Imagine 100 million Christians praying on Oct. 10, 2010, for a "fresh vision" that will result in freeing a half-billion people from extreme poverty.
Extreme poverty is defined as an individual living on less than $1.25 per day, the amount available to an estimated 1.2 billion people, Parham writes. (Photo: Lars Plougmann)
That's a bold vision worth supporting. That's a moral agenda worth backing.
Will EthicsDaily.com readers get onboard? Will readers enlist their churches? Will readers say "yes" to the 10.10.10 vision and agenda of the Micah Challenge?
So, what is the Micah Challenge?
The Micah Challenge is "a global coalition of Christians holding governments to account for their promise to halve extreme poverty by 2015," promises known as the Millennium Development Goals, promises adopted in 2000 by all 189 members of the United Nations.
The Millennium Develop Goals include reducing child-mortality rates, achieving universal primary education, empowering women and combating malaria, HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
Regrettably, too many global governments made funding promises and have backed away from them. The Micah Challenge is about keeping the pressure on governments to keep their promises.
Who supports the Micah Challenge?
The Baptist World Alliance adopted in 2004 a resolution supporting the Micah Challenge at its general council meeting in Seoul, Korea.
BMS World Mission, the oldest Baptist mission-sending body, joined the Micah Challenge in December 2004.
Australian Baptists provided much of the spark, advocacy and leadership among global Baptists for halving poverty by 2015.
An EthicsDaily.com editorial in October 2005 challenged Baptists in the United States to get on board.
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's coordinating council endorsed the campaign in June 2008.
What is extreme poverty?
Extreme poverty is defined as an individual living on less than $1.25 per day, the amount available to an estimated 1.2 billion people.
What's the biblical basis for this Christian agenda?
The Micah Challenge is based on Micah 6:8: "What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
October is the perfect time for goodwill Baptists in the United States to make a commitment to join the 10.10.10 initiative.
Historically and programmatically, many Baptist organizations have special world hunger emphases in October to prioritize and to activate concern for the hungry:
· Southern Baptists observe World Hunger Day on Oct. 10.
· The Baptist World Alliance has a month-long world hunger focus in October with an emphasis this year on "united in compassion."
· The Baptist General Association of Virginia has had a nine-month countdown to end hunger, leading up to Oct. 10 and called the 10.10.10 Media Campaign. BGAV also has a hunger summit scheduled for Oct. 16.
· The Baptist General Convention of Texas has set aside Oct. 31 to take up its world hunger offering.
What can your church do to join the 10.10.10 campaign?
Go to the Micah Challenge website, where more information and resources are available.
What else can your church do about world hunger in 2010?
If you want to be a goodwill Baptist and faithful to the biblical imperative to feed the hungry, join with others and have a hunger emphasis in your church in October.
EthicsDaily.com has produced a DVD titled "Always ... Therefore: The Church's Challenge of Global Poverty."
This educational DVD with a substantive study guide has a twofold goal:
1. Explore the biblical mandate to feed the hungry. Baptists are people of the book. The book is our moral compass.
2. Raise the level of awareness about and deepen the commitment to what goodwill Baptists are doing through Baptist World Aid and its partners to be faithful to the biblical mandate.
The Lord said: "For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in the land" (Deuteronomy 15:11).
Robert Parham is executive editor of EthicsDaily.com and executive director of its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics.