HONG KONG- In parallel with the Micah Network Asian Consultation, a group of Hong Kong Christians convened to look into the network’s vision on ‘Integral Mission’.
Co-organized by the evangelical Christian charity Cedar Fund and China Graduate School of Theology (CGST), the seminar with the theme "A Life of Integral Mission- Integral Mission and Church" was held on Friday at Sino Cheer Plaza, Kowloon.
The Chairperson of Cedar Fund Dr. Chan Nim Chung began by stating the aim of meeting, "Many churches thought that they know what is ‘commission’ but very likely they are actually not on the right path. I hope that tonight will be a new start for churches."
Prominent speaker Rev. CB Samuel, former general director of Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR) in India and lecturer at the Oxford Centre of Mission Studies (OCMS) in England, was invited to explain the meaning of "Integral Mission" of the church and his mission experience in South Asia.
"Integral mission is the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel. If we ignore the world we betray the word of God which sends us out to serve the world. If we ignore the word of God we have nothing to bring to the world," stated the Micah Network declaration on Integral Mission in 2001.
Samuel said that since very long time ago, churches have put a high emphasis on ‘commission’, but the ‘commission’ of believers today is so different from 2000 years ago. And the difference is that they have not neither transformed the world nor brought changes to social system just as what the Early Church of apostles did.
Samuel gave a very pictorial example to explain the problem of churches today: In a village in Sri Lanka, three young Christians went there for a summer mission internship. They want to serve the villagers and the villagers can also participant the work together with them. They finally come up with the idea of building a washroom. However, the villagers have not started the work although they have agreed with it. Finally, one old villager said to them, "Your idea to build a washroom is good, however our stomachs are empty, how come things will come out?"
According to Samuel, this example shows that many churches have overlooked the need of the people while they have tried to "advertise" the gospel to others and applied the gospel on them, assuming that they have already fulfilled their ‘commission.’
"Churches must be rooted in the community, that’s how we can fulfill ‘Integral Mission’," Samuel concluded.
Rev Wu Chi Wai, the CEO of Hong Kong Church Renewal Movement (HKCRM), was also presented as local church representative to exchange ideas. HKCRM is a wide spectrum of evangelical leaders who are committed to work together for the renewal of Hong Kong churches as well as their prophetic role in the society.
The ‘Integral Mission’ seminar coincided with the regional consultation of Micah Network for North and East Asia, which will be held on Jan. 9- 13 in Hong Kong.
The Micah Network, founded in 1999, is a group of over 275 Christian relief, development and justice organizations from 74 countries with a strong representation of the Southern Hemisphere. It holds on the Church’s mission to proclaim and demonstrate the love of Christ to a world in need, advocating a biblically-shaped response to the needs of the poor and oppressed.
[Editor's Note: Chris Chan contributed reporting from Hong Kong for this article.]