Letter from International Director - July 2011
The Review of the Micah Declaration on Integral Mission took place on the 23rd and 24th June 2011! As you know, this Declaration is not only an historical document for us as a Network, but it has been a catalyst globally for challenging and transforming how we understand mission. The core definition is used in the recently published Lausanne Commitment (see Part I: 10. We love the mission of God). There was much to rejoice and be thankful for as we gathered to consider what we have learnt these last 10 years.
Interestingly, though this was recognised, the first day of the Review focused much more on the question "has it made a practical difference at grass root level?" Inevitably this question was directed at Micah Network, as the platform and facilitator of the outworking of the Declaration, and holder of the subsequent vision and mission that informs our direction.
Well who is Micah Network? Is it the 5 full time staff (2 in the secretariat and 3 in the regions)? Surely Micah Network is the organisations, churches and individuals who collectively make up the network? The staff is only taken on to help convene, facilitate, link and share communication within the Network.
If you agree – then we direct the question to each of you – what practical difference has been made, not only by the Declaration but by being a part of Micah Network, at grass root level?
I believe we have only begun to scratch the surface of really mobilising and engaging staff, colleagues, church members, and communities into integral mission (holistic transformation). We need to ask how can we really make a difference? For example:
• Convening and facilitating conversations at national level is vital to ensure access for Christians who may not be able to travel to regional or global events.
• Creating and disseminating resources that will impact Christians as they work through the practical and theological issues faced on a day by day basis: for example: Devotionals; training material; stories of transformation
• Prioritising the "being in Christ" – one's walk with God – as from this walk of integrity flows the saying, doing and signs of integral mission.
Each member needs to take up their commitment to integral mission and initiate and lead by example, be willing to cooperate and share with others their journey, demonstrate how they are applying the learning in practical ways and to share in the fellowship that is at the heart of Micah Network.
Looking forward to hearing from you as you share what you are involved in!!
Help! Staff under threat!
Are you able to commit to supporting the Micah Network team?
As our Network has grown to 568 members in 81 countries we have taken on regional coordinators to help cover the networking responsibilities (convening conversations, consultations, workshops, newsletters, communications, etc.), in their respective areas.
Ruth Alvarado based in Peru covering Latin America and the Caribbean
Sundar Daniel based in India covering Asia and the Pacific
Ben Akpera based in Nigeria covering Africa and the Middle East
The Secretariat covering Europe and North America
Greg Manning based in Australia working part time to support our HIV Initiative
For the last 3 years we have been blessed by a generous donor / partner / member who has faithfully covered the salaries of our 3 regional coordinators. As from April this year they are no longer able to do this and we are now appealing to our readers and members to prayerfully consider if you can play a part in keeping this team together to serve us.
We need to raise $ 6,000 / month to keep Ruth, Ben and Sundar on as our regional coordinators. If all of us can share an amount each month, I believe we can achieve this. Please email Sheryl Haw ([email protected] ) if you are able to sponsor one or more of our coordinators regularly each month, or a one off amount? Thank you in advance for your prayerful consideration.
Note: only 17% of our members give financially through their annual membership contribution. Ideally, if all gave annually we may well have been able to cover the coordinators costs from contributions as well as have sufficient funds to support events and resource development.
Aid for Trade
Women's vegetable farming group with partners Goodwill in Pakistan
Of all the problems in the developing world none is greater than the problem of unemployment Prof. Tony Campolo (Hon Patron)
There are reported to be two billion people in developing countries still living in very severe poverty, with little or no regular income. Internet access is expanding very rapidly into these countries and offers a highly cost effective means of communication and transfer of knowledge to help the poor.
Aid for Trade is a Christian led charity initiative started in 2008, with a vision to provide a free internet resource to assist sustainable poverty reduction to help partners overseas create new jobs in poor communities. It is based on ten years' work with impoverished villages in Eastern Europe and on extensive field research.
