As I travelled to our Integral Mission Forum meeting in London this week I sat on the underground train (tube) in London and looked around me. People looked tired, some slept, some yawned, some peered bleary eyed and weary at the newspaper in front of them.
During the day’s conversation people shared how tired they were. One person commented that their Monday to Friday job was dealing with issues of poverty and injustice, and that they were just too tired to do so on the weekend too.
Earlier in the week I had been speaking to a pastor in Zimbabwe on the phone and had asked if their church could help with the care of a person in need in the community. They had answered that everyone was too stretched already, struggling to cope themselves and thus not able to even consider helping.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, and I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
In the context when Jesus spoke these words, the burden imposed on people by religious laws and obligations was heavy. (Matthew 23:4). The word “yoke” was often used to imply submission. Here Jesus, a carpenter, would have also known that making a well-fitting yoke would have been essential for the care of the plough animals. He would have crafted a special fitting yoke, made to measure. Jesus is saying that because he knows us so well, the calling he gives us is not to be a burden to destroy us and exhaust us, but to maximise our potential and gifts.
If I look at the life of Paul and how hard he worked, how he laboured for the Gospel, I have to ask was he not burnt out too? (1 Thess 2:9) What was it that upheld him? Was it not love?
There is so much we want to do. There are so many areas that need work and time. There is so much need in the world. Jesus says "Come to me". That has to be our first step. Jesus had an extremely full agenda and yet we see him taking time away to rest, to be with God.
When we are physically tired we will not have the energy and ability to discern, respond and help others. Jesus himself took time out – Mark 6:45-46 shows us how after some intense ministry he took himself away to rest and pray. At the heart of all he was doing was his love for us. Doing something for someone we love is never a burden, though it may be tiring and we will need times of rest.
Another important aspect of re-energising is found in community. Facilitating consultations, forums, gatherings, can be very tiring, and a few days rest is always needed. But they are times of refreshment, inspiration and recognition that we are not alone, and we can support and enable one another to keep going.
As you plan your 2017 calendar, may we encourage you to build in times of rest before the Lord. May we also invite you to join in on our Micah gatherings where you can share and be encouraged by others, be inspired by what God is doing and discern together how we can ensure we have Jesus' yoke, which is light.
We look forward to welcoming you this year.
Sign up! Asia Regional Consultation
Our Asia Regional Consultation is coming up very soon! For all those intending to join us in Thailand from 24 - 28th April for this encouraging and inspiring event, please click here to register now.
IMPORTANT: If you are having problems using Eventbrite to register and pay, please email Joanna at email@example.com to make alternative arrangements.
All the information on the consultation can be found here.
Please pray for those who are waiting on VISAs and for the speakers and facilitators who are preparing their sessions.
We look forward to a time of fellowship, workshop discussions and teaching as we explore and hear what God has to say to us individually and collectively about Integral Mission and the Common Good in the Asian context.
Special pre-consultation - Urban Shalom Forum
ISUM-Micah Global and the Lausanne/WEA Creation Care Network have joined forces as the Urban Shalom Project to help the Christian community engage with urban challenges and to be involved in the global dialogue on urbanism.
In 2017, in cities around the world, the Urban Shalom Project will be hosting public forums for Christians to come together to engage with urban challenges, opportunities and the UN’s New Urban Agenda.
An Urban Shalom Forum will be held as a pre-consultation to the Micah Asia Regional Consultation.
Date: 24th April 2017
Time: 08:00 – 13:00
Location: Long Beach Hotel, Cha-am (same location as the Micah Asia Regional Consultation).
If you would like to participate in this pre-consultation, please register by emailing Ash Barker. You must pre-register to be able to attend.
Please note that there may be an extra cost to attend the pre-consultation and this will be communicated when you register.
Renew our world
This month saw the launch of Renew our World - a campaign that seeks to build a global community of people doing justice as we follow Jesus. Together, we love our neighbours, care for creation, and help shape a fair and sustainable world for all.
Watch the Renew our World clip here.
Sign up to the movement here.
Foundations for Farming Q&A
As Renew our World was launched this month, and issues around climate change and our response to the earth are highlighted, Micah Global asked one of our members, Brian Oldrieve of Foundations for Farming about climate change and faith.
If you had one minute to address the global church in the current climate what would you say?
There is sufficient scientific evidence now that climate change is real and not just a manipulative subterfuge created by the scaremongers of the overarching political system. Research shows that the probabilities are such that the long-term effects of climate change will mean that we are unable to feed the world by 2050.
I would confidently state that the root cause of the climate change problem is the selfishness of fallen humankind and that humanly speaking, it is impossible to slow down the deleterious causal effects sufficiently to avert the disaster.
The only hope is for a miracle from the Lord, and that will only happen if a sufficient critical-mass of the global church would sincerely carry out the Lord’s conditional promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14:
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways (which include any unacceptable levels of materialism and consumerism), then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land (a holistic term that includes the whole environment).”
Why is climate change a 'gospel' issue?
