Wholistic Mission
Interserve Ireland

Wholistic Mission
Interserve Ireland


This is a resource about wholistic mission1. It has been produced by Interserve Ireland, which through its connection with the larger international body of Interserve has had experience of wholistic mission within Asia and the Arab world for over 150 years. By answering the question, ‘What is wholistic mission?’ and by placing wholistic mission within its biblical and historical context, it will become clear through this resource that wholistic mission is not something limited to distant lands and far off peoples. Wholistic mission is in fact something all of us need to consider and practice within our own local communities.

This resource is divided into four main areas with questions at the end of each section dealing with some of the issues raised.

Part One:

What does the Bible say about wholistic mission?
Part Two:

Is there evidence of wholistic mission in Church History?
Part Three:

Wholistic mission within your local community
Part Four: 

Wholistic mission in the Interserve world

We hope that you will find the material in this resource beneficial and challenging as you consider your role within God’s mission.
1. Within the Interserve world we have opted to use the spelling “wholistic” rather than the more common spelling “holistic” to reflect the “whole” nature of wholistic ministry.

 Introduction: What is wholistic mission? .

p. are both necessary aspects of the mission of the church. responsible Christian participation in society. re-examined John’s version of the Great Commission: “As the Father (20:21). and subsequently concluded that since Jesus is our model for mission. As quoted in David J. John Stott. Visser’t Hooft.There is no uncertainty among evangelical Christians that the church is missionary by nature. Wholistic mission is an important concept and one that has become gradually more accepted among evangelicals since the 1970s. what constitutes mission has been the subject of much controversy for many decades. Lamenting this tendency to oscillate between the two aspects. who had previously deduced that the mission of the church was exclusively preaching. One side of the debate claims that nothing is as important as leading people into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ whilst the other side stresses the need to care for the poor and remove the causes of human suffering. the former see of the World Council of Churches. teaching and converting. One way of resolving the controversy is to grasp that mission is wholistic by nature. (New York: Orbis. 408 “A Christianity which has lost its vertical dimension has lost its salt and is not only insipid in itself.” 2 has sent me. addressing both the spiritual and temporal needs of human beings. John Stott. the wellknown British author. The answer is that both are right but neither has the whole picture. so I send you” Thus evangelism.” 3 . 30 3. p. We might well ask which view of mission is right. In the past the church has erred by focusing too much on either one or the other. (Downers Grove: IVP. However.  2. Bosch. the verbal announcement of the good news of Jesus Christ. 1975). 1991). but useless to the world. mission should be understood as “everything the church is sent into the world to do. commented. Transforming Mission. and social justice. But a Christianity which would use the vertical preoccupation as a means to escape from its responsibility for and in the common life of man is a denial of the incarnation. Christian Mission in the Modern World.

” 4 4.  “Integral mission or holistic transformation is the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel. See http://www.org/english/think/aim1/declaration/ . It is not simply that evangelism and social involvement are to be done alongside each other. Rather.Summary Statement: Wholistic mission recognises that there should be no dichotomy between evangelism and social action in the work of mission. It is hard to come up with a better description of wholistic mission (or integral mission) than that put forward by the Micah network. And our social involvement has evangelistic consequences as we bear witness to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ.micahchallenge. in integral mission our proclamation has social consequences as we call people to love and repentance in all areas of life.


0 Part One: What does the Bible say about Wholistic Mission? .

gospel.16 form the background for this view. The kingdom is a future heavenly state (Foundational texts: Luke 14:15-24. through the centuries. kingdom and salvation To appreciate the wholistic nature of mission it is necessary to understand the comprehensiveness of the terms. kingdom and salvation. The gospel is understood as participating in the struggle for social justice and the exclusive aim of mission is to remove causes of human suffering. . Other interpretations include the kingdom as the Church (a widely held view from time of Augustine to Reformers) and the kingdom as a manifestation of power (made popular through ministry of John Wimber). Jesus is seen as fulfilling these promises in Luke 4:18-19).Three important biblical terms: gospel. Luke 21.  To appreciate the wholistic nature of mission it is necessary to understand the comprehensiveness of the terms.18). We will briefly look at three of the main interpretations.g. Luke 17:22-37. kingdom and salvation. Luke 22:16. The gospel is of course the good news about Jesus Christ coming as Saviour and Lord.5 The kingdom is an inner spiritual experience (Foundational text: Luke 17:21). 5. Jer 33:15. The kingdom is a new social order. It contains a message of salvation and an invitation to submit to the lordship of Christ and so it is not surprising that our understanding of the kingdom of God and salvation is central to the nature of the gospel. (Foundational texts: The Old Testament promises of justice and righteousness as characteristics of the new kingdom e. The gospel is seen as an invitation to eternal life and mission is about preparing the church to meet Christ and serve him in his kingdom. gospel. been interpreted in many different ways. Isaiah 11:1-5. and mission is exclusively the saving of individual souls. The kingdom of God has. The gospel is understood as an invitation to personal salvation. influencing how the gospel and ultimately mission are perceived.

