Approximately 7 billion people live on this planet. A rough estimation of 10 years from now into 2025 shows that there would be over 25 megacities worldwide. This means a continued escalation of challenges facing all human races. Above all this, no one can question the sovereignty of God, and he achieves his action plan on Earth mainly through his redeemed people symbolized by the church. All Christians have a clear mandate as God’s ambassadors and as such should not let anyone in the world perish but instead help in ensuring that everyone comes to repentance. The church has a responsibility of continuously responding to the global passion of God through different ways, which include forming partnerships with individuals, families as well as ministries all over the world in realizing God’s mandate. In the present world, every individual tends to have an allegiance to a certain faith, belief, or religious affiliation. The majority of the world’s population believes in the existence of a supernatural power with whom they associate. The church has different avenues of focusing on global engagement, and presently many churches are undertaking this responsibility through trips to different areas of the world. Church members have invested greatly in the lives of other people in faraway places all over the world. As Christians, each member bears the responsibility to ensure everyone close to them starting from the family members continually matures in both their faith as well as experiences complete transformation in Jesus.
In this particular context, the study will focus on the church in order to gain a better understanding of the need of the church to take part in global issues. Other than assessing the need to address this, this article will also scrutinize the various ways through which individuals, as well as bodies, can help marshal the church towards global engagement. The article will also center on China in particular as it not only boasts of a rich cultural heritage but also has an ancient history.
Church Mobilization to Global Engagement
The world presently has seen tremendous change, especially in relation to technology. China as a major economic force is an active participant in this technological advancement. As much as there have been improvements in the quality of lives and standards of living with technological advancement, all these have come at some cost. New diseases have emerged, and others have worsened. A good example of this is cancer. Cancer has become a major challenge resulting from genetically modified foods, increased chemicals in food, and food preservatives. There have also been increased cases of social strife, where millions of people have not only lost their lives but also left homeless because of increased warfare, with modern artillery causing more havoc than never before. Hunger and poverty have become more severe due to climate changes caused by environmental pollution by the industrialized nations. These issues affect all the members of the society regardless of their religious allegiance. This raises the question for Christians about what our role is and what we can do in order to facilitate the church to address these issues. As followers of the Christian faith, we need to ensure first that the churches that we attend have clear objectives and mission statements to facilitate smooth decision-making. In order to achieve this, there are five basic steps (Phan, 2011).
It is significant to list all the important global issues affecting the society presently. This comes prayerfully through defining what the church believes God has designed for it to have an influence on the global stage. This will help in ensuring that the members of the church remain objective and do not engage too much in what does not influence or relate to the Christian faith. The church needs to question some of the major advantages like geographical location, resource endowment, amongst other features, which the church members feel have been placed at their church by God in order to help them fulfill God’s purpose. Such questions help in the prioritization process as the church can effectively and efficiently use what it has to their advantage and responsibly undertake global engagement (Wan & Pocock, 2009).
For every task that requires effective accomplishment, there is a need for a strategy. It works as a formula that will guide in ensuring that the church effectively takes part in global engagement without conflicting with other denominations and bodies. The church needs to develop a wide plan, which will be instrumental in helping it meet global priorities. Here the questions that arise include what logistics are available to place the church where they feel they can influence the global stage. Action plans that are brief and easy to memorize are the best when developing strategies. Members need also to look at the key challenges that could hinder the church from taking part in global issues as well think of the possible solutions, and a consideration of the timeframe to achieve global involvement should form a part of the strategy process.
Every major task requires some force in the form of energy. It is crucial to communicate the need for global engagement by the church to implant the urgency in the church members that will cultivate self-driven energy in them. The church through its leaders needs to ignite fire or passion towards the glory of God directed to the whole world. They ought to know that it is their duty to oversee global engagement by the church, which starts from an individual level. Members of the church need a compelling vision through providing them with sermons that not only exude a global perspective but also the provision of direct mentorship that can ignite their spirits to the subject matter (Phan, 2011). The congregation needs to understand God’s global plan as well as his purpose for the world as a whole. In this process, it is also important to note that since most of the people have more motivation to influence and shape other people’s lives compared to statics of their needs, the church needs to consider how it can challenge all the different age groups in the congregation to have a common global perspective with reference to global issues.
Mobilization of the church as a whole right from its leaders forms a key ingredient in ensuring global engagement. This comes into play through the creation of various pathways in the church that will ensure all the individuals invest more time, different talents as well as their material possessions to achieve this course.
This forms the major ingredient of mobilizing the church towards global engagement. Clearly defined policies that are flexible enough to allow modification of its objectives ensure that the church remains focused on achieving its goals and is responsive enough to urgent and emerging trends and patterns on the global stage (Wan & Pocock, 2009).
In a bid to ensure that the church fully takes part in global activities, members of the church ought to share God’s message and extend his peace all over the world. In line with this, there is a need to focus on the strategic aspect of this mission that will help to mobilize churches to cultivate an overall conducive and mutual environment with compassionate relationships worldwide. The duty of mobilizing global engagement by the church is not limited to church leaders only and those within the church ranks. All the brethren in their different capacities must share the duty and task (Phan, 2011).
