Without the proclamation of Jesus as Lord, there is no integral Gospel, and without an integral gospel there can be no integral mission. (René Padilla, The Local Church, Agent for Transformation)
2011 marked 10 years since Micah Network formally launched our shared desire to mobilise and equip one another to embrace and practice integral mission. The Micah Declaration on Integral Mission became a core expression of intention, encouraging us to recognise that all spheres of life are “mission fields” and we need together to explore ways of asserting the sovereignty of Jesus Christ in all of them.
Reflecting over these 10 years has shown that much has been achieved. Seeing the Micah definition of integral mission written into the Lausanne Commitment in October 2010 underlined that intellectual assent to the concept of integral mission has grown considerably. The question remains though, has affirmation of integral mission led to concrete grass root change in the situation of our local churches, in the approach of our organisations and in the training of our future leaders?
Our Global Triennial Consultation to be held from the 10th to 14th September 2012 will focus on answering this question and will seek to address pressing relevant issues of concern in our world, helping us to have a prophetic influence at all levels of our society. This gathering will also create the platform for us together to consider what key role our Network could play in the coming years. I encourage you to make every effort to join us for this. To help us keep costs down and ensure the consultation is more accessible, many Christians in Switzerland have opened their homes to accommodate us during this time. It is an opportunity to bless and be blessed by one another.
Austerity or Simplicity
The global financial crisis continues to evolve and our media does a great job in scaring us all. Micah Network has not been immune to this and 2011 marked the year of a significant loss of funding income which has led to a number of staff having to leave us. I wrestled with whether this was a time of austerity or a challenge to simplicity and improved stewardship. I am convinced the latter is our challenge and witness. Jesus continues to be our example – he lived life to the full each day, trusting in God’s provision, and was able to achieve all he set out to do.
The Value of Membership
We have just over 500 organisation/church members registered with us and if we include individual members this would rise to over 580. In reality though I suspect that we really only have about 110 members that engage regularly and even from that number less who send in their annual contributions. Why is this?
The value of membership in Micah Network is to stand together behind a shared vision to see transformation in our communities as we proclaim and demonstrate the love of Christ to a world in need.
What this looks like in practice is that in every country and region where we have 3 or more members, we have the opportunity to facilitate a conversation on integral mission and encourage churches, missions, aid agencies and colleges to a holistic transformational approach. This will involve focusing on cross cutting thematic concerns such as reconciliation, inclusion and equality, impacting HIV, child protection, advocating for the poor and marginalized, justice, and environmental care.
It is not just about discussing theological and good practice aspects but it is about seeking God together to change and become agents of change. At a recent conversation we held in Zambia where we focused on reconciliation, one participant said at the end “I feel like I have been born again, again” – this is what it is all about!
As we draw to the end of 2011, the challenge for us all – do we see the added value of being a part of Micah Network? If as staff we have failed to support you sufficiently this year we apologise and commit to strengthening our work in 2012. Together I know we can make a vital difference and impact mission community by community. I also call on each of you to reflect on your role in Micah Network. What is your response?
Three specific responses are needed now:
1. Membership contribution 2011: if you have not sent in your 2011 contribution please do so.
2. Confirmation of your desire to engage with Micah Network:
a. Usage of devotions, prayer focus, resources and newsletters
b. Participation in national, regional and global events
c. Willingness to be a part of a national coordination / cooperation in your country to promote and facilitate holistic transformation.
3. Membership contribution 2012: responding to requests for a new guideline on contributions, please see the new table for 2012 contributions.
Christmas and New Year
May the celebration of the incarnation (God amongst us) inspire us to be present for our families, friends, neighbours and communities.
Have a Spirit-filled New Year!