which not only affects individuals but also the society in which they live. social and economic injustices from which we must also be saved. John 4:22). It can be thought of as structural as well as personal.31. But there is more to sin than this. which reflects the “already-not yet” character of the kingdom. salvation can be interpreted in a number of different ways. with so much attention being paid to the injustices and suffering in the world that spiritual wellbeing is neglected. the full realisation of the kingdom is a future event and only the person who has acknowledged Jesus as Lord and King will enter. and results in mission strategies which see concern for the world as secondary. then. meaning “to save”. (important though that is). evident in his casting out of demons. his healing acts and the breaking of Satan’s power. It is not surprising that an exclusive focus on the future aspect of the kingdom leads to salvation as nothing more than preparation for what is to come. This view. Luke 7:3. Sin within society includes political.34). .  Like the kingdom of God. The Greek verb sozo. and healing (Mt 14:36. is a widely held view that does not allow us to forget our evangelistic responsibility in mission. Salvation. in the Old Testament the word “salvation” speaks of shalom. We might describe salvation simply as salvation from sin whereby individuals are saved from their personal sin into a new relationship with Jesus Christ. nor to ignore the world around us. also incorporates the idea of deliverance from personal danger (Acts 27:20. Many would argue that there is such a thing as structural sin. To focus exclusively on the present reality of the kingdom leads to an equal but opposite extreme in salvation theology and mission strategy. or wholeness or completeness in every aspect of life.The kingdom of God is a complex concept that was inaugurated in the coming of Jesus. Interestingly. can be thought of as liberation from this type of oppression and injustice. However.

(New York: Orbis. 1991).Wholistic mission attempts to hold together the importance of gospel. p. Bosch. between interior conversion and improvement of conditions. or between the vertical dimension of faith and the horizontal dimension of love is untenable. 408. salvation and kingdom. whilst appreciating that. The words of J Moltmann quoted by David J. “The alternative between evangelization and humanization. Transforming Mission. .” 6  6.

1992). and housing.with God. They were liberated from political oppression as an immigrant community into independent nation status. whether things on earth or things in heaven. but the people were delivered from every dimension of human and spiritual need. man’s disobedience not only resulted in flawed human identity and purpose but also in a distortion of all relationships. However. As God is concerned with all things and all aspects of human life. Paul writes. Wholistic mission seeks to satisfy basic human needs . p. Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament. and through him reconcile to himself all things. Israel’s liberation was not simply spiritual. God’s mission is wholistic. If we are to help a human being fully. Chris Wright summarises the totality of their liberation as follows. The Exodus: God’s full liberation The Exodus story tells of how God liberated the people of Israel from the oppression of Egypt. we too must have a broad concern for the world and human beings. keep warm and well fed’. who were in slavery and it really liberated them. and it was very good”  (Genesis 1:31). Creation and the Fall When God made the world and human beings he pronounced that everything was “good”: “God saw all that he had made.Some important biblical themes The Bible reveals that mission originates from the very nature of God and so it is not surprising that the biblical story is one of mission from start to finish. we must recognise all types of human need. I wish you well.the need for God as well as the need for food. if it is not accompanied by action. shed on the cross. They were liberated from social violation of basic human rights as a victimised ethnic minority into an unprecedented opportunity to create a new kind of community based on equality and social justice. but does nothing about his physical needs. pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him. It was a real act of the living God. To place all the emphasis on an individual’s eternal salvation while paying no attention to his/her material or social needs does not show concern for his/her total welfare.” 7 7. (London: Marshall Pickering. education. with self. “The Exodus was real redemption. healthcare. In other words. They were liberated from spiritual bondage to Pharaoh and the other gods of Egypt into undeniable knowledge of and covenant relationship with the living God. for real people. The rest of the biblical story tells of how God purposed to restore these broken relationships and so great was His concern that He ultimately sent His Son to earth to make this possible. with community and with the environment. If one of you says to him. They were liberated from economic exploitation as a slave labour force into the freedom and sufficiency of a land of their own. 31. Human beings were created with an identity (created in the image of God) and with purpose (to tend the earth and make it productive) as well as being created to exist within four perfect relationships . is dead” (James 2:15-17). . by making peace through his blood. James is aware of this when he writes. portraying a God who cares about sin and suffering in the world. ‘Go.” (Col 1:19-20) “Suppose your brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. faith by itself. what good is it? In the same way. Chris Wright. “For God was The creation story invites us to have a similar wholistic approach to mission. for instance. As we survey some themes from the biblical story we discover that God’s concerns are all encompassing and that mission is all that God sends his people into the world to do.

