Worship, Justice and the Third Conversion

Posted by Craig Borlase on 11 September 2017

Along with her husband Matt, Beth Redman has become a vocal supporter of the A21 Campaign. Here’s how it all began, what it led to and how the collision of worship and justice left a lasting impact.

It all starts, as so many of the best God-adventures do, with a simple invitation. Would Beth speak at a conference in Northern Ireland?

“I’d just had our fifth child and he was only 11 weeks old, we were still living in America and I got this invitation. I probably leave the house about once a year to go and speak at conferences, but this was something I knew I had to do. Matt said ‘Go, I’ll have the kids.’ So I went knowing that something extraordinary was going to happen – that it wasn’t just that I was going to give a talk.”

Once there, Beth met Christine Caine – evangelist and founder of The A21 Campaign, a non-profit organisation principally engaged in the abolition of human injustice in the 21st Century, with particular emphasis on human trafficking.

“From the minute she started speaking I was on the floor. I was embarrassed and ashamed that there were 27 million slaves on the earth – and some NGOs say there could be as many as 63 million slaves in India alone. I had no idea about the scale of the problem, even though I read the newspapers. How had I ended up in this bubble?”

It is a question that too few of us face, but as Beth listened, she felt an urge to do something about it.

“Christine wasn’t just firing statistics at us, she was talking about one girl, found in Eastern Europe who had been trafficked by her parents. Christine just told her story and as I listened I thought, it cannot be OK that children have no say in what happens to them, that they are raped and abused for profit.

“John Wimber (founder of the Vineyard movement of churches) talked about three conversions that need to happen in the life of a Christian: a conversion to Christ, to the church and to a cause. That’s exactly what happened to me in that moment: I converted to a cause, to being a voice for the voiceless. From that moment on we haven’t stopped.”

That momentum led them to meet Sarah (not her real name), a Ugandan girl now living in Greece.  

“She had been sold by a family member, then trafficked out of the country. A lot of her journey was on foot and nineteen other girls had died along the way. She was then sold into prostitution, told she had a debt to pay off and that she would have to service 30 to 40 men a day in a 24-hour brothel. For three years she lived like this, deprived of sleep, malnourished, abused continually.”

Eventually, Sarah was rescued by A21’s team. She was taken to one of their safehouses, cared for and loved.

“We met Sarah and she told us that before she was tricked and trafficked she was trying to get a job to raise money to go to nursing college. What was extraordinary was that when A21 found and helped to rehabilitate her she was able to get that dream back. She’s now at nursing college, where she always wanted to be. So it’s a story of tragedy to triumph, and I knew as we met that I had to tell people what she’s been through and to help them realise that this is happening to so many other girls.”

And so came the idea for a charity single, not because Beth believed that it would change the world through three minutes of radio-friendly pop, but because she knew that if – like her – people could hear about Sarah’s story, they could be inspired to help rescue another, and another and another of the millions more in slavery. If she could convert to the cause, why not get others to join?

Underpinning all of this is a sense that without God breathing on a venture like this, what hope does it have of success?

“There’s a great verse that has inspired us:

‘When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break...’

 [Luke 5:4-7, NASB]

“We can’t do it on our own and this isn’t our big idea. It’s the Holy Spirit that cares and makes it happen. That’s the only reason that you have this favour and fruit; that’s the reason you see the single going up the charts. It’s because the Holy Spirit cares about people. When God wants that message out there it will happen.”

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