We have found that very poor rural communities and families are very difficult to reach and help by conventional means, and our surveys in three countries found young people especially, feel hopeless due to lack of opportunities for paid work in their communities.
We have made good progress so far, in developing our pilot website and helping income generating projects in six countries and now in collaboration with our overseas partners, we have identified an exciting and cost effective development programme for this year, which I will outline.
Our Christian partner in Pakistan, Sohail Anwar, says in an email:
'In our local Christian communities in Pakistan, small business or trade have a very positive impact upon people's daily life. Business increases financial capacity of local people and enhances their efforts to come out of poverty, hunger, social deprivation and illiteracy. If people can increase their daily income they can provide for their children's education and their food needs. As a result we in Pakistan think helping small business is the best approach for poverty eradication'
If you want to find out more about Aid for Trade got to: www.aidfortrade.org.uk
You can also speak to Mike Tyler: [email protected]
Healing Hearts, Changing Nations
Training Programme on Reconciliation to be held in Rwanda from 30th January to 9th March 2012.
With over 15 years experience working in 12 different nations, Le Rucher Ministries is combining the healing and reconciliation workshop and community development course into a 9 week training. This training will offer concentrated teaching on principles for heart change, healing and reconciliation for situations of ethnic conflict, skills and models for holistic community transformation, and a deeper understanding of the dynamics and practice of conflict transformation. The location in Rwanda, along with regional and international trainers and participants will provide a rich and diverse learning experience.
For more information: http://www.lerucher.org/Content/Reconciliation/ Reconciliation_School.html
Download the Manual on: Healing the Wounds of Ethnic Conflict, by Dr Rhiannon Lloyd and Joseph Nyamutera: http://www.lerucher.org/Content/pdf/ Healing_Wounds_Manual_A4.pdf
Hope for Creation
On Sunday 6 November 2011 Tearfund is joining with partners across the world for Hope for Creation - a global day of prayer and action on climate change - and we'd love you to join us!
Organised by a group of Micah Network members, the purpose of the day is to unite and focus church action and prayer on this critical issue, with a focus on its devastating impacts on the poorest and most vulnerable people. We're expecting tens of thousands of Christians around the world to join in by praying and speaking up for justice for our global neighbours and for action to protect God's creation.
Urgent action is desperately needed internationally to tackle climate change and protect the world's poorest people who are suffering the most. We hope this day will unite the global church in praying and acting for progress at the UN climate talks in Durban this December and for action in our own countries to respond to the issue.
Will you and your organisation:
- Commit to mobilise churches to pray about climate change and its impacts on Sunday 6th November
- Encourage churches to take action to tackle climate change by signing a campaign action or taking part in a symbolic activity
- Join us to urge world leaders to take ambitious and fair action to tackle climate change and provide the finance needed to help poor people adapt and develop sustainably?
There are many different ways you can join in: promote it to churches across your country, pray with your family or promote it within your organisation.
If you'd like to find out more or take part, please email Helen Heather [email protected] with your contact details – we will then keep you updated with the latest news before and after the day.
More information and resources are available at www.hopeforcreation.org
Read of the Month
Letters from a Sceptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity by Dr Gregory Boyd
Many of us wrestle with the questions of life such as:
- Why is there suffering in the world?
- How do we know that God hears our prayer?
- Does God know the future?
- Is there a place called hell?
This gripping book captures a discussion held between an agnostic father and his Christian son, who together take time to discuss the burning questions of life. It is presented in such a way as to be a conversation and is highly recommended to all.
You can buy it through Amazon and or we hope to have a number of copies for sale at the Micah Network events.
Far Reaching Social Consequences
Want to be socially revolutionary? It all starts by talking over the injustices, the pain and suffering, the poverty we see, with God and one another. As we share these thoughts our passion grows and our longing to see good change provokes in us an unease that prompts us to action! We find we can no longer sit by and let nothing be done – so we start to seek others who are like-minded and we brainstorm how we can make a difference together.
We begin to initiate activities in our communities and in the areas God has opened our eyes to.
