I had the privilege of attending a conference in Ouagadougou this month called Vision Africa. As you can imagine the overriding theme throughout the week was about vision. One speaker quoted the infamous verse from Proverbs 29:18 'Where there is no vision, the people perish:' (King James version).
Over the last few months we have been working through what the vision of Micah Network is and have drawn on what motivated our founders and what we believe God is calling us towards. This is what we have tried to capture in the vision statement below:
A global Christian community mobilised for transforming mission through the Gospel
1.Global Christian community: a group of people linked because of our identity in Christ and having a shared commitment
2.Mobilised: prepared for, organised and engaged in….
3.Transforming mission: mission that transforms as well as itself being transformed
4.Through the Gospel: at the heart of all we do is to see the transformation of communities so that they too become engaged in transformational ministries. We also long to see, in and through the power of the Gospel, the transformation of mission, so that mission is transformed and results in transformation.
At the Vision Africa Conference I was sharing about our need to mobilise and stand together and one of the delegates asked the question 'but how do we do this?' This is an extremely important and practical question. I answered:
•Recognition that our lives are to be lived absolutely for Jesus Christ
•Prayerfully seek God's direction and commit ourselves to obedience to it.
•Be informed about what is happening
•Engage. This usually means faithful intercession, financial support, giving ones time / gifts / skills / capacity and energy towards it, standing with others as they too engage. (It's Micah 6:8)
•Be equipped to so that you can engage and be more effective.
Coming back to Proverbs 29:18, the NIV translates this as 'Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.' The New Living Translation states 'Where people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.'
We welcome your thoughts on the Micah Network vision. Our prayer and hope is that we will be inspired and challenged by it. That we will not run wild or cast off constraint, but that the vision and mission will help us to focus our energy. That we will be mobilised!
A practical way to be engaged in Micah Network is:
•Join the weekly prayer focus
•Keep informed about what is happening and see how you can contribute and share in
•Ask the question in your organisation and in your church – in what way are we mobilising for transforming mission?
•Participate in the national, regional and global events and help others to do so too
•Seek practical and tangible ways to engage so as to make sure we can mobilise for the change we want to see.
One urgent practical way is help cover the financial needs that currently exist in Micah Network. For a financial guide that outlines our ministry needs please request from [email protected]. Thank you in advance.
The new 2011 to 2014 Micah Network Strategic Framework will be accessible on our web site by the end of February. We invite you to read through both the summary version and the detailed version. As a framework its intention is to help give direction, yet be flexible enough for regional and national contextualisation and prioritisation. Below is a glimpse:
Purpose: What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
Vision:A global Christian community mobilised for transforming mission through the Gospel.
Mission:To motivate and equip a global community of Christians to embrace and practice integral mission.
Focus:Social responsibility: relief, rehabilitation, development, environmental care and advocacy / justice ministries.
In order to achieve this, three core programme objectives have been established:
1 - Integral Mission:To promote, encourage and motivate Christians to embrace and practice integral mission.
2 - Equipping Members:To enhance the capacity of members as they strive to make a biblical-shaped holistic response in our world through active engagement in relief, rehabilitation, development, environmental care, speaking out and standing for justice.
3 - Networking:To serve, support and share with one another, strengthening our inter-dependence and increasing our impact and mutual accountability.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback.
Disaster Management Project: Phase one of this project is now completed and the report will be available for review on our website.
Review of Micah Declaration on Integral Mission: 2011 marks the 10th year since this declaration was drafted. It has been used globally and continues to make its mark on transforming mission. On the 23rd and 24th June 2011 our panel of references and incited theologians and practitioners will gather in The Wycliffe Centre in High Wycombe to review this document and see whether we need to revise any part of it.
To have your say and feed into this process we would like to invite you to send your feedback to Sheryl Haw at [email protected] using the Declaration as your reference document. Feedback is collated each month and sent around to all those requesting involvement and this in turn will be reported back monthly up until the review in June where the review group, led by C. René Padilla (President of Micah Network) and Rev Dino L Touthang (Chair of Micah Network International Board) will deliberate on all the feedback.
HIV & AIDS Project: Lausanne Congress offers a reading of Ephesians 5 in an HIV epidemic
In January, the Lausanne Congress released a document entitled, 'The Cape Town Commitment'. This 'call to action' was distilled from discussions involving more than 4200 people from 198 countries. These discussions took place in the context of one of today's large and prominent HIV epidemics. They also took place amidst a Bible study of 'Ephesians'.