New Issues Facing Christians Today. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down.” (Psalm 146:7-9). After their liberation from slavery in Egypt. to “His (God’s) concerns are all embracing … not only justification but social justice in every community … So we must not attempt to narrow down his interests. “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him for you were aliens in Egypt. the earth is full of his unfailing love” (Ps 33:6). The strong emphasis on social justice in these Old Testament passages highlights the fact that total biblical mission is not simply about personal salvation from sin. If you do and they cry out to me. The Exodus event reinforces the fact that God is concerned for the well being of the whole person – his/her physical. The Exodus story reveals how God responded to the anguished call of the people in their misery and oppression.It is important to interpret the Exodus not merely as a promise of liberation for politically oppressed peoples in the way liberation theologians do. plead the cause of the widow” (Isaiah 1: 16-17). 8. It is more than that. The Lord sets prisoners free. The biblical emphasis on justice reflects the very nature of God. Psalm 33:6 says. so that you may live and possess the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Deut 16: 20). It is clear from these passages that God hates oppression and injustice and longs to encourage justice among his own people and the surrounding nations also. He commanded his people. Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. When the people were about to enter the Promised Land God reiterated his concern for justice.. the Exodus becomes a picture of our redemption from sin. righteousness like a never ending stream” (Amos 5:24). ours should be as broad as his. Amos plainly rebuked Judah and Israel for their acts of injustice while admonishing the surrounding nations’ oppressive. God declares. “Let justice roll on like a river. I will certainly hear their cry” (Exodus 22: 21-23). (London: Marshall Pickering. 1999). He said. feeds the hungry and sets captives free. the Lord gives sight to the blind. Defend the cause of the fatherless.Fully Revised Edition. In the words of John Stott.” 8 “Seek justice.22 . p. God desired a world where justice reigned and so called his people to wash and make themselves clean.  “Follow justice and justice alone. The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow. When seen through New Testament eyes.. he is the one who protects the oppressed. Moreover. the Lord loves the righteous. God’s concern for the poor and oppressed is a recurring theme. “The Lord loves righteousness and justice. Furthermore. encourage the oppressed. cruel behaviour. John Stott. spiritual and social needs. God’s concern for justice: Throughout the Old Testament. God’s abhorrence of injustice and oppression continued. “He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.

I am sending you” (John 20:21). which when we use it will speak into the lives of those we seek to reach. It invites us to model the mission of Jesus. the source of power for our mission. As we reflect upon the life of Jesus it becomes clear that he came not only to preach the forgiveness of sin and to offer eternal life. Jesus was also moved with compassion when he saw the hurt and suffering. the living word of God. the helpless and despised. If we are to model Jesus’ mission. Involvement at all levels of society will naturally mean social action as well as evangelism. To help us we have the Holy Spirit. Just as light shines into the darkness and as salt prevents decay.  . And so he walked with the poor. the Johannine form of the Great Commission is significant – “As the Father has sent me. he healed the sick. The church is called to continue the mission of Christ.Jesus Christ: Our model for mission: As previously mentioned. so too the church has a responsibility to be involved in non-Christian society. In Matthew 5:13 we read that the church is to be light and salt in the world. the bereaved and rejected. and he reached out to the needy. We also have the Bible. our mission must also be similarly multi-faceted including both evangelistic and social concerns.

