I was one of the many first timers attending one of our regional consultations in September. I had the privilege of joining in with the Asia-Pacific Consultation Stewardship in Integral Mission in Thailand and experiencing first hand the fellowship that flourishes at such events. I wanted to share with you a number of reflections that have come form this:
• During the entire week I did not see one organisation promoting themselves – it was such a statement. We had come together and formed one body, sharing and learning from one another. The powerful verse from Ephesians 4:12-13 comes to mind: 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. • There was a real desire and need for deeper understanding of the full meaning of integral mission / holistic transformation both theological and in practical application • The term stewardship had seemingly initially been associated with financial accountability, but the messages of the week revealed how stewardship encompasses so much more, including how we use our gifts, our time, our resources, our words, our practice and our willingness to learning. It touched on giving of ourselves and taking responsibility for our creation. • The personal cost and effort many had made to be a part of this meeting. Such commitment and support is what makes Micah Network so alive and dynamic as it exists for members for each of you and it will always be as effective as what each one of us puts into it. So a very big thank you to all who gave, shared and served.
I concluded that the richness of meeting together in such regional events is crucial. The question is how can we make these meetings more accessible and financial feasible for all our members and contacts? We acknowledge that we have to have better communication about the event well in advance so as to ensure good awareness and planning to attend can be budgeted in. But I think we also need to hear clearly from you all about what the crucial topics and themes are that need to be addressed so that each time we gather together we are assured of the need and interest. I felt it was also important to build on the years of experience we have had in certain areas so that for those who have been to other events feel they can attend workshops that can further build on what has been learnt before.
As we start planning for 2011 we look forward to hearing from you about what the regional themes should be. Once the dates are finalised be sure to block them in your diary and be a part of this amazing fellowship and networking opportunity.
Asia-Pacific Consultation: Stewardship in Integral Mission, Thailand
There were 93 delegates at this year’s Asia regional consultation, coming from 16 countries. The consultation began with Jennie Collins delivering the inaugural address, focusing on the fact that 'Missio Dei is the sending by God of His very self into the lives of human beings'. Each morning began with devotions after a time of worship with speakers Adrienne Blomberg, Professor Johannes Reimer, and Dr Melba Maggay challenging us over the course of the week from God’s word. Delegates were encouraged to not be distracted, from the story of Martha; that 'Faith in Christ creates a new identity, concentrates all our meaning on the mission of God and counts obedience not success’; to practicing the discipline of accountability characterised by truth, love and solidarity. In plenary sessions, Ricardo 'Toyditz' Cosico reminded that our mandate was to glorify God and enjoy Him forever by using our gifts, resources and talents to bless others, whilst Deborah Storie challenged us to understand stewardship as living towards a vision of shalom.
At two World Cafés participants shared answers, ideas, experiences and asked more questions in response to the guiding questions by Roshan Mendis and Roma Hein from the Micah Network Asia-Pacific Coordinating Group.
The new initiative of six 'extended workshops' was much appreciated for the opportunity of in depth knowledge and skills it offered.
Since many participants of the consultation were first-timers or non-members, Sundar Daniel the Asia Region Co-ordinator introduced Micah Network briefly and Sheryl Haw, the International Director, presented the highlights of the revised strategy and invited input and feedback.
A visit to Hua Hin's night market and a cultural programme were evening activities that gave delegates a taste of Thailand and each other’s cultures.
In the closing message titled 'All for Him', Sheryl Haw drew attention to what motivates us - the Gospel - life changing news towards a new era. The Consultation ended with a communion service.
The Consultation provided opportunity for increased interaction among the Network, assisted by a 2-hour lunch break!
Latin American evangelical leaders gather for the Micah Challenge Consultation to dialogue about male-female relations and gender violence
In Guayaquil Ecuador, 92 Christian leaders from 19 countries met for a consultation organized by Micah Network on “Integral Mission, gender relations, and violence toward women” The Consultation was a space for theological revision of the roles of men and women, a re-reading of the Bible with respect to gender issues, and to learn about the advances and best practices that have been adopted by churches and para-church organizations in Latin America, to raise awareness in churches and communities about masculinity and draw attention to women who are survivors of domestic violence.
Alfonso Wieland, member of the International Board for Micah Network assured that “the Consultation sought to reflect contextually on how male-female relations are affected by the identity of each gender; for this reason, it was important to address the definitions of the masculinity of Jesus as a principal issue.” Theological reflections were given at different levels: in an approach that was Biblical, contextual, historical, missiological, recreational, testimonial, and included best practices. This revealed that male-female relations that have been maintained by the majority of church communities in Latin America have been done so through power, which has influenced gender violence. As a result of the consultation, the participants drafted a document on gender violence policies for churches and Christian organizations.
Representatives from churches and Christian organizations in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, the United States, England, and Italy dealt with an urgent and relevant world issue: gender violence. During the Micah Network Consultation the RESTORE Campaign was officially launched. The campaign is an alliance of Christian organizations in the United Kingdom that work with the church to prevent violence against women. Also of note was the presentation of the Voces Unidas (United Voices) CD, with the singer-songwriter Leonardo Alvarez, interpreting songs about integral mission and justice.
