Bono, the lead singer of U2 turned celebrity AIDS activist wants to know why Christian churches are virtually absent from the effort to address the AIDS pandemic, and whether they are willing to rectify their reluctance.

How is Bono leading this charge? By joining forces with Billy Hybels, a widely known megachurch pastor with connections to satellite churches all over America. In an article from The Christian Post on Saturday, August 12, Lillian Kwon writes that while Bono “never liked the church,” he was certainly able to entice Hybels about the worthiness of his cause, and the silence among churches about AIDS:

When Bono came into Hybels’ life, the megachurch pastor found it “ironic” that a rock star was approaching the church with a cry to help the poor and the sick–a command that Jesus had clearly given and that churches were typically known to do. However, churches have always been behind on such issues, said Bono. And he explained the reason being a fear of politics and a judgmental attitude about the AIDS virus. While churches have largely been in the charity and homeless feeding scene in their local communities, their presence has been foreign to the millions suffering from HIV/AIDS.

This message and interview between Hybel and Bono was broadcast to pastors and church leaders who attended the 2006 Leadership Summit, which include 125 satellite participating sites all over the country. At one moment Bono commented, “Christ won’t let the church walk away from the AIDS emergency,” to great applause.

To inspire AIDS activism among Christians and church communities, the Leadership Summit decided to sweeten the pot:

In partnership with World Vision, Willow Creek Association created the Courageous Leadership Award where the church that most exemplifies thegospel in action (associated with HIV/AIDS service), will be awarded$100,000 to help fund that particular church initiative. The winner will beselected and awarded at next year’s Leadership Summit.

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