Re-sending the 72*
In his last blog Phil shared how God had spoken to him about how Christians – outside the charity sector – with jobs, positions, resources and skills, etc. possess solutions to South Africa’s problems. This month we saw a glimpse of this:
As a youth worker in my twenties I recall a car journey to a leaders conference where I foolishly asked one of my peers whether theirs was the kind of church that encouraged Spiritual gifts. “If by that you mean administration, encouragement and mercy, then yes, of course!” – was their crisp reply (referencing Romans 12).
Since then I myself have recognised, received and required the Holy Spirit’s help in what some might – wrongly – regard as the more, “mundane tasks” (Paige 1993:412); practical gifting that existed long before Pentecost.
In Exodus 31:3-5 and 35:31-35 craftsmanship is credited to the Spirit, in 1 Chronicles 28:12 the Spirit enables individuals to plan and in Zechariah 4:6 builders build in the Spirit. Whilst it is true that the above examples are, “unique to these earliest days” (Blomberg 1989:344), i.e. God tends to empower select Old Testament leaders rather than people in general, I do believe we see a glimpse of the kind of life to expect post Joel’s Godly promise:
“I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28, NIV).
What if Christians, not charity, are the answer?
A few years ago, Rachel and I had the privilege of meeting Sue Barnes; the only person I’ve ever heard credit the Holy Spirit as a partner in the design of a sanitary pad. Sue and the Spirit developed a washable pad for girls who, forced to use sand, leaves and / or newspaper, were missing school because they couldn’t afford sanitary protection. Sue’s reusable pad is fully washable and lasts five years. Since we met, Sue distributed over 30,000 pads across the country and was voted Clarins Most Dynamic Woman in 2013.
Ed Silvoso (2007:147) believes that, “A new breed of marketplace missionaries is emerging: men and women who dare to believe that the same salvation that transforms the soul can also change society, beginning with their sphere of influence”
In July this year Rach and I met James, a Christian who has used his Spiritual gifts in IT to develop a Customer Relationship Management System for charities. The 20 leaders of NPOs Soul Action invited for a demo last week were delighted to hear how for a minimal fee, in-contact.org enables them to:
- Mass invite people to events; with acceptance, declined, attendance and many follow up features
- Keep detailed records and histories of individuals
- Mail merge and email to contacts using templates
- Track donations; with an option to allocate them
- Send SMSes to individuals and / or groups
- Send newsletters to groups
- Create rules / tasks
- Track projects
Pray for Christians like James (right), who are choosing to release their resources for the benefit of others.
Pray for Soul Action as we intentionally explore God’s call to work with Christians beyond the charity sector.
*The total number of Christians in South Africa is expected to rise to 42,926,000 by 2020, almost 82% of the population (Center for the Study of Global Christianity 2013:30), +_72% of these Christians belong to mainstream denominations, i.e. Protestant, Pentecostal, Catholic, Orthodox, etc.