The Integral Challenge

One way of describing integral mission is rooted in the whole Gospel out of which there is engagement in the community for transformation of society, the inauguration of a new Kingdom. I have been asked why do we say the “whole Gospel”, after all, can the Gospel be anything but whole? The emphasis on the “whole” Gospel is there for the same reason we emphasize “integral” mission – we have tended to separate aspects that should never be separated, for example:

1) Believing and Living
Somehow we have separated believing in the Gospel from living the Gospel, often prioritising the believing. The Gospel message always integrates faith and obedience so we need to ask ourselves can we really believe the Gospel and not live it out? One of the biggest obstacles to sharing the Good News is the scandal that many who profess to believe show no evidence of living this belief out. The world then looks on and calls us hypocrites and our message lacks authenticity and integrity.

2) Individual and Creation
Our emphasis over the years has tended to put individual salvation at the centre of the Gospel, leaving out the redemptive plan of God for all creation. All things were created in Christ and for him. The Gospel message is a message of reconciliation of all things in heaven and earth, which includes not only us as individuals, but the church, communities, nations, creation! Over emphasising the individual, as important as this is, results in an image of the church as a container for souls, rather than a living demonstration of the transformation that God intends for the whole of creation.

3) Proclamation and Demonstration
This is the most common understanding of integral mission – the Gospel needs to be heard and seen.

When we focus on the former aspect of the each of the above we reduce the Gospel to an “otherworld” dimension and lose sight of the here and now. We have a form of godliness but lack integrity and power for change. Similarly, if we focus on the latter aspect of each of the above we become social workers yet transformation is limited. Without the proclamation of Jesus as Lord there is no integral Gospel, and without an integral Gospel there is no integral mission.

There are other aspects we detrimentally separate, for example private and public, spiritual and material. We need to strive to live an integrated holistic life, mirroring Christ in all we say and do. David prayed: Psalm 86:11 - Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

Let us share this pray with David as we reflect on how to live out integral mission.

International Women’s Day

The 8th March 2013 was international women's day.

What would it mean to end discrimination against women? To stop gender based violence? As we recognise the role women play in society we also need to ask how we can respond to raise awareness of the inequalities still so evidence in our world.

Woman to Woman: this is an initiative of Micah Challenge. 900 million women and girls around the world live in extreme poverty. That’s 1 in every 4 who are denied basic opportunity. Women own only 1% of the world’s wealth.

Women and girls are victims of poverty but they are also key in providing the solutions. Let us pray together for:

Women to take initiative and be the change they long to see in their families and communities

For greater awareness of the scandal of forced marriages and that change will occur in laws and cultural traditions that exploit women in this way

For greater opportunities for girls to access education

For exposure of the travesty of sex trafficking and a united effort to stop trafficking.

In a recent Micah Network meeting in Cape Town, a number of men stood and prayed a prayer of repentance of behalf of men. They asked forgiveness for their complacency and lack of modelling a respectful way of talking about and to women, in demonstrating a Christ like character and of showing a poor example of what a father should be as an example to the sons. Saying and doing nothing about the exploitative and disrespectful way women are treated around the world means complicity.

Women at this meeting also prayer and asked for forgiveness when they spoke negatively about men. It showed a mutual humility to restore a right relationship between men and women.

Ask God to reveal any prejudices in your heart and make a commitment to demonstrate the true nature of God in all our conversations and actions.

Praying Together for Syria

Tearfund are joining with other agencies like Save the Children, Oxfam and Amnesty International who are encouraging people around the world to hold candlelit vigils on Thursday 14th March to highlight that two years on the conflict in Syria is still on going.
We invite you to join is and hold candlelit prayer vigils on Thursday 14th and Friday 15th March to pray for peace for the people of Syria.

Why pray for Syria now? Friday 15th March 2013 marks two years since the start of the Syria conflict.

Over a million Syrians have now fled the country as the conflict at home escalates, and millions of people have been displaced within the country. Many have been forced to leave everything behind. They have no shelter and are struggling to access food and have no certainty over what lies ahead.

What you can do: The people of Syria desperately need our prayers in this time of conflict and uncertainty. Use these ideas to facilitate a candlelit prayer vigil with your family, friends and church members. See One Voice to download and print out this Syria prayer guide to help inform your prayers.

A prayer for Syria
Almighty God, today we remember before you the people of Syria.

Our hearts ache for their pain and suffering. Lord we ask for your comfort to be made known.

Loving Father, we pray for all who are responding in love in Syria and in the surrounding countries.

Bless them as they work day and night to help those in need. Lord we ask for your mercy to be made known.

Prince of Peace, we ask you to raise up peacemakers. Grant discernment and wisdom to leaders and others with influence, that a road of peace may be found. Please help us to be faithful in your ministry. Lord we ask for your peace to be made known.


EXPOSED: Shining a Light on Corruption

Launched in Cape Town on 11th March 2013

The launch of this campaign is an important part of raising awareness of the travesty of poverty and highlighting the loss of billions of dollars from corruption that could have been used to positively impact the lives of many poor people.

Let us pray for the global call to action that aims to mobilise Christians around the world to make a stand against corruption. As we pray for this initiative, pray too for your own commitment to stand against corruption.

Action: add your name to the global call now and stand together in this call to action.