It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:7-8). This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).
In this Update we focus on global trends—examples of perspectivesand priorities from various sectors (part one) and mission/member care sources (part two). We do this with a view towards applications for mission and member care: the challenges and opportunities for seeing the good news and good works going forward among all nations and peoples (part three).
We encourage you to go over the trends and discuss them with colleagues. How can they inform your work in mission and member care? And your life and lifestyle? What other important trends do you see happening, including positive ones?! We also encourage a group of colleagues in the member care community to join together in developing, sharing, and updating an annotated list of member care trends and directions.
Keep in mind that when we talk about trends we are not simply talking about statistics but about major influences affecting real people on our beleaguered planet. It helps us to think of people and places we know and love, as a way to link with the trends in a more personal and practical way.
We also continue to include Perspectives and Resources for Covid Care (part four). These materials have been compiled over the past year to support you, others in your life, and your work in mission and member care. We also acknowledge that there are of course many views about this pandemic including how best to manage it and future pandemics via science, policy, and public cooperation.
Ten Priorities for 2021. UN Secretary General António Guterres, UN General Assembly (28 January 2021). “…Excellencies, 2020 brought us tragedy and peril. 2021 must be the year to change gear and put the world on track. We need to move from death to health; from disaster to reconstruction; from despair to hope; from business as usual to transformation. The Sustainable Development Goals are more important now than ever. Now is the time to secure the well-being of people, economies, societies and our planet. It is possible. So we must make it happen. Together.” In addition to the text linked above, you can also watch the video HERE.
Here is a list of the 10 priorities presented by Guterres, summarized by the International Institute for Sustainable Development. --Respond to COVID-19 --Start an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery --Make peace with nature --Tackle poverty and inequality --Reverse the assault on human rights --Gender equality, the greatest human rights challenge --Heal geopolitical rifts --Reverse the erosion of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime --Seize the opportunities of digital technologies while protecting against their growing dangers --Launch a reset for the 21st century
Image souurce: UN Department of Global Communications
The World in 2021: Ten Trends to Watch in the Coming Year.The Economist (November 2020). “The coming year promises to be particularly unpredictable, given the interactions between the pandemic, an uneven economic recovery and fractious geopolitics. This annual [issue] will, we hope, help you improve your odds as you navigate the risks and opportunities ahead. And it’s not all doom and gloom. Our special section, “Aftershocks”, considers some of the lessons, and chances for positive change, that have emerged from the crisis.” Each of the 10 trends summarized is linked to an article in this special issue (a subscription is required to read beyond the first two paragraphs of each article).
Ten Humanitarian Crises and Trends to Watch in 2021. The New Humanitarian (January 2021). “Our aim is to offer a forward-looking view of current and emerging issues that are likely to drive new humanitarian needs. While we point to some geographically specific crises, we also look at cross-cutting trends, from growing food insecurity to faltering peace deals. This list is informed by our reporting from humanitarian hotspots around the globe — more than 70 countries in 2020 — and our editors’ research and discussions with analysts, aid workers, and those affected by conflict and disasters. Here’s why the crises and trends listed below (in random order, as this is not a ranked list) have our attention — and should demand yours.” See also the crowd-sourced list of 10 humanitarian trends for 2021.
2020 Year in Review: The Impact of COVID-19 in 12 Charts, World Bank (6 languages). “This time last year, concepts such as “lockdowns,” “mask mandates” and “social distancing” were unknown to most of us. Today they are part of our everyday language as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact all aspects of our lives. Through the following 12 charts and graphics, we try to quantify and provide an overview of our colleagues’ research in the face of a truly unprecedented crisis.” Focus is on the economic-human impacts.
