The Call to Follow
My Command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13
We are called to follow the example of Jesus! The call to follow Jesus is an amazing one, but it is also a costly one. The Bible tells us that people will know us by the demonstration of our love. (John 13:35). One of the ways we demonstrate this is we lay down our lives for our friends. This is very a very serious show of commitment! I need to know who are my friends – and if Facebook is one of the lists…….!!!
Who are my friends?
Well we can start with those whom we link to every day of our lives:
Our Family: not just my immediate family but my extended family
Our Church: the local church we all attend in our community
Our Colleagues: the people we work with
Our Community: the people we live alongside with
Jesus expands each of these definitions:
Our family: we are born into the wider family of all believers
Our Church: we fellowship with all believers across denominational, ethnic and geographical boundaries
Our colleagues: we link up with others who work in our interconnected world
Our community: we are called to be a blessing to the nations – out community has just broadened! After all, who is our neighbour…..?
Lay down our lives
Most of us may not be called on to literally lay down our physical life – though we should all be willing to do so. But, we are all called to lay down our lives each day in a far more subtle but equally as important way. What does this look like:
I get on the plane and just want to tune out and watch a film, not talk to anyone – but the person sitting next to me seems down. I lay down my desire for my own time and start to talk to my neighbour.
Every day we need to make choices and many times we make them guided by the way we can we best avoid inconvenience, discomfort, interruption, pain, frustration, annoyance, delays, etc. We make choices about where to live, where to work, where to spend time all based on what we gain for ourselves: better salary, nicer community, more comfort, less stress. Of course we are meant to be wise and good stewards – but we need to cross check motivation here.
Micah represents a call to each of us to a deeper friendship drawn together because of our passion and vision to see mission as transformation. Our application for membership is a sign of solidarity to work together to see this vision unfold.
I believe that we can be catalysts for change but it comes with the costly laying down our lives for one another. As we together launch Micah (the coming together of Micah Network and Micah Challenge), we will need to affirm our vision in practical ways. For example:
1) Bringing together missional leaders at national level every year so that they can learn and share together and springboard into transformational activities for each country. If we want to see grass root change we need to invest in these conversations.
2) Developing a call to action and change on issues of poverty, conflict, exploitation and injustice requires time set aside together to brainstorm, hear from God and action the inspired campaigns and lobbying initiatives that ensure leaders are not only held to account but are influenced for good. We joined Micah because of this united response - we need to invest in these intiatives and one way is to support an adovacy coordinator.
3) Coming together every three years as a global community requires a commitment to help those who are a vital part of our network to attend. We value equality of voice and participation but have to be committed to equity as it requires our own effort to ensure all our present.
May we invite you all to stand with us in Micah and in a very practical way make a commitment beyond your membership contribution to enable us together to be the change we long to see. Contact Sheryl to explore this further
United in Him,
Inhabiting our Neighbourhoods
Inhabiting our Neighbourhoods – Being God’s Hands and Feet in the City
How would we approach our neighbours differently if we recognised their value in the eyes of God?
How does the relational - not just the structural and the convenient - come into the planning of our urban communities and environments?
According to the Bible, how would your city look different if it was flourishing?
These are just some of the questions which arose during the recent Urban Life Together: Inhabiting our Neighbourhoods gathering which took place in Melbourne on October 17th – 18th.
Organised by Ash Barker, director of International Society of Urban Mission, and hosted by Urban Seed, this event brought together a diverse group of individuals and organisations all committed to being God’s hands and feet in their own urban community.
We heard from social workers who walk alongside disenfranchised youth in the inner city, volunteers who run kids clubs in the disadvantaged suburbs, workers who bring shelter and companionship to the homeless, a pastor who built a church to minister to the particular needs of international students, and everyday Christians who devote their lives to simply being present and known in their community; demonstrating God’s love in everyday acts of care and compassion.
What would happen if we spent 10 minutes more each day engaging with our neighbours?
What if we stopped leaving urban transformation up to our political leaders and began to dream of how we can affect change?
Over the course of two days, everyone who participated in the gathering was challenged to look at how we can build cities which are places of refuge for the poor, welcome for the marginalised and freedom for the oppressed.
