A sum greater than its parts
By Mike McClaflin
The misery index.
I find this term increasingly appropriate as I travel across
Africa these days. It seems like the collective measure of pain in human lives
increases continuously. AIDS ravages millions, practically emptying some
villages. Political factions joust for power, usually at the expense of the
common man’s property and blood. Poverty and famine keep men, women and
children on the edge of survival.
All of these crises have a spiritual root, certainly, but
they bring about pressing tangible needs. And while Assemblies of God World
Missions has been at the forefront of communicating the spiritually reviving
gospel, meeting physical and material needs is an integral part of sacrificial
service in this Fellowship.
New ministry challenges call for new strategic relationships
and focused partnerships. We have no better opportunity in AGWM to partner with
a ministry-focused organization with a stellar reputation for community
outreach than we have with Convoy of Hope coming alongside us. As disasters
capture headlines with ever-growing frequency, relief is becoming a powerful
tool to lower the misery index of the world and send a signal to national
churches and hurting communities of the world that we care for them because of
Long-term thinking is vital for effective ministry, but many
times the immediate need for a rope is far more important than long-term
planning to braid the rope into a bridge. Victims of sudden disaster have an
immediate need for food and shelter, not just invitations to a church scheduled
to be built in six months.
Formalizing our relationship with Convoy of Hope,
particularly in the relief arena, satisfies several aspects of our overseas
• First, it clearly identifies Convoy of Hope as an endorsed
ministry of AG World Missions. Churches who have a strong relationship with
both Convoy and AGWM can financially support disaster relief projects
• Second, Convoy has established itself as a major force in
the arena of world disaster relief. Its reputation on the international scene
will create greater opportunities to work through portals established by AGWM
around the world.
• Third, one of our greatest advantages in addressing the
misery index is a network of more than 300,000 local churches around the world.
These congregations constitute a delivery system within walking distance of
most people who have desperate physical and spiritual needs that Convoy
together with AGWM can satisfy.
The staff and team at Convoy of Hope have committed their
lives to serving the needs of poor and suffering humanity. Like the
missionaries around the world with whom they serve, they give of themselves
The misery index. In Africa — and around our world
— famine, floods, hurricanes, political unrest, death and disease of
every kind seem to raise their ugly heads on a daily basis. Thanks to a
divinely orchestrated partnership between AG World Missions and Convoy of Hope,
every disaster can also become an opportunity to cast a lifeline of immediate help
with eternal significance.
MIKE McCLAFLIN is AGWM regional director for Africa and
chairman of the board of Convoy of Hope.
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