Ten Global Health Trends to Track in 2021. World Health Organization (December 2020). “2020 was a devastating year for global health. A previously unknown virus raced around the world, rapidly emerging as one of its top killers, laying bare the inadequacies of health systems. Today, health services in all regions are struggling to both tackle COVID-19, and provide people with vital care….So in 2021, countries around the world will need to continue battle COVID-19 (albeit with the knowledge that effective tools are evolving). They will need to move swiftly to repair and reinforce their health systems so they can deliver these tools, and to address the key societal and environmental issues that result in some sections of the population suffering so much more than others….we will support them in building strong health systems and healthy populations. Here are 10 ways we will do this:”
World Report 2021. Human Rights Watch (December 2020).“This 31st annual World Report summarizes human rights conditions in nearly 100 countries and territories worldwide in 2020. It reflects extensive investigative work that Human Rights Watch staff conducted during the year, often in close partnership with domestic human rights activists.” It begins with an op-ed on “Redeeming a US Role in Human Rights”—note that we do not agree with all the assertions in this op-ed.
UN S-G Guterres Address, 22 February 2021 at the opening of UN Human Rights Council: “Human rights are our bloodline; they connect us to one another, as equals.Human rights are our lifeline; they are the pathway to resolving tensions and forging lasting peace.And, human rights are on the frontline; they are the building blocks of a world of dignity and opportunity for all – and they are under fire every day.”
Making Peace with Nature: A Scientific Blueprint to Tackle the Climate, Biodiversity, and Pollution Emergencies (February 2020). UN Environment Programme. Links to the Executive Summary, Key Messages, and the full Report are in the link above. Overview-promo videoHERE(2 minutes). Summary: "--Climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution add up to three self-inflicted planetary crises that are closely interconnected and put the well-being of current and future generations at unacceptable risk. --Ambitious and coordinated action by governments, businesses and people around the world can prevent and reverse the worst impacts of environmental decline by rapidly transforming key systems including energy, water and food so that our use of the land and oceans becomes sustainable. --Transforming social and economic systems means improving our relationship with nature, understanding its value and putting that value at the heart of our decision making.” (excerpts from Key Messages)
Part Two: Global Trends Perspectives and Priorities from Mission-Member Care
“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”John 1:19-21, The Message
The Status of Global Christianity 2021, Center for the Study of Global Christianity. “Every year in the International Bulletin of Mission Research we present an annual snapshot of global Christianity, a one-page version of which can be downloaded for free here. The table provides a statistical overview of the world’s 2.5 billion Christians and their activities.”
Seven trends from the Center’ annual report, outlined by Christian TrendWatcher: --The world is becoming more religious, not less --The global church is becoming more Evangelical and Charismatic --The Global South is in the lead --Cities are the growing mission field --Mission is becoming more indigenous and fragmented --Christian resources are growing --Integrity matters
COVID-19, Trends in Global Mission, and Faithful Witness. Paul Bendor-Samuel. Tansformation: “An International Journal of Holistic Mission Studies (November 2020).“Mission is shaped by the life and experience of the church, both past and present, and this in turn is the function of both the work of the Spirit of God and the interaction of the people of God with their contexts. In line with this position, we examine the impact of Covid-19, highlighting some elements of the global context of mission, trends in world Christianity and mission. We then explore how global mission is in a process of realignment that has the potential to be enhanced through embracing the conditions Covid-19 has imposed on us. Finally, we consider the need for deep reflection on our identity if we are to take the opportunity to bear faithful witness in this moment.”
Blessing the Planet—Blessing the Peoples. Member Care Update (January 2021), “In this Update we turn our attention to the responsibility to steward creation well--our living in harmony with nature and protecting the earth. In so doing we honor the Creator and seek to bless the entire planet and all the peoples, and hence as far as the curse is found. We feature the recent Special Address by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the State of the Planet (part one). This 28 minute video is a good way to overview and probe the ongoing climate-environment concerns and crises, actions and debates…And then as you have time and interest, part two encourages us to go deeper, presenting several resources related to climate and the environment for perspectives and insights (faith-based, civil society, UN).”
Global Treasures for a Global Field. Kelly O’Donnell. Member Care in India: Ministry Call to Home Call (2012). ”This article explores member care “treasures.” Treasures refer to the crucial directions and resources needed to support the diversity of Christian workers and senders around the world, both now and in the future. The focus on treasures is reflected in Christ’s conclusion to the Kingdom parables: “Therefore every scribe that has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of the house that brings from his treasure new things and old things” (Matthew 13:52). Doing member care well, as disciples of the kingdom, thus involves the ongoing process of blending fresh, relevant approaches (new treasures) with foundational, relevant approaches (old treasures)….