also demonstrated a deep concern for social justice. the helpless and despised. . We will turn to a historical perspective on wholistic mission in the next section. Wholistic mission issues from the very heart of God and throughout the history of the church there have always been Christians who have. in their proclamation of the gospel.Concluding remarks Scripture is a like a lens in that it invites us to see the world from God’s perspective. its principles and values are found on the pages of Scripture. the bereaved and rejected. he healed the sick.  Jesus was also moved with compassion when he saw the hurt and suffering. And so he walked with the poor. Although the word wholistic may be a relatively new term. A look through this lens reveals that God views the world with a great love that issues in action. and he reached out to the needy. We have been created in the image of God and through the gospel of Jesus Christ we are saved from our personal sins and are invited to live under God’s kingdom rule.

and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance. should our mission look? 6. and you left me alone to pray for me. I was naked. (London: Marshall Pickering. so close to God but I am still very hungry – and lonely – and cold. Taken from John Stott. “As the Father has sent me. Briefly survey the life and ministry of Jesus as found in the gospels and identify what Jesus was sent to do? How. I was sick. In what ways does this section on the biblical basis of wholistic mission challenge your understanding of mission? A Poem to ponder : I was hungry. and you crept off quietly to your chapel and prayed for my release. I am sending you” (John 20:21). Personal sin is very familiar to us all but perhaps the concept of structural sin is new. 1999) p. I was imprisoned. Can you identify from your reading of Genesis 3 how each of these relationships was broken after man’s disobedience? 2. and you knelt and thanked God for your health.24. How would you sum up the “gospel” in one sentence? Has the reading of this section altered your definition of gospel in any way? 3. God created man to exist within four relationships (Gen 2). What is this salvation Jesus refers to? Was Zacchaeus merely forgiven? 4. At the end of the account of the conversion of Zacchaeus we read Jesus’ words “salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9). I was homeless. I was lonely. and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God.Questions to consider: 1. Can you think of any examples of structural sin that are evident in your own community. . and you formed a humanities group to discuss my hunger. nationally and internationally? 5. You seem so holy.9  9. then. New Issues Facing Christians TodayFully Revised Edition.


0 Part Two: Is there evidence of wholistic mission in Church History? .

may need to be further investigated (which of course we would encourage). . A number of key periods from the Early Church to the present day will be briefly surveyed. We would like to make clear that we are only seeking to present a short general overview of the evidence of wholistic mission in church history. Some of the comments may be interpreted as generalizations of historical events and.Following on from the review of biblical teaching regarding wholistic ministry. Only passing reference can be made to the influence of the various spiritual movements that have shaped the mission and ministry of the church and to the many factors that have contributed to the shaping of our western thought and society.  Only passing reference can be made to the influence of the various spiritual movements that have shaped the mission and ministry of the church and to the many factors that have contributed to the shaping of our western thought and society. From the outset the influence of dualism upon our Christian lives needs to be acknowledged. we now seek to place wholistic ministry within the context of church history. for some.

p. pp. for example. 111 . They recognised that their faith was not isolated from their everyday situations and that. the incarnation is evident in Gnosticism..” 11  Contrary to the dualistic thought of the day. Michael Green. as it concerned itself instead with heaven and earth. See Dowley T. P. 10.207 12. in the main. The conflict of dualistic thought and the biblical teaching of. Consequently. 11. but not both. 2003). was crucial to the Early Church believers.The Early Church Dualistic thought distinctly separates human nature and the world into spirit and matter. evident in the way they acted as salt and light wherever they lived and worshipped. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House. this dualist thought has influenced the western church. G. ranging from cruelty in the amphitheatre to labour relations.13 There is no doubt that wholistic ministry. p. and others. man or God. which was prevalent in the early church. 384-385 13. As Christian communities worked on behalf of others. Eerdman’s Handbook to the History of Christianity. throughout the centuries the church has struggled against heresies springing from the dualistic Greek worldview. the striving for personal and corporate transformation.” 12 The Early Church fathers encouraged the early Christians to be concerned about the sick and the poor. (Eastbourne: Kingsway. (Grand Rapids: Eerdman’s Publishing Co. Anthropological Insights for Missionaries. from as early as the first century. 1998). So far from being so heavenly minded that they were no earthly good. they demonstrated that those who are genuinely heavenly minded are the very people who are deeply committed to doing God’s will on earth. Hiebert. and the things of this life and the next. which for example. the gospel of the early church. as Michael Green comments. “made Christ either “There was no dichotomy between a social and a spiritual gospel to those who held a unitive concept of truth. saw no conflict between the spiritual and material. 1977). It was an influence of Greek culture within which the early church developed. Evangelism in the Early Church. the gospel’s political implications were increasingly being expressed in the writings of the Early Church fathers such as Tertullian. The Christians of the early Church were concerned with the social evils of their day. 10 As a result.

