A church-inspired global anti-poverty organization is urging Christians to focus on Oct. 10 as a day of prayers and promises.
Micah Challenge uses the United Nations' Millenium Development Goals as its benchmark. These range from eradicating hunger and achieving universal primary education to reducing child mortality and combating HIV.
Micah Challenge's "What's Your Promise?" campaign aims to sign up millions of people worldwide to make personal pledges to take part in the fight against extreme poverty.
Micah Challenge uses the eight United Nations' Millenium Development Goals as its benchmark. These range from eradicating hunger and achieving universal primary education to reducing child mortality and combating HIV.
The "What's Your Promise?" campaign has united figures such as the Archbishop of York, worship leader and Christian Socialist Movement director Andy Flannagan and Tearfund chief executive Matthew Frost.
"We are asking people to make a promise to live in a way that remembers those in poverty and to start by making a promise in one area of their life," said Andy Clasper, director of Micah Challenge UK. "I have been encouraged that even those who have been involved with these issues for many years are thinking and living differently as a result of making their promise."
Speaking to The Baptist Times, Joel Edwards, Micah Challenge's international director, said, "We're selling an audacious idea. The world promised to do something practical and life-changing about extreme poverty. This is central to Scripture and to the heart of God, and it's achievable."
He described the Millenium Development Goals as "achievable, time-locked promises."
He urged more people to get involved in the "What's Your Promise?" campaign, saying, "We want Christians to be signing up and earth their high aspirations into acts of worship and kindness."
Those who've signed up so far include Judith Holmes, 68, a retiree who lives in Newcastle. "I promise to be honest with myself and with God, to keep my promise to live more simply and accountably," she said.
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"Poverty degrades, robs people of their dignity and is unjust," she explained. "I believe that my profession of faith is worthless if I do not live it out."
Patricia Yandell, 66, from Southampton, said, "I promise to eat less in solidarity with those who are always hungry and to be more grateful for what I have.
"It has been a really interesting experience in a very short time," she said. "You go to bed hungry and realize, yes, it's uncomfortable, but for many this is their everyday reality. For so many in this world, the food is just not there for them, and we take everything we have so much for granted."
Edwards encouraged churches to mark Oct. 10 in their services.
"We're calling on Christians around the world at worship on that day to add a biblical justice component to their worship," he said. "It might be a pause for a very small liturgical moment. Or a church can make it the entirety of their Sunday experience or take a 20-minute space."
But, he added, "I'd love to see Christians over the next five years developing an advocacy posture on promises for the poor."
Micah Challenge UK's members include the Baptist Union of Great Britain, BMS World Mission, Christian Aid, Church Action on Poverty and Oasis. People can visit the website for "What's Your Promise?" to sign up.
This article appeared originally in The Baptist Times of Great Britain.