for-one” program to give back to others by setting aside $1 for every person who walks through the church doors every week. Since April, South Hills Burbank has raised over $4,000 for local, national and international organizations that strive to do good for others.
“I want South Hills Burbank to be known by our generosity, not by our theology,” said Stewart. “We don’t want to be just another church in Burbank, because Burbank doesn’t need just another church. We want to be a different church that is connecting with different people and showing that church still has a valuable place in our everyday lives.”
This year, the donations received from the Burbank campus’ “Christmas Conspiracy” will benefit the Burbank Temporary Aid Center (BTAC), a local organization providing individuals and families, the working poor, crime victims, senior citizens and the homeless with the short-term emergency assistance they need to live with dignity. BTAC offers many programs to the community, such as groceries, transportation assistance and daily showers.
South Hills Burbank will also donate a portion of “Christmas Conspiracy” funds to the Family Services Agency, a local organization providing a holistic approach to care by focusing on counseling, preventing, educating and advocating.
“For Burbank specifically, we believe that the church shouldn’t compete with local charities and non-profits, but it’s our responsibility to come alongside them and resource them to help improve our community. As a church, we are committed to loving our community and all the people that make this city so incredible,” Stewart said.
On a global scale, South Hills Church will support a variety of initiatives through “Christmas Conspiracy” funding. Donations will support providing medical help and clean water to rural areas in Africa. Last year, donations were able to help fund a water well and first-floor construction of a medical facility in the surrounding areas in Ghana. “Christmas Conspiracy” will also partner with organizations to rescue children from sex trafficking, give relief to natural disaster victims and feed children, as well as to help provide bibles to unreached cultures and plant a church in Latin America.
On a local level, South Hills Burbank will remain steadfast in its promise of always giving to those in need.
“We want to be a church that loves the community we are in with our actions, not just our words.”
To learn more about “Christmas Conspiracy” or to donate, please visit www.newchurchinburbank.com/cc or search for South Hills Burbank through a free app called PushPay. South Hills Burbank can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SouthHillsBurbank,Twitter @shburbank and Instagram at @southhillsburbank.