sought to be a ‘Church among the poor’. a contradiction between this teaching and the actual practice of the Church emerged.. there were exceptions such as Saint Francis of Assisi who. both in practice and theology. due to the Church’s hierarchal structures. rather than in heaven.  The Early Church fathers encouraged the early Christians to be concerned about the sick and the poor. 14. 1977). For more details see Dowley T. Eerdman’s Handbook to the History of Christianity. However. as the Church seemed more intent on building its treasures here on earth. p. A growing unease developed within the Church. Although a great amount of good was done for the needy.The Middle Ages14 In the Middle Ages the Christian Church grew in material power and prosperity and in many ways it alienated itself from the ordinary lives of people. generally speaking. and others. (Grand Rapids: Eerdman’s Publishing Co. The church at times was often unable or unwilling to help those who faced economic and political hardships. The gulf between heaven and earth also widened as a result of the church’s concentration on the afterlife and the trials and terrors awaiting those who did not obey the Church’s teachings. being true to the biblical mandate of helping the less fortunate and marginalized. the Church became progressively more dualistic. 279ff . at a time when serious distortions of the doctrine of faith and works were being promulgated. However. with certain questions being asked that needed to be quickly answered. especially by the Dominican and Franciscan Orders.

Transforming its World – The Social Impact of English Evangelicalism (Carlisle: Paternoster Press. Evangelicalism in Modern Britain. Their social commitment to help the marginalized and deprived sectors of society was further enhanced by their desire to live among those they were serving. the missionary work carried out by the Moravians (e. The efforts of John Wesley. p. Smith. Bebbington. taking a keen interest in the social and political questions of Christian belief and practice. was instigated by many great evangelicals of this era. 16 That the generation of Evangelicals crossing from the 18th to 19th century understood the relationship between the spiritual and the social or the heavenly kingdom and the earthly kingdom in the context of the present rather than the hereafter. in the context of the new and developing denomination of Methodism. “reformation must be universal” and “all places. and so we assume they had little time for wholistic mission. world-negating style of Christianity focusing on an individualistic interpretation of salvation which led to a world of personal piety. the social commitment of the Pietists is commendable. This mistaken assumption is reinforced by the legacy of spiritual material we inherit from the Reformers and the Puritans. p.70 . (London/New York: Routledge. The social conscience of evangelicals continued to grow as a result of the Great Awakening in the American Colonies and the Methodist revivals of Great Britain and Ireland. was evident in the way they prayed and practised the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. However.The th and th centuries The Reformation during the 16th century and also the rise of Puritan theology during the 17th century occurred against the backdrop of the new opportunities provided by the printing press for private reading and personal interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. D. 15 The th and th centuries The influence of Pietism of the late 17th century and into the 18th century is much debated.W. which proved to be the catalyst for great religious and political reform. We see a similar concern amongst the Puritans as evidenced by the example of the Puritan minister Thomas Case. Zinzendorf and Ziegenbalg) in the 18th century is an excellent example of wholistic mission. With Scripture in the hands of the masses. led them to the new land of America to institute the theocracy they believed Scripture taught. 15. communities began to object to the policies of both Church and State. all persons and callings” should be reformed. often under very difficult circumstances. Much of this material relates to a person’s salvation and subsequent walk with God. “Your kingdom come. 1998). For instance. Social activism and the awareness of the need to minister to soul. the Church’s declarations of faith and practice were no longer accepted without question. Some years later. A rich heritage of wholistic ministry.  It is hard to overestimate the impact of the religious and political restructuring on society that occurred during this period.110 16. See D. but also overseas. 1989). showed how the preaching of the word and the task of improving society were not mutually exclusive but complementary to each other. It is often characterised as an escapist.g. We see this in Luther’s “95 Theses”. Fortified with biblical truth. which is still remembered today. through the emerging missionary movement. body and community/society energized evangelicals to witness in word and deed initially at home. However.W. the frustrated attempts of the Puritans to live out their understanding of faith and practice within the constraints imposed by English government. Consequently we tend to assume that the Reformers and Puritans had little time for wholistic mission. the Reformers generally promoted a wholistic approach to ministry with John Calvin. for instance. who in 1641 declared.

