By Pieter Faure
At Mergon we live with a deep awareness that our work wasn’t established through the generosity of a man, but through the grace and provision of God. The golden thread that has woven through our +40-year story is one of surrender – the more we have learned to lean into His leading through prayer, the more crystallised our calling has become as an organisation over the years.
In the early days of Mergon the narrative was slightly more straightforward – our impact was measured primarily by the reality of people coming to the knowledge of Christ and to salvation. Over the past decade, however, this perspective has broadened to reflect a more holistic understanding of what it means for God’s Kingdom to intersect our lives. Today we see ourselves as catalysts for Kingdom impact. Everything about us – our activities, behaviours and approach to relational partnerships – pivots on this purpose.
But perhaps the questions beg asking, ‘What exactly do we mean by Kingdom impact – and how do you begin to qualify something as vast and illimitable as the ‘Kingdom of God’? Over the years we have wrestled with these questions. Scripture, in particular Colossians 1, has helped provide some clues.
Verses 16-20 read:
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
There is a certain far-reaching, all-comprehending ‘fullness’ that God desires for every sphere of living when heaven invades our lives. A flourishing takes place as our lives align to the original intent of God’s design – not just inwardly, but practically: economies thrive, science innovates, arts flourish, medicine advances, the poor are uplifted and just law prevails. As John Dunn puts it, through the single act of reconciliation in the cross, God ‘resolves the disharmonies of nature and the inhumanities of humankind’ and reinstates us, and his creation as a whole, to the way things ought to be.
The ‘all things’ to which Paul refers in Col 1:16 and 1:20 implies that all broken relationships will be reconciled and restored to Him – beginning with our relationship with him, overflowing to our relationships with others and ultimately extending to the elements of culture and society at large. As Paul reminds us in Romans 14:17, when our broken humanity is restored to perfect harmony in Christ, ‘righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’ break out in unexpected places, bringing light and freedom to architect a new Kingdom atmosphere.
Our mission: a 3-pillar strategy
Now we know this mission is vast and wide, and we need to prayerfully discern the role we are meant to play within it. That’s why we have identified three areas on which we believe God has called us to focus:
1. To see the good news of Christ shared and people being discipled and assimilated into communities of faith. (Restoring relationship with Him)
2. To see the poor and marginalised filled with hope in Christ and experience their dignity restored. (Restoring relationships between people)
3. To see culture transformed by inspiring redemptive stewardship of God-entrusted resources (Restoring relationship with creation back to God’s original intent)
In the same way, we believe these three priorities encapsulate this nature of God’s restorative work in our lives – a work that begins with personal transformation and then extends outwardly in ever-expanding circles to see relationships, culture and creation realigned to the original blueprint for human flourishing.
The priority of partnership
With these areas top of mind, we strategically invest and deploy our resources to see God’s Kingdom expand. How we do this is mainly by partnering with like-minded people and organisations. Whether it be by helping entrepreneurs to build strong, scalable businesses, supporting impactful ministries across Africa and the Middle East, or co-creating resources with our Ziwani and Nation Builder communities – we strive to do it together.
Christ walked in relationship – and as his ambassadors we have to approach each opportunity in a similar way. By assuming a posture of humility, through the same gritty, on-the-ground commitment to see a work beyond ourselves succeed, we position ourselves as relational partners on the journey, rather than those who leverage their influence to optimise investment returns.
Prayer at the centre
Above all else, cultivating a culture of prayer in Mergon has been the single-most important strategy to help quicken and catalyse our Kingdom impact. Prayer has anchored and safeguarded us in the reality that all we have comes from God. Though we’re called to faithfully steward these gifts, talents and time throughout our lifetime, at the end of the day these resources are only on heavenly loan and will ultimately be given back into his hands.
Galatians 5:25 encourages us to ‘keep in step with the Spirit’, as well as Philippians 4:6 which reminds us to ‘not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God’. As we continually learn how to enquire of Him and wait on Him, trusting that He will direct our steps, we are able to strengthen our dependence on Christ to navigate our way forward.
Prayer has opened countless doors for us, but it has thankfully closed many too. On more than one occasion we have had to face tough decisions. In spite of what at times seemed to be the perfect investment opportunity, the team has occasionally had to decline the offer because they just didn’t have the peace of mind to enter into the relationship.
More than anything else over the years, prayer has enabled us to stay steady and true to the vision God has placed within our hearts. When peace has paved the way, we have been able to take risks and act on brave ideas, knowing that God is ultimately the One who guides our steps and carries the load. Prayer has enabled us to act, but also take the long term view, remembering that it’s all a work in progress – ourselves included.
The mission to catalyse Kingdom impact spans sectors and generations, and draws upon the creative capacities of God’s diverse people to accomplish. As individuals and as Mergon, we may only contribute to one chapter, but our combined contributions will some day complete the story of God’s redemptive work in our lives. The beauty of it all is that, as we experience change through what we do at Mergon we ourselves are changed.
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