We took time to look at God’s heart for urban communities (Deut. 15, Isaiah 65, Rev. 22), and found that God’s purpose for the city is to be a place that people come to, not to get ahead or to advance themselves, but instead to be together and share both life’s gifts and life’s challenges.
Hospitality. Relationships. Connectivity. Well-being. Generosity.
These were the words which came up again and again throughout the gathering. In a world where technology and busyness leaves us increasingly disconnected despite physical proximity to our neighbours, we are called to be counter-cultural. We are called to be present and accountable in our communities; ready to serve and willing to be inconvenienced (Matthew 5:13ff, Luke 10:25ff).
And finally, we ask ourselves, why are we to seek the Shalom of the city?
“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me”
Global Network Coordinator
The papers from this event will be made available in the form of a book in the coming months. Micah Network will highlight this in our newsletter once it is published.
Below are some great resources on the topic of Urban Mission:
New Urban World (the journal of International Society of Urban Mission)
InnerChange - a great resource list
Risky Compassion by Ash Barker
Red Letter Revolution by Shane Claibourne and Tony Campolo
Announcement: ISUM and Micah
Over the last few years the proportion of the global population living in cities has risent to over 50%! Our cities continue to grow. How can we be a blessing to our urban population, many who live in very difficult situations, extreme poverty and hardship? A good number of Micah members specialise in working in inner cities and in slums around the world. We have collaborated with the International Society of Urban Mission (ISUM) over the last two years through their annual Urban Summit. During this time we have been so encouraged to see the impact they are having.
It is therefore with deep respect and excitement that we are thrilled to announce that the International Society for Urban Mission (ISUM) will become a formal expression of Micah in Urban Mission as of January, 2015.
One of the strategic priorities that Micah intends to focus on in the coming years is the call to action in seeking the welfare of the city (Jeremiah 29:7). The expertise, passion and connections which ISUM will bring into the Micah will be a blessing to us all and we look foward to everything that this collabroation will bring.
You can see the full outline of all of the changes which are happening at ISUM here.
Shine the Light: G20 Highlights
Micah Challenge and the Exposed Campaign were able to generate a significant amount of media attention and public interest with their Shine the Light Brisbane
event over the weekend of November 8 - 9. It was a weekend of worship, action and advocacy. Christians from around the world used their voice to speak up against corruption and tax dodging in the lead up to the G20 Leaders' Summit which took place the following weekend (15-16 Nov).
Thank you to everyone who joined us in prayer during this time!
Highlights from the week included:
- The delivery of an open letter, signed by global church leaders, calling for greater transparency to become the international norm.
- The creation of the world's biggest mock tax haven.
- Meetings with business leaders to discuss how integrity in business can benefit the poor. A statement of impact from these meetings can be read here.
You can keep the conversation about integrity and transparency going by using #Shinethelight on social media.
You can also read the Press Release from Exposed in response to the final G20 Leaders' Communiqué [pdf].
Proposal and Reporting Templates: Updated
We have completed a lengthy revision process that has seen our Micah Network standard proposal and reporting templates updated to fit with advances in best practice across the aid, relief and development sector.
These templates were created with the intention of standardising the proposal and reporting formats in an effort to reduce demands on time and human resources in producing proposals and reports for donors and other stakeholders.
They have been revised and updated in wide consultation with the Network, and are now finalised and available in English and Spanish (French will be available soon).
Micah Focus: Gender
You will recently have a received a special mailing of our first edition of the Micah Gender: Focus. We remind you (men and women!) that you can participate in an ongoing dialogue around issues associated with gender by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
and signing up to our Community of Practice.
Livingstone Declaration - responding
In September 2014 Micah published the Livingstone Declaration which outlines our commitment to action to address the travesty of gender-based violence and human trafficking. Each month we will explore together how we can do this together.
We commit to ending violence against women and children.
Restored have developed a church pack that enables churches to be informed on how to detect, respond to and how to prevent domestic violence. We encourage you to download this pack here, read through it and then share it with your church leaders.
Family Impact in Zimbabwe are adapting this resource to fit the context
Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia and Micah Challenge Zambia are adapting this pack to fit the context in Zambia.
