What does following Jesus into the margins look like?

by Kurt Rahn, World Vision Church Team on July 24, 2015


At World Vision, we have always seen the world a little differently. When we turn on the news and see the devastation caused by global crises—war, earthquakes, exploitation—we immediately think about the thousands of World Vision staff members responding to the needs of families and children in those situations. People who are freely giving their lives for “the least of these."

Since the beginning, Jesus has uniquely called us to mobilize His church to bring hope and transformation to some of the most fragile places in the world. 

World Vision was founded in the 1950s when Bob Pierce, while following Jesus to the margins, personally met the needs of a single war orphan in Asia.

In the 1970s, World Vision mobilized "Operation Sea Sweep" and headed out into the open ocean to rescue families and children fleeing post-war Vietnam.

We helped spearhead one of the largest global humanitarian responses ever seen during the Ethiopia famine in the 1980s.

During the 1990s, we helped shape a pathway to reconciliation for an entire nation after the Rwandan genocide.

In the next decade, we mobilized thousands of staff in Sub-Saharan Africa to implement effective new responses to fight the spread of HIV and AIDS.

We're passionate about being one of the first organizations on the ground providing immediate relief during natural disasters, such as the Indonesia tsunami, Haiti earthquake, and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.



Today we find ourselves in another unique moment in history.

During the last 60 years, World Vision has been part of a movement that has made tremendous progress in reducing global poverty: in 1990, 1.9 billion people were living on $1 per day or less; 25 years later that number has nearly fallen in half! In some 2,000 places in 100 countries around the world, World Vision’s transformational development model is mobilizing entire communities to overcome poverty by improving the lives of their own children and families.

Yet while tremendous progress has been made, the battle is shifting. The future of extreme poverty is now moving to “the margins”—chaotic and violent places where few are equipped to respond.

Among these most fragile places in the world are:
As oppression and injustice aggressively drive the most vulnerable people deeper and more desperately to the edges of society, we believe that Jesus is calling people of faith to a great responsibility and a new opportunity. He is calling us to follow Him to the margins and to lead the way in a global response to the needs of those suffering the most.

What if churches in America were not only known as welcoming, friendly and joyful, but were also known for taking on the greatest needs of our day?

What if your church was known for:

Caring for some of the millions of vulnerable Syrian children and women who are caught up in the largest refugee crisis in the last 20 years …

Helping rebuild an entire nation by ending the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone …

Advocating and supporting work to protect young girls and boys in Southeast Asia from being trafficked into forced labor or sexual exploitation …

… to not just believe in Jesus but to follow Him to the world's hardest and darkest places?

This is World Vision’s new call to the church. We encourage you to prayerfully consider what role you'll play in this new opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those living in the margins.

Learn more about how your church can answer this call to follow Jesus into the margins of our world.  

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