Is Kairos Coming?

The ancient Greeks had two words for time, both portrayed by gods. The word chronos was used in talking about sequential time. It’s where we derive our English word chronological.

Kairos was the other Greek word. Where chronos was all about the quantitative elements of time, kairos was used to speak about the qualitative aspect. You could substitute the English word opportunity for kairos.

The god Chronos was always pictured with a flowing gray beard, hugging an hourglass. The god Kairos, on the other hand, was always seen running. He had flowing hair, but strangely, only in front of his face; the rest of his head was completely bald. The ancient Greeks believed that there was only one time to grab Kairos (i.e., opportunity): when he was running toward you. Once he passed, there was nothing to grab.

Right now, the Roe v. Wade focus is on reactions to the decision. Next will come threats and attempts to wrangle power and change laws. But you can be sure that nothing will be on a fast track. A year from now, the political parties will still be fighting, and compromise will continue to stall on the auction block. What will move in real time is biology. A year from now, in at least a dozen states, and probably more — maybe a lot more — there is likely to be an uptick in the need for prenatal and probably postnatal care in a lot of our cities. This is something about which your board and your leadership team should now be brainstorming. Could this be Kairos running toward you?

If you want to see what one stellar organization is doing in this area, check out the Coeur à Soeur program at Welcome Hall Mission in Montreal. They have a team of dedicated professionals helping pregnant women between 15 and 30 years old — and young mothers with children up to age five — take back control of their lives. They provide counseling, medical care for mother and baby, daily supplies, and much more.

And while you’re thinking about this, here’s another place Kairos might be rounding the bend: As of June 2022, the total number of migrants released at the Southwest border under the Biden administration, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, was 1,049,532 — a mostly Hispanic population larger than the number of residents in the president’s home state of Delaware. We’re talking about 2,115 per day. And they are quickly finding their way across the country. Yet only a handful of our member organizations specialize in Hispanic hospitality.

For the August 2022 CEO Summit, I asked Gabriel Salguero, founder and president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, to talk to us about how rescue missions and similar life-transformation ministries might make more of a connection with this population group. Here is the description of his session:

Our data shows that Latinos are an underserved population in our member organizations. We believe there are several reasons for this. People of Latin American origin make up close to 20 percent of the U.S. population (just two percent in Canada) and could — according to some models — make up one-third of the U.S. population by 2060. Do you consider your organization to be culturally compatible for Hispanic guests and clients? What can you do to better position your organization to be culturally prepared to better serve this group?

If you think you see Kairos coming, reach out your arms. Remember, once he has passed, there will be nothing left to grab.

By John Ashmen