Interview with Christine Caine by Kelly Carr, editor
Christine Caine is a speaker, author, founder of nonprofit ministries, wife, mom (or mum, she would say in her Australian accent), and follower of Jesus. But no single label describes her passion and energy for people and furthering the kingdom of God. Enthusiastic to hear her at NACC 2016, I first had the chance to meet Christine when she spoke at the Catalyst Conference in Cincinnati this past April. She shared a bit more about her ministry story.
“I grew up in a Greek Orthodox background. My only idea of a woman in ministry was a nun. I actually enrolled in a Greek Orthodox theological seminary, thinking I was going to become a nun.” Christine said that without a Protestant paradigm, the word ministry simply brought thoughts of Mother Theresa. “I wanted to give my life for service. I just didn’t know how I was going to serve lepers in India.” The closest thing she found was serving at-risk kids in an Australian youth center. She loved watching Jesus transform lives and figured that would be her whole life.
Then someone took her to her first Protestant church—Hillsong. “This was the early days of Hillsong, before the Hillsong phenomenon you see today. It was a couple hundred people in the back of a warehouse in Sydney, Australia. But there was that same fire, passion, zeal, ‘we can change the world,’ ‘let’s reach the lost.’” In that church, Christine saw all types of ministry for the Lord. She jumped in and served in whatever capacity was needed. “I didn’t go to seminary, but I could talk; I had a story. God kept opening doors. I thought that’s just how it works—God opens doors and you just keep serving in your church.” After ministering to youth for years, her opportunities to serve kept growing. “You don’t know you’re in the midst of a move of God . . . you’re just doing what you’re doing. Then the Lord started to open lots of doors overseas.”
Christine has had the chance to minister in the U.S. for 20 years and has lived here for 6. She goes to events to share her testimony and talk about A21, one of the largest human trafficking organizations in the world. But in America she also met women who didn’t know how to serve or where they fit in God’s kingdom.
“So many young women are dying in our churches in frustration; we are hemorrhaging a generation of young women. We are losing them to secular feminism. They’re lying dormant in our churches.” She wondered, How can I best serve the church? So in 2015 she and her husband founded Propel, a ministry to equip women to fulfill their passion, purpose, and potential. Its name comes from Matthew 9:37, 38: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Christine explained, “The word for ‘send forth’ in Greek is ekballo, ‘propel’ laborers into the harvest. I want to activate women.”
But Christine doesn’t just want to challenge women. She is concerned that the American church as a whole has been tempted to live in comfort, complacency, and consumerism, needing to wake up to the spiritual warfare around us. “We need all hands on deck. We lead in love, but a church on mission is the only kind of church that Jesus ever activated. We’re to go into all the world. I’m calling people to war—a war of love and grace and justice and mercy, a war that says we’re living on mission so we’d better be producing the fruit of the Spirit. Whether you are a stay at home mother or whether you are a corporate CEO, you are salt and light. It’s not about comfort, convenience. If I can help activate that, it’s what I’m trying to do.”
Christine Caine is an author, speaker, and cofounder of A21 and Propel.