Hollywood producer Shelene Bryan essentially gave up her entertainment career to work full-time helping the poor -- and now she's challenging other Christians to join her in serving the downtrodden.
Bryan, who founded Skip1.org, an online platform that helps raise money for poverty-reduction projects, recently spoke to commentator Jonathan Merritt about what led her away from Tinseltown and into the nonprofit sector -- and why she believes its important for all Christians to get personally involved.
"Our problem is not wealth, but the heart. A life focused on material things will lead you to ruin," Bryan told Merritt. "For some reason, having material riches tends to make us apathetic about spiritual things."
She continued, "I believe the gift truly belongs to the giver. Holding onto our wealth with tightly clenched fists prevents God from placing into our hands what he wants."
Giving, she said, is not only selfless in that it sustains others, but it also helps grow one's faith.
Bryan said that donating even the spare change in your pocket could "truly be the difference between the life and death of a hungry child." But she also called on believers to go above and beyond merely doling out funds.
Image source: Skip1
"Don’t just write a monthly check in a detached way and be done. Get to know them and care for them as a member of your own family," she said. "I promise you, you won’t regret impacting their lives in a meaningful way. The reward will be yours."
Bryan also shared her journey into the nonprofit world, which began after she and her husband started sponsoring two Ugandan children for $50 per month.
Rather than giving blindly, she actually decided to hop on a plane to Africa to observe firsthand what her money was actually doing.
When she arrived in Uganda, Bryan was able to see that the money was benefiting the children's lives, but the trip also served as a catalyst to getting her more involved in more directly helping the poor -- so involved, in fact, that she quit her Hollywood job and subsequently launched Skip1.
Her organization encourages people to skip a latte, a meal or anything else they enjoy and to donate the money they would have spent to charity.
Bryan, who was executive producer of the film "Like Dandelion Dust," recently published her book, "Love, Skip, Jump: Start Living the Adventure of Yes," which addresses these themes and encourages readers to "say yes to God."
Watch Bryan tell her story below:
(H/T: Jonathan Merritt)