H. a different form of Evangelicalism was beginning to emerge. People like Granville Sharp. and most famously. flag-waving patriotism and imperialism” 17 an attitude that continued for most of the 20th century. It was largely due to the “Clapham Sect” that slavery was abolished but they were also involved in penal and parliamentary reform and factory legislation. with many conservative evangelical Protestants embracing the message of “free enterprise economics. Henry Thornton. However. George Muller and Doctor Barnardo are remembered for their contribution to social work. many with evangelical roots.A rich heritage of wholistic ministry. extreme fear of socialism. he encouraged a fast day for the Indian mutiny in 1857. ibid 75 by Jacob Thomas. Josephine Butler. Zachary Macaulay. By the end of the 19th century. Spurgeon understood the need to recognise injustices that had been carried out. Thomas Clarkson. which is still remembered today.  17. Political activism was seen especially in the life of Anthony Ashley Cooper (better known perhaps as the Earl of Shaftesbury) who was most famous for his concern for child workers in factories and mines and children living in slums with no schooling. Quoted from George Marsden. However. From Lausanne to Manila: Evangelical Social Thought. (Delhi: ISPCK. 23-24 . For instance. had enormous impact on all levels of British society and the furtherance of the Gospel. as cited by Dayston. evangelical preachers such as C. was instigated by many great evangelicals of this era. 2003). Many of these men lived in Clapham and so they became known as the “Clapham Sect”. Others such as Elizabeth Fry. William Wilberforce. the Social Gospel and the Salvation of souls in Nineteenth Century America” + Fides et Historica 5 (Fall 1972 ad Spring 1973) 18. Edward Miall was deeply involved in political activism at a grass roots level and Thomas Chalmers and Thomas Guthrie were proactive in socioeconomic ministry in Scotland. economists such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo began to have an influence on society resulting in the growth of the middle classes among those who held values pertaining to the Victorian age and a gospel of work philosophy. The rise of co-operative societies at this time. James Stephen. showed how communities could work together for their own betterment. pp. “The Gospel of Wealth. success orientated competitive individualism.

