We believe God’s central mission to The Church is to care for the poor and vulnerable as stated in Isaiah 58. In order to fulfill God’s vision, people of faith must face the injustices in our society that create poverty and marginalizes many. We also believe that we cannot and should not do it alone. In partnering with best-practice organizations, The Church can find a seat at the table for a discussion that has the power to change our world, fulfilling a mandate so deeply rooted in our faith.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”
Isaiah 58: 10-12
How we started
In 1993, while filming the story of Jackie, a little girl in a Compassion International child sponsorship project in Uganda, Tony Neeves witnessed the transformative influence of Gaba Community Church.
At the time, Gaba was a very poor community and a dangerous place to live. HIV/AIDS spread quickly, and violence, alcohol and drug abuse were widespread. Members of the church often faced considerable opposition.
Concerned with the poverty in Gaba, this small church family began a program dedicated to help the most vulnerable in the community. Parents and family members, including some of the ringleaders in the persecution began to come into the church compound to see what motivated them to help their children. Peter, the Pastor at Gaba Community Church explained how the community’s opposition began disappearing as local people saw that the church was just as concerned about their physical health as well as as their spiritual life.
In just a few years, the church grew from a handful meeting in a small tent, to over 1,000 meeting in a multi-purpose building, housing a church, school, vocational center and much more.
Fast forward several years later, Gaba’s story resonated with Tony as he continued to travel and witness powerful transformations by churches committed to the mission of service and caring for the most vulnerable in their communities. These experiences led to the founding of Live58 inspired by Tony’s favorite passage in the Bible, Isaiah 58.
In 2011, With the support of Compassion International, Tony and his team began by producing a major feature film and church curriculum on the theme of Isaiah 58, with stories filmed in eight countries. To date, it has been translated into French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Korean and Swahili. Many churches reported how they became excited by the message of the film and the dramatic impact this fresh awakening has had on their church.
Where are we now
After many years of impact, Live58 encountered several challenges. With both changes in leadership and difficulty in translating missional commitment to fiscal sustainability, Live58 risked closing its doors.
In 2016, Ken Burkey, former Senior Pastor of 25 years at Green Valley Community Church in California, became the Executive Director of Live58 and has since worked to build a new foundation, which expands on the successes of the previous leadership and their work with congregations and organizations around the globe.
Without the years of dynamic leadership, Live58 would not have reached:
- More than 500 churches who have received Isaiah 58 focused curriculum
- Over 5,000 views of 58: The Film
- Over 1,000 blog posts about the power of Isaiah 58 published on multiple platforms
- over 100,000 people served by Live58 partners
Where are we going
We hope to see a renewed passion in churches, people of faith, leadership and those with a heart of compassion toward the vulnerable. We are committed to sharing the mission and vision of Live58 and believe in the mandates of the passage, which will lead to a rebuilding of broken communities.
We will educate about the root causes of poverty, injustice and marginalization through relevant workshops and events that will provide tools to mobilize people from all walks of life. We will empower those who have committed themselves to the mission of Isaiah 58 by celebrating the transformative stories that happen when we care for one another. We will engage in and out of the church walls, by partnering the 58 community with best-practice organizations and the work they do to create lasting sustainable change.