If the root cause of climate change is the inherent selfishness of fallen humankind, it is a ‘gospel’ issue because Jesus is the only hope and salvation for humankind and for the whole world system.
In order to create the critical mass of repentance for our corporate selfishness and sin, which will move God’s heart to have mercy, then surely there will have to be acceptable levels of both the sincerity and the number of contrite and obedient hearts of God’s people.
Grace not withstanding, nothing can change the heart of man except the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, the presence of Jesus, His finished work at the cross, and His precious Word and Truth applied to all of life.
“All Scripture is inspired by God, and is useful for teaching truth, rebuking error, correcting faults and for giving instructions for right living, so that the one who serves God will be fully qualified and equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16 (GNB).
For more on Foundations for Farming, click here.
For more on Renew our World, click here.
Watch this space for more of the Foundations for Farming story on our blog.
Advocacy: WEA and Micah Global stand with Beni, DRC, at UN
Micah Global members in the Democratic Republic of Congo have alerted Micah to the increasing violence in Beni State, DRC, where the atrocities committed with impunity are an absolute travesty. The international community cannot turn a blind eye to this and we call on all governments, the United Nations and the DRC authorities to act swiftly to end these senseless murders and property destruction.
Together with the WEA, Micah delivered the statement below at the 34th UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva on the 22nd March 2017.
Click here to read the message delivered to the UN.
Please pray for a resolution to these atrocities.
Getting to know members: HIMserve
HIMserve, formed 14 years ago, expresses the love of Christ through concentrating on the felt needs of Nepali-speaking poor communities in North East India in a wholistic way. HIMserve partners with different church groups irrespective of their doctrinal and denominational differences, and serves the unreached and under privileged, seeking to be salt and light to these communities. The focal area of ministry is capacity building of local leaders to address different aspects of their need and empower them
to help themselves using local available resources.
HIMserve generates awareness on the burning issue of human trafficking in India and its neighbouring countries. HIMserve ensures they are present to intercepts the vulnerable women and children at transit points on the borders of Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh before they are trafficked into the most hazardous of situations.
HIMserve has been a member of Micah for many years and has loads of experience in community transformation. The director of HIMserve is Puran Rai.
Resource: Restored Campaign - First Man Standing
Restored has released their "Living as a First Man Standing" Bible Studies. These seven studies explore issues including:
· Being a Christian man
· Men and relationships
· Men relating to women
· A man and his life partner
· Violence against women
· Men and the next generation
· How should we then live?
Download the bible study resource here.
God's Liberating Agenda: SDG 1: End Poverty
The first SDG is to end poverty in all its forms everywhere ...
The 5 targets listed under this goal present us with great opportunity.
1. No one living in extreme poverty – that means every person earning above $1.25/day ($37.50/month or $450/year)
2. Reduce by half people living in poverty – that means seeking to raise the daily income to above $1.90/day ($57/month or $684/year)
3. Enable vital social protection systems with special attention to vulnerable groups such as marginalised, poor, unemployed, older people, pregnant women, newborns, people with disabilities, children. Social protection measures include policies and programmes that reduce vulnerability, mitigate risk, and protect when affected by disasters.
4. Ensure all have access to basic services, rights to own land and property.
5. Reduce exposure to climate-related disasters and other economic, social and environmental shocks, through resource mobilisation, and good policy implementation. This includes ensuring resources reach their intended purpose.
One of the ways Micah is seeking to support this goal is through the promotion of community resilience initiatives. What do we mean by community resilience? We mean the sustained ability of a community to draw on and use its combined resources, gifts and capacity to respond to, withstand and recover from adverse situations. The local church in each community has the opportunity and calling to be an agent of transformation. What does this look like?
1. Enabling community cohesiveness. Modern society elevates the individual often to the detriment of the collective community. The call to love our neighbour and seek the welfare of our community is an important responsibility of the local church to inspire their communities towards.
2. Building together: Each community will have a level of resources, gifts and capacities that when harnessed together can significantly increase a shared resilience and steps towards flourishing. Exploring and sharing a community's capacity and enabling the pulling together is an important responsibility of the local church.
3. Advocating with each community to address local and national authorities, investment organisations or businesses so as to mobilise:
a. Resources and capacity that is required to further enable each community towards greater resilience and flourishing.
b. Remove barriers or obstacles that limit or prohibit access to essential services or opportunities for enhancing resilience and flourishing.
This is an important responsibility of the local church.
4. Being a blessing to others: enabling each community to seek not only its own welfare but the welfare of neighbouring communities is a sign that transformation has truly taken place. The local church is an important demonstration of this attribute and called to inspire each community towards this.
Sharing ideas and ways to do this effectively is key to what Micah is seeking to do through our networking opportunities. Creating a movement for community transformation is at the heart of Micah’s agenda.
Membership in Micah is not merely to learn and share together, but it is to create a united effort towards these shared goals. At the heart of integral mission is the truth that the Good News of Jesus Christ is that the freedom he brought for us all on the cross, is the freedom for us to intentionally choose to become his hands, his feet and his message - that all communities may live life in all its fullness, free from poverty, injustice and conflict.