Reading Ephesians 5 in an HIV epidemic risks perpetuating attitudes and practices of judgment and stigma, which can originate in religious belief and teaching. Therefore the fruit of this meeting has the potential to offer a useful reference point regarding Evangelical Christian thought and action on the subjects of stigma and judgement.
Ephesians is a frequent reference point throughout the Lausanne Movement's core documents. However, neither the 'Lausanne Covenant' (1979), nor the 'Manila Manifesto' (1989) refer to Ephesians 5 beyond a reference to verse 2, which urges believers to 'Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given himself for us.'
The 'Cape Town Commitment' builds on the 'Lausanne Covenant' and 'Manila Manifesto'. Section V of the 'Cape Town Commitment' is entitled 'Calling the Church of Christ back to humility, integrity and simplicity'. This section offers references to Ephesians 5. Also in this section are four paragraphs which specifically focus on HIV and AIDS. These notes on HIV and AIDS are included in the sub-section entitled 'Walk in love, rejecting the idolatry of disordered sexuality'. The notes on HIV and AIDS conclude with the following commitment, referring to integral mission.
"We commit ourselves to such urgent and prophetic action as part of the integral mission of the Church."
The document's thematic association of HIV infection with disordered sexuality and this association with integral mission make it an important document for further discussion within the Micah Network.
If you would like to offer comments about the document and participate in discussion about integral mission, HIV and AIDS and the imitation of Christ, you can join the Micah Network's HIV Forum. To do this, please send an email to Greg Manning at [email protected]
•Vision Africa Conference, Ouagadougou – Burkina Faso. 31st January to 4t February 2011. The host organisation that facilitated this conference was CREDO (Christian Relief and Development Organisation), a member of Micah Network. The CEO of CREDO is Rev Dr Moise Napon. Over 600 delegates attended from countries around Africa. The Micah Network Africa Regional Coordination Group was present to share in this exciting promotion of integral mission. A statement of commitment and conference communiqué will shortly be available for downloading.
•Shillong, India: Micah Network is working with NEICORD to run a workshop on integral mission at the Presbyterian Church this month.
•Amahoro Africa City Conversations: The Amahoro City Conversation was developed to convey the content of the larger Amahoro conversation (and the integral mission worldview that is their foundation) by creating small interactive seminars where local leaders can participate in a time of learning, conversing, connecting and dreaming together. This is a time to consider ideas that fall under three categories: theology, context and praxis. They will discuss a fresh understanding of the Story of God, take a look at the local context and then begin to imagine what the Story of God looks like in our own communities. In particular, they would like to engage the question: How does following Jesus in our community bring about transformation, in accord with His gospel of peace, reconciliation and love? Micah Network encourages members to participate in a city conversation when it is near you. The next city conversations can be found on: www.amahroro-africa.org
•Together Movement for Children, Argentina: Argentina's government has approved the new bill incorporating the country's Penal Code which recognises femicide, the killing of women as a specific crime, is continuing to work on the law against people trafficking and criminalises being a client' of prostitutes.
•Peru: The torrential rains that are recorded in the Ayacucho, Peru in the central highlands are forcing authorities to declare a state of emergency in the region. It is estimated so far that 1200 hectares of cultivated land has been lost, valued at USD 400,000. The same situation is happening in Ica on the south coast where the Pisco River flooded 35 hectares of cotton fields. The river's flow increased by 100m3 per second in 1 week. On the other hand, on the north coast, in Talara, residents are concerned by the lack of water. There have been water shortages for several weeks and local authorities have not yet acted to help the situation and the risk is that disease can set in and aggravate the already fragile health of children in the region.
Micah Network has joined the new media revolution!
You can now find us on Facebook and Twitter where you can follow our latest updates and alerts.
Invite your friends, colleagues and partner organisations to link to these pages so that together we can promote integral mission to the millions of people engaging with these new forms of social networking.
It is great to see the network growing and developing at the start of this New Year. We look forward to strengthening relationships with our new members and partnering with each other for the sake of the Gospel and integral mission.
Our new members from January are:
•Media Village, Nigeria: A Youth With A Mission initiative. Media Village seeks to use video production to share the Gospel and promote stories of integral mission and transformation.
•Christian Holistic Development Foundation, Nigeria: An organisation committed to partnering and supporting local churches to minister to the spiritual and physical needs of their communities.
•ACOE-CONFOR, DRC: Action Chretienne Des Oeuvres Evangeliques, Conférences des formations en sigle or ACOE-CONFOR work for the development of Africa, serve the church and seeks to partner with all Christian denominations to bring transformation to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
•Church Missionary Society - Australia, Australia: CMS-A wants to see God's Church growing in the entire world as lives and communities are transformed by Christ and sends missionaries all over the world to glorify God by proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.