Ruth Alvarado, Latin America Regional Coordinator, Micah Network
10.10.10 has finally come. Some of you may have already seen stories or indeed have your own stories to tell of a day of prayer and promise. We praise God that he has multiplied our efforts in a wonderful way. Thank you for your involvement and for encouraging your organisations, churches and friends to be involved.
Here are a few quick quotes and stories. Plus some links to videos and photos.
By 2015, would we dare to ask that God would use us to change his people in this generation to a body that, without having to think about it, consistently and powerfully responds to injustice with justice? John Beckett, Australia
I cannot hide my excitement today, and I cannot remember when the last time was that I felt the way I am feeling today - 82,599 citizens of Malawi participated in 10.10.10 today! The activities were of differing magnitude and nature, and were spread across the nation. The 82,599 figure accounts only for those whose leaders I have been keeping in regular touch with. I know many more people have taken part in 10.10.10 than what I have on paper - to God be the glory. Lloyd Mtalimanja, Malawi
The India event was FANTASTIC!! What a glorious evening. The video is just uploaded now. It’s an mp4 version. A high quality version will take 3 hours to upload. Kuki Rokhum, India
1600 attended a major event in Parakou, from many denominations and churches. Praise and prayers gave glory to God and allowed participants to reconnect with their Lord and pray for the reduction of extreme poverty and hunger and for the development of Benin without forgetting the other poor countries of the world. The main message urged participants to follow the example of Job, who opened his doors to the poor and was rewarded by God. God has chosen us for one purpose: to continue his work. And that's what Micah Challenge continues through this campaign. Jean Kpetere, Benin
After three years, what excited me was to see many pastors preparing sermons on Micah 6:8, poverty, mercy and justice and other issues related to the world of the poor. It seems that the concept of integral mission is now on the agenda of the evangelical leaders in Portugal. Joao Pedro Martins, Portugal
Full stories will be available online at Micah Challenge web site.
In this book Andy Matheson suggests that when working among those who are disadvantaged we should begin in Genesis 1. Many people, he says, want to start in Genesis 3 with what is known as the ‘Fall’, when sin entered the world. Yet, for most of the poor an understanding of sin is a given. That is not a concept they have a problem with. But, he suggests, when you start to look at Genesis 1 many of those who are disadvantaged do have a problem – for instead of understanding their value as the unique people God has made them to be, they see themselves as worthless. Andy explains that as we grasp hold of the amazing fact that ALL people are made in the image of God it leads us to an understanding of the multi-dimensional nature of poverty and the need for us to relate to people not as souls, minds and bodies but as integrated and whole people. He explains why exclusion is a key aspect of poverty and the need that all people have to be in community. He talks about how we should respect the freedom of all people and go to them to empower them rather than force our agenda for change. He suggests that God holds the pain of the whole world and invites us to share it with him.
Views from the Frontline (VFL) 2009 was a very effective collaborative action aimed at bridging the gap between DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction) policy and practice, providing a “common voice” within the policy discourse at all levels. It brought together the views of over 7,000 government officials, civil society and community representatives involving over 400 organisations from 48 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas, in what was the largest independent global assessment of local disaster reduction ever undertaken.
There is probably no more compelling way of influencing public policy formulation and implementation than by utilising the collective power of large numbers of civil society organisations around the world, working together to achieve a shared objective. In the words of Margareta Wahlstrom – UNISDR “Views from the Frontline was a remarkable achievement.. it shifted the agenda at the Global Platform-DRR 2009 to focus on the implementation of national DRR policies at the local level”
We are now in the process of planning the next phase of this groundbreaking project. We would like to expand the number of partners and countries participating in VFL 2011 – which will focus on key aspects of Local Governance. Local governance is where national policies are converted into actual practice and is arguably the single most important factor in determining progress in building community resilience.
Some of the benefits for international NGOs and partners to participate in VFL 2011 include :- • High profile joint civil society action to build disaster-resilient communities • Part of a global monitoring process to increase government accountability and transparency • Vehicle for building multi-actor coalitions and cross-sectoral alliances • Strengthens capacities of southern partners to engage in evidence-based policy monitoring and advocacy at local, national and international levels • Opens political space to engage in multi-stakeholder policy dialogue at all levels • Raises awareness of DRR and sharing of practical experience and learning
There are several ways that international NGOs can engage in VFL :- • Encourage partner organisations and country programmes to take part in VFL 2011 • Provision of human and financial resources, technical assistance, training and capacity development to enhance capabilities of implementing organisations • Support joint advocacy and lobbying actions to promote VFL 2011 recommendations
We warmly invite you to join us and ask you to discuss this request with your programme staff and national partners, both in countries where we are already working and other additional countries. Over the next few weeks we will be recruiting participating organisations and undertaking regional training. It is envisaged the survey work will start around November 2010 with completion ahead of the Global Platform - DRR 8-13th May 2011. If you are interested in participating, and/or would like an opportunity to meet to discuss further, please do not hesitate to contact either myself or the Project Manager Terry Gibson as soon as possible.