The Good News is about reconciliation between us and God, between one another, and between us and creation. That reconciliation looks like a combined effort in love and service of God expressed in love and service to one another.
As you consider the up-and-coming Micah events each year, they are spaces to root ourselves deeply in God’s Word, and to explore how we can together be more effective for His Mission for the sake of His Kingdom. We have a Community Resilience Community of Practice you could join. David Boan chairs this group and will be exploring this further in our Asia Regional Consultation in April.
Come, let us walk together.
Worth Listening to: Aid for Trade
In many developing countries, smallholder farmers struggle to make ends meet, lacking access to credit, quality seed, markets and other resources. In her AgTalk, Beatrice Makwenda, Policy and Programmes Coordinator of the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM), explains how her organisation turned farmer members into a formidable force for collective action, leveraging lucrative markets and strong consumer loyalty in the process. Click here to watch.
Worth Reading: No such thing as the voiceless
"Being a "voice for the voiceless" is one of those things that we've solidly embraced as Christians. But the phrase no longer sits so well with me. Sometimes, being a "voice for the voiceless" is another excuse to place ourselves at the centre of the story. It can become a subtle way of being a white savior, pushing ourselves to the forefront and taking the place of honour (Lk 14:8).And when we do that, we marginalise poor people all over again. By attempting to be their voice, when they already have a voice.
Craig Greenfield suggests three alternatives that may be more appropriate than being a 'voice for the voiceless'. To read the full article, click here.
*Craig will be speaking at the Micah Global Asia Regional Consultation next month.
Events: The Church as an Ambassador for Reconciliation
The Church as an Ambassador for Reconciliation
Dates: 18-20 May 2017
Location: Light of the World Church, Chisinau - Moldova
Micah Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regiobal Consultation, in cooperation with INFEMIT Europe, WEA Peace and Reconciliation Network, Studio for Innovative Leadership and the Light of the World Church.
Speakers include: Johannes Reimer, Peter Kuzmic, Ester Petrenko, Vladimir Ubeivolc, Corneliu Constantineau and Chris Wright
For more information and to register see here.
Events: INFEMIT Stott-Bediako
Theme: The Refugee Crisis: a shared human condition.
Dates: 29-30 June 2017
Location Accra, Ghana
This is an important opportunity to explore the refugee crisis from an African context and seek ways to address issues of concern together. For more information, click here.
Pakistan Integral Mission Conversation: 20 - 24 March 2017: Postponed - new dates will be announced.
Nepal Integral Mission Conversations: The Church, The Kingdom and the Mission: 3-4th April - East Nepal, 6-7 April - West Nepal, 9-10 April - Central Nepal. For more information on these gatherings see here and email Thir KC, our national coordinator in Nepal.
Asian Regional Consultation: Integral Mission and the Common Good: 24 - 28 April 2017
Don't miss this gathering in Asia in April. Excellent speakers, challenging workshops, great connecting times and wonderful community. The issues of Integral Mission and the Common Good will be the focus of the time. Click here
for more information and here to register.
Micha Deutschland Networking Meeting: 28 - 30 April 2017
The Micha Deutschland networking meeting will be held in Stuttgart from 28-30th April 2017. Save this date and keep an eye on our website and newsletter for more information and registration details closer to the time. Click here for more information.
Kenya Integral Mission Conversation: 9 May 2017
The theme is Integral Mission and Reconciliation. We will be exploring how to be people of peace. For more information and to register click here.
Moldova Integral Mission Conversation: 17 May 2017
Micah Moldova Integral Mission Conversation explores the priorities and strategy for Micah in 2017. For more information click here and follow up with Micah National Coordinator in Moldova, Vladimir Ubeivolc
The Church as an Ambassador for Reconciliation Consultation: 18 - 20 May 2017
Micah Regional Consultation for Eastern Europe and Central Asia in cooperation with INFEMIT Europe, WEA Peace and Reconciliation Network, Studio for Innovative Leadership and the Light of the World Church, will be held in Chisinau, Moldova. This Micah regional hub creates a platform for aid practitioners, missions, missiologists, pastors, civil activists, politicians and business people for a dialogue from an Integral Mission perspective. Important topics, excellent speakers - 'We transform communities together" is the heart behind this gathering, and an opportunity to share best practices, failures and successes. For more information
Uganda Integral Mission Conversation: 25th May 2017
This will be held in Kampala at the Share An Opportunity Uganda offices. More info to follow.
Tanzania Integral Mission Conversation: 30 - 31st May 2017
This will be in held in Arusha - more information to follow.
Brazil Integral Mission Congress: 26 - 29 June 2017
Micah Brazil will hold an Integral Mission Congress from 26-29 June 2017 at the Praia do Canto Baptist Church in Vitoria. The theme of the Congress is: "Paths of Mission: The church and its time". Please save these dates. For more information, click here for the Portuguese version, and here
for the English version.
Quote for the Road
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”