Walter Ruschenbush (1861-1918) was one of its most well known advocates. He challenged Evangelicalism to rethink its “withdrawing mentality”. The rise in pre-millennial eschatology. (Delhi: ISPCK. In the opinion of evangelicals the content of the “social gospel” being widely preached misrepresented the true biblical nature of the gospel. their involvement in social reform declined. 20. human rights. something John Wesley warned about nearly two hundred years before. 1986). Evangelism in word. This misunderstanding showed how Evangelicalism in certain respects had seriously undermined the whole Gospel of the Kingdom of God. He said. The American historian Timothy L Smith coined the term “Great Reversal”. 19 While the social gospel had wide influence in America. (Delhi: ISPCK. p. See John Stott. in the USA. The “social gospel” had wide influence in America from the end of the 19th century up until the middle of the 20th century. From Lausanne to Manila: Evangelical Social Thought.25 22. Jacob Thomas. 19. (London: SCM Press. inequalities and exploitation among the working classes in Great Britain.The 0th century There is no doubt that during the 19th century there was a great desire among the evangelical community in Britain and also in America to lessen human misery. led to greater discussion of social problems.” 22 18. also had a growing unease about the lack of concern “Christianity is essentially a social religion. There was no time to be concerned about social justice.8. Henry. spiritual individualism and an indifference to social and political activism. (London: Marshall Pickering.” 18 There are a number of reasons for the Great Reversal: World War One showed the depth of human evil and led to pessimism about the possibility of reforming sinful human beings. H. the effects of the Industrial Revolution and the rapid increase in urbanisation were creating problems of acute poverty. The earlier brief analysis of the 18th century indicated that this was nothing new. Jacob Thomas. a major shift occurred as evangelicals began to renounce their social responsibility. This shift became known as “The Great Reversal.659 21. 1999) p.8 .” 21 One of the most vocal theologians. From Lausanne to Manila: Evangelical Social Thought. The growth of liberal theology forced the evangelical church to expend all its time defending the biblical gospel. in turn. A New Dictionary of Christian Ethics. New Issues Facing Christians TodayFully Revised Edition.” 20 In the first half of the 20th century there was a growing misunderstanding between evangelicals. was greatly encouraged as an attempt to usher in the return of Christ. during the first thirty years of the 20th century. who defended what they called “the fundamentals of the faith” and other evangelicals who. and consequently they naturally distanced themselves from this deviation and. John Wesley stated. However.  gospel of Christ knows of no religion but social. 2003). “the for loving one’s neighbour wholistically. To turn it into a solitary religion is indeed to destroy it. 2003). p. which was characterised by an attitude of escapism. which viewed the world as beyond improvement. therefore. p. William H Boley. to articulate the message of regaining an evangelical social conscience was Carl F. The rise of interest in the social sciences and the realisation that the Christian Church was becoming progressively more irrelevant to the working classes. no holiness but social holiness. According to Jacob Thomas “the authentic gospel had to be rediscovered to rectify costly mistakes and to reverse the Great Reversal. although agreeing with “the fundamentals of the faith”. believed that the only thing worth saving was a person’s soul.

org/english/think/aim1/declaration/ 25.13.Fully Revised Edition. and so in the mid-1960s the thinking and intellectual insights of theologians from developing nations began to influence a number of conferences and consultations. Manila 1989 (well known for its call for “the whole church to take In Great Britain. and the growth of large commercial institutions alienated those caught in the cycle of poverty as a result of both education and opportunity. New Issues Facing Christians Today. Christians in the United Kingdom had to take stock of their contribution to a fast changing world. This type of approach builds on the principles of Christian community development. 1999) p. 23. In the words of Waldron Scott. The growing “voice” of these new centres of Evangelicalism could no longer be ignored.”) and the Consultation on the Relationship between Evangelicalism and Social Responsibility (CRESR) in Grand Rapids 1982 showed how the imbalance between social action and evangelism was changing.24 Many people today have embraced the importance of wholistic mission as the outworking of the Great Commission and also the Great Commandment to love others. 110. Christian leaders from growing churches in the developing world challenged Evangelicals to include social activity as a vital part of mission. As society was gradually becoming post-modern serious questions about the need for public religion were being asked and traditional Christian values were being eroded. events such as the ‘Salt and Light’ consultation in 1988. the growth of the evangelical church was far more visible in the developing nations of Africa. were set up to give both theologians and practitioners the opportunity to express their views on a large number of wholistic issues being faced daily by both Christians and non-Christians. (London: Marshall Pickering. 1985). Tear Fund and the Evangelical Missionary Alliance). 24. and is one way forward for Christian Churches wanting to reach their local community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nonetheless. the whole gospel to the whole world.micahchallenge. such as the Micah Declaration in 2001. the unjust systems of colonialism. p. In the developing world. (sponsored by the Evangelical Alliance. the Far East and Latin America than in the historical Protestant countries of northern Europe.By the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s. For more information on the Micah declaration see http://www. The Quiet Revolution. to the strong grip of materialism and secularism upon western culture. John Stott. promoted the social agenda to a new place of prominence. and the National Assembly of Evangelicals in Bournemouth in 1996. by the 1960s and 1970s. Waldron Scott. often experienced in an overseas context.” 25  Many people today have embraced the importance of wholistic mission as the outworking of the Great Commission and also the Great Commandment to love others. By the “It (wholistic approach) seems a true reflection of Jesus’ way of ministering to people. Stott comments on how Tearfund and Evangelical Alliance’s ‘UK Action’ programme enabled “an increasing number of local British churches to develop holistic ministries among the urban poor. due in some measure. . (Oxford: Lion Publishing. At gatherings such as Wheaton (1966) and Lausanne (1974).” 23 beginning of the 21st century many other initiatives.

