A Canadian pastor is calling for Christians touched by renewal to translate their passion into activism for children worldwide who are plagued by poverty, exploitation and war.
Wesley Campbell, who co-founded New Life Church in Kelowna, British Columbia, with his wife, Stacey, has focused his international renewal ministry on teaching Christians how to pray for and rescue children at risk, particularly the fatherless and the poor.
"After experiencing the Toronto renewal, while people were being touched and blessed and bearing fruit, I saw little being harvested for the poorest of the poor--specifically the children," Campbell told Charisma.
In Be a Hero: The Battle for Mercy and Social Justice, Campbell and co-author Stephen Court, a captain in The Salvation Army who lives and ministers with his family in the poorest neighborhood of Vancouver, British Columbia, reveal simple strategies to transform personal revival into public action.
Campbell says heroes don't need a superhuman gift or a flashy uniform. They simply must take action by praying for the poor, investing in the life of a child through child sponsorship, starting or supporting a project working with children, advocating for the "invisible" people so that they become visible to others, or participating in short-term missions trips.
"The whole thrust for mercy and justice for children rose out of the prophetic renewal my church experienced in 1988 when the Holy Spirit came on the leadership in great power, and people started prophesying specific themes about where God would take us in ministry," Campbell told Charisma. "That experience resulted in a burst of salvations in Kelowna and pushed us into the prayer movement."
That prayer movement led Campbell to delve deep into Scripture to discover the power of praying biblical prayers aloud daily. With his wife, Campbell compiled what he learned into a book titled Praying the Bible: The Book of Prayers. The manual guides readers into praying some 88 prayers, including the prayers of Jesus, the psalms, prayers of the apostles and prophets, and others.
"David's psalms talk about the mercy of God for the refugee, widow and orphan, about God's heart for the poor," Campbell said. "He became passionate about what God loves as a result of meditating on Scripture and ended up writing many psalms expressing the heart of God for the poor. As we continued to pray the Bible, stare at God, look at attributes of God, those attributes came into our spirit and moved us out into ministry."
Campbell says the natural outgrowth of revival is faith that changes societies. Past Christian heroes established hospitals and universities, provided literacy and education for the masses, spearheaded the abolition of slavery, fought for the dignity of women and children, and built organizations focusing on charity and the sanctity of life.
After being dramatically touched by the Holy Spirit, Campbell and several other leaders in New Life Church launched ministries that take the power of the Holy Spirit into the streets. New Life founded the Society of Hope, which has built 350 subsidized housing units, assisted single-parent families and offered progressive employment opportunities.
Church leader Ralph Bromley later launched Hope for the Nations and built more than 50 homes in 20 countries to care for orphans. Worship leader David Ruis, once a leader at New Life, uses his music and Los Angeles-based ministry to share his own expression of prophetic mercy and justice.
Daniel Germain, who was discipled by Campbell during that time, started a ministry called Quebec Kid's Breakfast Club, which feeds thousands of children and is currently expanding internationally.
Today, Campbell's ministry is focused on raising up heroes who will pray and minister to the world's poor and needy children. In their book, Campbell and Court explain the "seven deadly sins" facing children in the most need--extreme poverty, slave labor, orphanage, sexual trafficking, war, religious persecution, and AIDS and other diseases. It also lists groups reaching out to them in hopes that readers will support their work.
Julia C. Loren