Yours faithfully, Marcus C Oxley Head of Secretariat - Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction www.globalnetwork-dr.org
The vision of Wycliffe Bible Translators is that by 2025, together with partners worldwide, we aim to see a Bible translation programme begun in all the remaining languages that need one.
Through the Bible, God speaks directly to every man, woman and child. But unless people have the Bible in their heart language, they cannot read his message of life, hope and salvation. Thousands of languages still don't have a single verse of Scripture. In addition to more than 1,300 active projects, work needs to begin in over 2,200 languages, spoken by 353 million people.
Here is an article by Dave Pearson from Wycliffe’s latest magazine publication:
Wycliffe Bible Translators in the UK is a member of an international family of organisations called Wycliffe Bible Translators International (WBTI). WBTI is a member of the Micah Network, a group of over 300 Christian agencies committed to Integral Mission. Integral mission is “the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel. It is not simply that evangelism and social involvement are to be done alongside each other. Rather, in integral mission our proclamation has social consequences as we call people to love and repentance in all areas of life. And our social involvement has evangelistic consequences as we bear witness to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ. If we ignore the world we betray the word of God which sends us out to serve the world. If we ignore the word of God we have nothing to bring to the world. Justice and justification by faith, worship and political action, the spiritual and the material, personal change and structural change belong together.” (www.micahnetwork.org)
Wycliffe’s language development work produces transformed lives through the translated Word and through translated development information. People grow better crops and live better lives. They care for their environment and they care for their neighbours. They learn about justification by faith and oral rehydration solution. Wycliffe’s work brings both spiritual and material blessing.
Development agencies such as World Vision and Save the Children are increasingly paying attention to these issues. My current role involves working with such agencies to help them better understand the roles culture and language can play in development. So is Wycliffe becoming a development agency? No, our core purpose is still clearly in focus, but we are not blind to the broader consequences of our work. Language development is holistic ministry, meeting the needs of people who still have both body and soul.
Dave Pearson was Director of the Chad Branch of SIL from 1991 to 1998. He currently serves as a Language Development Advocate, helping UN agencies and NGOs to better integrate language issues into their development work.
To read the rest of Wycliffe’s latest magazine click here
Amahoro Africa is an exciting network in Africa working to see the Gospel of Jesus bring transformation to communities. In order to support emerging Christian leaders they facilitate holistic transformation by encouraging, resourcing and connecting those who are committed to the tangible manifestation of justice, mercy and goodness in their local context.
Micah Network would like to encourage members to attend the city conversations in their country as this represents a wonderful way to further engage in integral mission, fellowship and learn from one another.
Schedule: Cape Town – South Africa: 26th to 28th October 2010 Maputo - Mozambique: 29th to 31st October 2010 Harare – Zimbabwe: 2nd to 4th November 2010 Kumasi – Ghana: 9th to 11th November 2010
To participate in these conversations please e-mail Amahoro Africa at: [email protected] Further information will then be sent to you.
A number of strategic consultations are planned between now and December:
Cape Town, South Africa: 16th October 2010: 16:00 – 19:00 at Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel, 1 Lower Buitengracht Street Cape Town. For registration please write to [email protected]
Kampala, Uganda: 4th to 5th November 2010 at Lweza Training and Conference Centre, Kampala Entebbe Road. For registration please write to [email protected]
Transformation 2010: Jos, Nigeria: 25th to 29th November 2010 The Transformation 2010 (T-2010) Conference is a Joint initiative of Global Relief Nigeria and the Micah Network seeking to pull together strategic leaders to brainstorm biblical solutions to violent conflicts and poverty.
T2010 seeks to promote the practice of Integral Mission among Nigerian church and mission leaders, Christian professionals, Christian Politicians, NGOs, Christian Business community, Government officials, civil society and youth leaders.
For all current members we want to ask you to download the member application form and complete as this will be a means of us updating our database and contact details, as well as learning more about you.
For all our contacts, please consider how you can engage further in our network.
Some Prayer Points
10.10.10 may have passed but we can still pray to God for our nations’ governments to work towards halving global poverty by 2015 and meet the pledges they made a decade ago.
Pray that Integral Mission will continue to inspire and provoke many individuals and organisations to break out of their traditional areas of operation and embrace new opportunities to bring God’s kingdom to pass in our generation, as the Holy Spirit guides.
Lastly, in advance of, and during the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town beginning on October 16th, be praying that such a large and globally representative gathering of Christian leaders would be influential in encouraging believers everywhere in the mission God has given us.
Why not join our weekly prayer update: this is a prayer letter that is sent to all who want to join with us in prayer for the issues and concerns raised by us – please join us by both sending your prayer points and by prayer: Contact Steve Bradbury at: [email protected]