Prayer like this, with heart, strength and mind – unites us to engage in social restoration. The result is revival. Prayer is socially revolutionary because it prepares the way for the advance of the Gospel in society, and the Gospel carries with it new social values that contain the seeds for a new society based on the righteousness of the kingdom. (The Struggle of Prayer, by Donald Bloesch, p.43)
At present only 150 people on our Micah Network database have signed up to receive the weekly prayer focus, which has a special monthly devotional extra for use in devotions at staff meetings, home groups and / or individually.
We would like to add all members to this prayer focus mailing and ask rather that people choose to opt out if they really don't want to be included.
To register for the prayer focus, write to: [email protected]
Ethics of Christian Mission – joint document
The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Vatican's Pontifical Council on Inter-religious Dialogue (PCID) have released an historic document on the ethics of Christian mission – Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct . This historic document is in part a response to criticisms levelled at Christians by some religious communities in what they perceived to be a use of unethical methods. In some cases these objections have led to anti-conversion laws and violence. The three main world Christian bodies have responded with this document that not only identifies the biblical call to evangelism but outlines the ethical mandates related to the Gospel.
The document was launched on June 28, 2011, by Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General of the WEA, Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the WCC, and Cardinal Tauran of the PCID, at the headquarters of the WCC in Geneva, Switzerland.
This historic document is the result of a five-year collaboration of the WEA, WCC and the Vatican who together represent over 90 percent of the world's total Christian population. This is the first document of its kind in the history of the Church.
There are three main parts to the Recommendations for Conduct. The first, "The Basis for Christian Mission," lays out the biblical foundations for mission; it asserts that Jesus Christ is the example for Christians in witnessing to others; it outlines the church's participation in God's mission.
The second section, "Principles," outlines 12 principles Christians are called to follow in witnessing of Christ in a manner consistent with the Gospel. These include: acting in God's love; living with integrity, compassion and humility; rejecting any form of violence; and offering respect to all people.
The text concludes with six recommendations to all Christians, church bodies, mission organisations and agencies. These recommendations are: study the document; build respect and trust with people of all religions; strengthen religious identity and faith while at the same time deepening knowledge and understanding of different religions; advocate justice and respect for the common good; call on governments and representatives to ensure religious freedom for all people; pray for the well-being of neighbours, recognising prayer is integral to the Christian life and of Christian mission.
Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General of the WEA, as world representative for evangelicals noted, "In some places dynamic public witness to Jesus Christ has been accompanied by misunderstanding and tension. This document is a valuable resource for church and ministry leaders for reflection and practice on how to best witness in ways faithful to the call of Christ and in line with the life and Spirit of Jesus."
The WEA has been a major contributor both to the process and writing of the document. It endorses its use among evangelicals and Christians worldwide. The WEA will translate the document into a number of languages, which will be distributed to the national, regional and local alliances, as well as to seminaries, universities and colleges worldwide.
The WEA calls evangelicals everywhere to study the document and examine how it can be applied and adapted to particular needs and in many contexts. It is the hope of the WEA leadership that this document will stir up desire for greater Christian mission and evangelism in obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let the Recommendations for Conduct be a continuing reminder of the importance to live as Jesus called us to live.
Follow link to download document: www.worldevangelicals.org/pdf/1106Christian_Witness_in_a_Multi-Religious_World.pdf
Disciple Nations Alliance
Vision of DNA: To see the global Church rise to her full potential as God's instrument for the healing, blessing and transformation of the nations.
Mission of DNA: To influence the paradigm and practice of local churches around the world, helping them:
- Recognize and abandon false beliefs, and embrace a robust biblical worldview--bringing truth, justice and beauty into every sphere of society, and
- Demonstrate Christ's love in practical ways, addressing the brokenness in their communities and nations beginning with their own resources.
Scott Allen is the President of DNA and is based in Phoenix, Arizona.
DNA run what they call Worldview and Development Workshops.
You can check out their website at www.disciplenations.org