Leaders from the world’s largest network of evangelical Christian relief and development agencies have declared that local churches worldwide must realize their full potential to become agents of peace and reconciliation in communities broken apart by war and violence across the globe.
Leaders from the Micah Network explained that local churches are the ones that hold the keys to bringing about reconciliation to local communities suffering in some of the most difficult conflicts.
The Micah network gathered leaders representing 325 agencies and churches from 52 countries in Thailand last week to discuss the place of Integral Mission in a world filled with conflicts.
One participant from a developing world country stated: "Issues like this are not academic for us. Many of us come from situations of conflict and will be returning to them. Even as we met this week we heard of the tragic murder of one of our colleagues. We have lost family members and loved ones."
Dr Elaine Storkey, President of Tearfund UK said, "In a world torn by conflict, local churches committed to bringing the radical love of Christ in word and deed in an integral way to their devastated communities have a unique potential to bring true healing and reconciliation.
"Such churches challenge us as Christian relief and development agencies to be truly unified amongst ourselves that God might use us in a radical way to resource and support local churches around the world as they seek to live out this calling," she added.
The Rev Dino Touthang, Acting Chair of the Micah Network and Executive Director of the Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR), said the consultation had acknowledged the need for conflicts to be addressed also "within ourselves as the Church, conflict between individuals, denominations, cultures, genders or the developed and developing world."
Thoutang added: "Through Christ we can address these conflicts. Only if we are unified can we release the enormous potential within local churches at the heart of communities to play a key role in bringing peace, reconciliation, love and forgiveness in an integral way to countries torn apart by violence."
As the world’s largest network of evangelical Christian relief and development agencies, Micah Network consists of over 295 agencies and churches from 75 countries in both the developed and developing world. Member agencies focus on relief, development and advocacy for justice within poor communities.
Dr René Padilla, President of the Micah Network and President Emeritus of the Kairos Foundation, Argentina, commented: "It's very encouraging to see how many people are catching the vision for integral mission and the enormous potential of this young and vibrant movement which is the Micah Network."