Original Research

Making sense of the COVID-19 disruptions in incarnational ministry using Micah 6:8 as an interpretive framework

Kasebwe T. Kabongo
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 1 | a2276 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i1.2276 | © 2021 Kasebwe T. Kabongo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 May 2021 | Published: 10 September 2021

About the author(s)

Kasebwe T. Kabongo, Department of Religion Studies, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

This is a case study reflecting on the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disruptions on InnerCHANGE South Africa (ICSA hereafter), an incarnational ministry. Incarnation ministry is understood as an intentional effort to join God in the world, especially a community of poverty, live among the residents of that community, affirm their dignity and compassionately love them. This understanding is based on the values of justice activism, merciful love, and discipleship found in Micah 6:8. This article uses an interpretive framework based on the latter biblical passage to reflect on how the disruptions of COVID-19 has shaped the ICSA team. This reflection is guided by the question: how have the disruptions caused by COVID-19 challenged the relevance of incarnational ministry? This article found that in the case of ICSA, the disruptions have not only broadened its justice activism, but they have also taught it the importance of relief actions in its approach. They have also deepened its understanding of sabbath in connection with environmental care. They have exposed its local leadership development model bias against women. They have finally challenged it to adopt a hybrid model of virtual and face-to-face meetings in its discipleship efforts. The article concludes that disruptions are very challenging. However, they could be an opportunity to revisit and sharpen the existing priorities of an incarnational ministry.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This is a missiological research that is enriched by insights from ecology, other fields of theology and journalism to imagine the relevance of an incarnational ministry in exceptional seasons.


Keywords

creation care; disruption; discipleship; incarnation; solidarity

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