The member care field therefore, while maintaining its core focus on supporting the diversity of mission/aid personnel, must expand into new international and cross-sector areas. Each of us for example, would do well to stay current with at least one related health area and/or international issue that we are particularly passionate about (including organizations, practitioners, resources etc related to the area/issue. We will need courage to face new challenges and a solid theology that sees God at work throughout the variety of human efforts and “treasures” around the world.”
Note: If you have recent examples of trends/core issues and future directions for member care, please let us know--articles/presentations with links.
Part Three: Global Trends Applications for Mission and Member Care
Image source: United Nations Christian Association, Geneva
The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer (1 Peter 4:7). For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work among you will complete it by the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).
Take time to review the above trends and perspectives, including doing so with others. --Are there other trends to include? --What are some important applications for your life and work? --What are some important applications for your organization, for mission, and for member care? --What kind of mechanism exists or could be developed within the global member care community to monitor, review, and discuss the practical implications-applications of global trends for both mission and member care?
For example, consider this application, stimulated by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic: Less travel, more telecare...and perhaps less activity, more prayer (including teleprayer).
Ethne Prayer "is a network of networks established in 2004 with...1,000+ members...Our Goal is to see Global Body of Christ informed and effective in Prayer for Unreached Peoples Groups and Kingdom movements to see peoples and nations obedient to Christ."
International Prayer Connect “is a coalition of 4,000+ Christian prayer networks and organizations who share a common vision--to mobilize and equip worldwide prayer for the blessing, healing and transformation of the nations.”
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38,39 NIV
Covid care: Promoting and maintaining resilience and wellbeing for all persons and peoples (ranging from informal services to formal policies, local through global) during the multi-faceted challenges of COVID-19 and beyond. ---------
1. Perspectives Pandemics, like many crises, bring out the best and the worst in us--our selfless and our selfish qualities. The reality of the uncertainties and anxieties of life, and indeed survival--existential risk, "mortality reality"--is heavy upon the world. Positively, the current COVID-19 pandemic certainly provides plenty of opportunities for us all--individually and collectively--to reflect on the types of people we want to be, the types of societies we need to build, and the types of changes we have to make.
We join together in solidarity with the world community's efforts, locally through globally, on behalf of covid-care and in hopes to stir up the heroic in all of us. We also note that the many overlapping problems in our world continue unabated--pandemics themselves--even as this covid pandemic dominates the center stage globally: multi-dimensional poverty, protracted violence, human rights violations, gross inequalities, racism, mental ill health, environmental degradation, etc. This is the ongoing, cascading context--full of challenges and opportunities--in which member care resources need to be provided and developed for workers and their sending groups around the world. And from our faith-based perspective, as co-workers with God engaged in the many areas of “humanity care,” we live and work for God’s glory.
Our recent Updates below are compiled for helping ourselves and others withcovid care. Examples of issues/resources: anxiety, trauma, depression, confinement, loneliness, loss, grief, relationship strains, coping for children, work insecurities, spiritual struggles, uncertainty/concerns about what is going on, etc. Have a look!
Member Care Associates Inc. (MCA) is a Christian non-profit organization working internationally and across sectors. We focus on personnel development for mission, humanitarian, development, and health workers and their organizations; global mental health; ethics and good practice; and integrity/anti-corruption. Our services include consultation, training, research, developing resources, and publications.
Our Special News-Updates1) promote the wellbeing and effectiveness (WE) of staff and sending groups and 2) support the diversity of colleagues with member care responsibilities. The focus is on the mission sector with applications for/from the overlapping health, development, and humanitarian sectors.
Global Integration(GI) is a framework for responsibly and actively engaging in our world--collaborating locally through globally for God's glory. It encourages connecting relationally and contributing relevantly on behalf of human wellbeing and the issues facing humanity, in light of our integrity and core values (e.g., ethical, humanitarian, human rights, faith-based). See more perspectives about GI HERE.