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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 Christ’s love.

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 international efforts.

• 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 confidently.

• 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 without reservation.

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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