We would love each member to consider adding their name to this and seeing what part they could play in raising awareness of domestic violence – ensuring their organisation and church is a place of refuge and response. To be a part of this please contact Jenny.
Resource: to track information on what is happening in anti-human trafficking see here.
Although the end of the year is approaching, our events planning is ramping up as we look ahead to 2015. Make sure you take note of the dates below:
Hephzibah Women of Destiny Conference
November 14 - 16, 2014
Durban, South Africa
Micah Summit: Register now!
December 7 - 9, 2014
New York, USA
Courage for Change: transforming church, transforming community
January 13 - 15, 2015
SAVE THE DATES: March 5 - 6, 2015
SAVE THE DATES: March 10 - 11, 2015
SAVE THE DATES: April 24 - 26, 2015
Global Triennial Consultation:
Integral Mission and Shalom:
justice, peace, joy
September 14 - 18, 2015
Huampani Convention Centre, Lima, Peru
Creation Care & the Gospel
Earlier this year WEA and Lausanne facilitated a conference on Creation Care and the Gospel in Manila. Dave Bookless, Director of Theology with A Rocha reports back on this and announces up and coming conferences to build on this:
This was the first of probably 9 regional conferences planned over the next 3-4 years, building on the Lausanne Cape Town Commitment’s recognition of Creation Care as a Gospel issue and following the Jamaica consultation in late 2012. The conferences are being organised by regional committees and coordinated by Ed Brown (Care of Creation & Lausanne Senior Advocate for Creation Care) and Dave Bookless.
Organisation: The conference had been planned by David Gould (OMF Creation Care Advocate) and Bishop Efraim Tendero of Manila, and was facilitated by the Philippines Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), chaired by Bp Tendero. A representative from the next conference’s planning group (Nairobi Dec. 2014), also attended – Karobia Njogu of CMS Africa.
Attendance: Around 90 people attended from over 10 countries.
Programme: The aim was to build towards plans for national creation care networks, and the final day was given over to this. One of the chief impressions that came over in many of the talks and seminars was of the rapid deforestation and biodiversity loss that are facing many parts of SE Asia, and that the need for action is urgent.
Outcomes: The aims of the conference (and the other regional conferences) are to ignite evangelical creation care movements within the participating countries. These movements will be identified by the following general characteristics. That is, they will transform the understanding of creation care within evangelical churches in their country in the following observable and measurable ways:
• They will self-identify as evangelical and/or will be seen to be working primarily within the evangelical community, with links to their national evangelical alliance or WEA associate group;
• They will enhance understanding of and action with regard to creation care through promoting an environmental response that is marked by sound theology, good science, and practical engagement;
• They will have visible, committed leadership, able to achieve a national profile for creation care;
• They will work in partnership with / draw support from a variety of organizations, institutions and denominations, including the majority of significant national evangelical organizations and churches;
• They will use locally appropriate strategies, locally produced resources, and be locally funded;
• They will sponsor and promote ongoing activities, varying according to national conditions (e.g. annual ‘creation care Sunday’ with biblically-based resources, campaigns on specific environmental issues, resources for small groups for bible study, prayer, practical response.)
Lausanne have created a Lausanne Creation Care Network online forum to help people follow up and share what they’re doing. This is at http://lccn.proboards.com.
Up and coming regional conferences on creation care and the Gospel are:
17th to 21st May 2015 - East & Central Africa, Nairobi, Kenya
9th to 13th November 2015 – West & Francophone Africa, Accra, Ghana
27th – 31st July 2015 – North America - Gordon College, MA, USA
October 2015 – South & Central America – TBC
From EU Cord Network
Training: Disability-Inclusive Humanitarian Action
Dates: December 9th-10th, 2014
Venue: '11.11.11' Vlasfabriekstraat 11, 1060 Brussels, Belgium
Topics to be covered: Disability Inclusion from a rights based perspective, the UN convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, Disability in the context of conflict and disaster and steps to mainstream disability in Humanitarian Interventions.
Cost: 50Euro for EU CORD members, 75Euros for non-members
To register, click here.
Vacancy: Advocacy Officer
The EU-CORD network (European Christian Organisation for relief and development) are recruiting for an advocacy officer to join the Brussels-based secretariat.
All of the position details including how to apply are available by clicking here.