A central part of being a network is about building relationships. For that to happen good communication is essential.
As a lecturer I have discovered that teaching in ones own culture and context has its difficulties. Conveying a message does not mean that all listeners / readers hear the same message or even the intended message. Each of us understands a message through the lens of our own experiences, concepts, prejudices and definitions. When we further add the lens of our own cultures, traditions and backgrounds, we add a further complication and translation and interpretation needs to wrestle with these hurdles.
Good communication therefore needs good relationships as trust, friendship and a commitment to understand and support one another is foundational. Micah Network is intentionally a global network, as we are drawn together by our common commitment as Christians to the Lordship of Christ and our belief that mission is at the centre of God’s purposes. A mission that speaks into each cultural context in a relevant way, addressing real needs in current situations – holistic transformation!
Why is being a global network so important – surely it would be easier to have just national networks, as they can be more sensitive and relevant in their communication? Ephesians chapter 4 is about unity in the Body of Christ and I encourage you to read the whole chapter and reflect on what this means for Micah Network. I believe God has given us gifts which find their fullness when we cooperate and share together. Part of our commitment as a network is to build the capacity of members to make a biblical-shaped holistic response to:
1. People who are poor, oppressed and marginalised
2. People who do not know Jesus as Lord and Saviour, irrespective of religion, class, caste, gender, age, disability, ethnicity, nationality, politics or status.
Ephesians 4:12-13 says “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
The bringing together of us as a global network is important, but we also recognise that dialogue and relationship building needs to occur at other levels too and so the new Micah Network strategy under development seeks to establish national coordinating groups, wherever there are three or more members. Here at national level planning can take into account the culture and context of each country and respond appropriately. Countries however do not operate in a vacuum from their neighbours, and so we also see the added value of meeting regionally, and to support this we see the role of regional coordinating groups as being an effective way of drawing countries (neighbours) together. A testimony from a Chilean Christian after the massive earthquake was that what was the most powerful witness for them was that Christians from surrounding countries empathised and came and helped!
This is why Micah Network sees the value of working at all three levels – global, regional and national.
Let’s make a concerted effort to link up to members within our country and region to build amazing relationships and share our gifts for a world in need.