•Stephen Owino, Tanzania: Stephen leads a newly established and growing network of Christian leaders in East Africa
•Jannet Opio, Uganda: Jannet works for ACLAIM Africa and is on the Micah Network Uganda National Coordinating Group
24 February to 2 March in Hyderabad, India in association with the India Missions Association and the Indian Evangelical Mission.
AUSTRALASIA and OCEANIA
19-22 July in Wellington, New Zealand in association with the Anglican Province of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia and SOMA International
4-10 September in Abuja, Nigeria in association with MANI (Movement of African National Initiatives) and COMIBAM (Latin American Network of Mission Movements)
EUROPE and NORTH AMERICA
5-10 November in Stuttgart, Germany in association with the Missions Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance
Urban Neighbours of Hope
1) Shane Claiborne and Ash Barker and Darryl Gardiner speaking at UNOH Sydney. "An economy of love and justice". March 30 and 31 – contact Jon: [email protected]; (Bangkok is offering a similar seminar with Ash, Darryl and Anji Barker on May 21/22 in Klong Toey – contact Murray: [email protected];)
2) Mick Duncan speaking for 1 day in Melbourne: "Spirituality and the Activist". July 27 at UNOH Dandenong. Contact Jim: [email protected];
3) Tony Campolo (with Cheryl Catford and Jim Reiher): "Putting faith to work". Oct 13 and 14 at UNOH Melbourne. Contact Jim: [email protected];
Dates for Missio Dei this year: (note that these are the most recent accurate dates. Some were changed since the publication of our training booklet).
Missio Dei is a terrific 2 day intensive where participants explore God's work in their lives and what might be lying ahead for them to embrace.
2nd National Congress of Internal Trafficking and People Trafficking, 12th - 13th May 2011
'Working for a country without slavery', Villa Maria, Córdoba, Argentina
Kairos Foundation invites you to participate in the "2nd National Congress of Internal Trafficking and People Trafficking". There will be over 50 panellists giving presentations touching on topics such as human trafficking in Argentina and the world, migrant smuggling, trafficking in women and girls for sexual exploitation, prostitution, disappearances of people, public policies of prevention and reparation, amongst many others.
There are many exciting ways for you to be involved in Micah Network in 2011 and because there are so many, we thought we'd provide a helpful reminder and summary about each one:
Membership: the most important and best way to connect with Micah Network. Membership in Micah Network not only gives you discounted prices at our events, but puts you in a position to contribute and not just take from the network by contributing to forums on key, topical issues relating to integral mission; provide best practice resources to be shared with your peers; and make use of the network's broad membership to partner with like-minded organisations, whether in disaster management, community development or mobilising the Church to proclaim and demonstrate the Gospel.
Member's financial contributions are the primary way Micah Network funds its work all over the world and our member's contributions have accomplished so much since 1999! If you haven't paid your membership contribution for 2011 or want to make back payments for years you have missed, email [email protected] for payment details.
New website: the launch of our new web site has now been delayed another month as we await we anticipation the trial and finalisation of the design. Apologies for this lengthy process - we hope the long wait will be worth it. For now you can still get all the information you need from www.micahnetwork.org
Micah Network Events: take a look at our calendar to see which events you are able to attend and prioritise in your busy schedule. We are holding national, regional and global consultations over the next 18 months focusing on motivating and equipping us to be a part of God's mission in an integral and holistic way.
Social media: Micah Network is now on Facebook and twitter where we will be posting and tweeting for God's glory and the need of the nations.
Prayer Focus: each week Micah Network collates and sends out prayer points that have been shared within our network. If you are not receiving these then we encourage you to send your request to be added to the list to Steve Bradbury, who faithfully compiles this for us each week. His e-mail is: [email protected]
New points should be with Steve by no later than Thursday each week as the Prayer Focus is sent out every Friday. Urgent prayer requests will be sent out as and when they arrive.
Member's Journal: we will be sending out a quarterly communication to all our members, which will focus on the network news, initiatives and outworking of the strategy. We encourage you to send in your case studies, stories of transformation or examples of good practice.
Give: you can give financially in membership contributions, funding specific projects and expenses, seconding staff to carry out initiatives, advocating and promoting integral mission.
There is obviously a huge need in our world and in Christian ministry that finances can contribute to meeting and you can play a significant role in that in your financial support of Micah Network.
If you are interested in funding Micah Network projects or need information about how to pay your 2011 (or 2010?) membership contribution then please email [email protected]