Individuals must consider what they can do on a personal level as well as on a group level. As an individual, a Christian needs to start by first extending acts of charity to their neighbor. This spirit is passed forward to others, and through this, the same spirit will be extended to other areas. An individual can do acts of charity, such as donating personal belongings as well as money to the needy, adopting a homeless child, etc. Performing such acts of charity by an individual can go a long way in attracting the eyes of interested bodies that can fund even bigger projects. Global engagement should run right from individuals to groups. On a group level, members of the church can mobilize themselves through small periodic donations that over a given period accumulate to substantial amounts that will then be donated to needy persons in different areas of the world (Wan & Pocock, 2009).
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Presently, the challenges experienced by the human race require careful and well-strategized means of addressing them. For instance, in China, which forms our country of reference, millions of people face challenges related to unemployment as well as diseases caused by environmental pollution. All of these issues cannot be cleared up by a single solution. Little by little, acts of charity along with the formation of alliances and partnerships with the government as well as non-governmental organizations can greatly help to solve these issues (Phan, 2011). Some of the bodies undertaking the initiative of global engagement by the church include Global Ministries, World Wide Christians Outreach, Christians for Global Mission, amongst many others. These bodies undertake the responsibility of not only cultivating the need and the vision for participating in global activities but also encourage their brethren to share their passion with those in the church and outside the church. They work hand in hand with their leaders, congregations, sites as well as individuals to raise the awareness level, which helps to raise the required funds, provision of resources, and promotion of the spirit of global partnership. All these come into play keeping in mind the sole priority of having the church fully take part in world issues through acts of compassion (Wan & Pocock, 2009).
As for the leaders of these charitable groups, their roles extend from local to international duties depending on resource availability. At the top, the leaders undertake the duty of formulating and promoting different opportunities to all churches to help them take part in global compassionate exercises such as donor funding, sponsorship, and education opportunities to needy students. The leaders extend their duties to the provision of consultancy services, particularly in resource allocation and utilization aimed at supporting the groups’ activities. They formulate clear-cut strategies as well as mechanisms to help share and support needy persons in different areas of the world. The leaders need to fully align themselves with the content and message they communicate to the members in order to unite them in the process. Passion, as well as experience, forms a key requirement for these leaders, as they should lead by example. The leaders ought to demonstrate strong leadership skills and act in a rational manner by embracing proper communication skills. Self-drive forms another major component that the leaders require since in some cases, resistance comes from within the church. In the case of rebellion, leaders with a self-drive tend to overcome such opposition and use it to their advantage (Tomalin, 2015).
Church-based organizations should expand God’s kingdom to all areas of the world, particularly to those people considered unreached. In their bid to mobilize the church to take part in global activities, these bodies seek support from more able institutions, which become their sponsors. For those bodies that are still planning to undertake global engagement, action plans could help them in achieving their targets. First, these bodies need to start the engagement process with a simple and transparent selection of members of the community and share the expected results with them. Secondly, they need to map the priorities of the community and sight the leaders of these communities through a careful assessment process. Preliminary meetings with leaders of the communities in order to enlist their individual support forms the next step, and lastly, the election of leaders to form representatives of the group in order to help in policy formulation can help realize the goals of the group (Krabill, Fortunato, Harris, & Schrag, 2013).
The study sought opinions of concerned parties in order to get a collective understanding of matters relating to the global engagement of the church. Below are the excerpts from interviews with a pastor and a missionary from China.
Interview with a Pastor
Pastors in the modern church are a symbol of direction and authority. In the Christian world, pastors provide direction and leadership to Christian followers and are a source of inspiration in case of controversy. An interview with pastor Changpu from a protestant church in Ordos’s city in China helped to shed some light on the matter.
Me: Do you consider global engagement an important factor for modern churches?
Pastor Changpu: It is a necessity since the global engagement of the church helps in building bridges between different bodies such as the church, business groups as well as legal bodies.
Me: What needs to be done to foster global engagement?
Pastor Changpu: The development of educational programs right from early childhood into adulthood, equipping the youth with micro-enterprise knowledge, creation of skills as well as the overall promotion of a culture that embraces mutual respect would go a long way in enhancing global involvement by the church.
Me: Other than focusing on the church in general, what can be done specifically on a personal level to enhance global engagement?
Pastor Changpu: There is a need to provide personal training in families having children with disabilities in order to help restore their dignity for both the affected children and the family. My fellow pastors need training in order to undertake daily outreach practices. Communities based in the church need support to help transform the lives of those around them.
Interview with a Missionary
Other than pastors, missionaries form a key group in the Christian hierarchy and as such, their opinion and contribution to the matter have to be included in the study. An interview with Mrs. Cheng from Christian Aid Mission helped to provide an insight into the matter.
Me: Briefly, from a missionary’s perspective, what key areas need to be addressed to help facilitate global engagement?
Mrs. Cheng: The church should be mobilized towards global engagement through the creation of a blueprint responsible for rescuing, restoration as well as equipping women to fight human trafficking, forceful prostitution, persecution as well as issues relating to gender bias and honor killings. Christ-based options and solutions would go a long way in curbing these issues. Members of the society should be given the freedom and be equipped to transform the lives of their neighbors in a contagious manner while embracing Christian values.
Me: Do you think the church is doing enough in reaching out to the world?
Mrs. Cheng: Well, not exactly, but I would say the church has played a major role in responding to key issues, and there is still more room for improvement.
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In conclusion, global engagement forms an integral component of the Christian faith, and the church should take the central role in enhancing it. Global engagement by the church ensures world peace through the reduction of human suffering and ensuring that people live freely and at peace with each other. The concept of global engagement needs not to be limited to church only but also be promoted on an individual level where everyone should take responsibility and help to make the world a better place.
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