There is a strong conviction about the social implications of the gospel. The Awaking of our Evangelical Social Conscience Crisis and Hope in Latin America. through the ebbs and flows of thought and practice.. E Nunex and W Taylor.” 26.Conclusion From this brief historical review of wholistic mission within the Christian Church it is clear that.. As mentioned earlier Michael Green observed that in the Early Church “there was no dichotomy between a social and a spiritual gospel”. Similarly in our present time. that the Christian message is for life beyond the grave and life this side of the grave. that salvation is for the individual and for the benefit of society. p. (Pasadena: William Carey Library.” 26  “it is now commonplace to affirm in International gatherings of Evangelical leaders that there is no dichotomy between evangelicalism and social responsibility. evangelicalism has rediscovered a belief and application of wholistic mission similar to that of the early church believers. “it is now commonplace to affirm in International gatherings of Evangelical leaders that there is no dichotomy between evangelicalism and social responsibility. 432 . 1996). that both proclamation and social action must go together in the gospel ministry.

Would you agree that the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution were two key periods in the evolution of Social Action and Evangelicalism? 3.Questions to consider 1. Can we learn from our own religious history both recent and past? . Why do you think there has been a recent upsurge in Evangelicalism and wholistic mission in the UK? 5. What impression do you have of how the Early Church evangelised? 2. Do you think that the Middle Classes were a contributing factor to the growth of British Evangelicalism in the 19th century or was 19th century Evangelicalism a contributing factor to the growth of the Middle Classes?  4.

0 Part Three: Wholistic mission in your local community .

This is similar to the previous view with social action being seen as a legitimate part of mission. Such an approach refuses to prioritise between the two aspects maintaining that each aspect needs the other because people need to be set free from both personal and structural sin. Transforming Mission. is seen as a type of visual aid or in Stott’s words “social action becomes the ‘sacrament’ of evangelism.  Sadly. 27 Social action is a consequence of evangelism. Bosch is critical of what he terms the “cause-effect” 28 approach to the relationship between evangelism and social action that sees evangelism as primary. Therefore. confusion over the roles of evangelism and social concern still exists within the local church today. church history has revealed that the balance between the two has not always been easy with the church tending to emphasise either one or the other. In this approach social action is in danger of becoming little more than ‘bait on a hook’ and there is a very real risk of creating what has been called ‘rice Christians’. 406. then. Evangelism is the primary focus of mission but social action is undertaken as a preparation for the gospel. This view believes that society will be transformed through transformed lives.It is clear from the earlier biblical review that if the mission of the church is to reflect the mission of Jesus Christ it must include both social and evangelistic activities. for it makes the message significantly visible”. A number of attempts have been made to define this relationship: Social action is a means to evangelism. (Downers Grove: IVP. David J. Evangelism and social work belong together but remain independent of each other and so they need not always go together. is the necessary starting point for any form of social action. Although each is considered equal. John Stott. Bosch. However. Social action is a partner of evangelism. he suggests that social action and evangelism are equal but distinct aspects of mission. p. In a desire for a more wholistic approach. the priority is to evangelise people and see them converted so that they can begin to change their own society. Should evangelism be the primary focus of our church’s ministry? Should Christians be bothered with social justice? If the local church desires to have an effective ministry within its community then a balanced understanding of the relationship between the two activities of social action and evangelism is necessary. Social action and evangelism are equal but distinct aspects of mission. p 26 28. Social action. (New York: Orbis. this approach allows us to choose what the greater need is for a particular situation at a particular time. 1991). Christian Mission in the Modern World. . This view says that what we do in terms of social justice reinforces the message we preach through evangelism. Sadly. Social action is a manifestation of evangelism. Conversion. confusion over the roles of evangelism and social concern still exists within the local church today 27. 1975). then.

 A wholistic approach to mission invites local churches to recognise their responsibility to evangelise and show social concern.a very broad and therefore. ‘a hungry man has no ears’. p 28 . The danger with Bosch’s approach is that mission becomes literally everything the church does . John Stott. (Downers Grove: IVP. unhelpful definition. If our enemy is hungry. To see social action and evangelism as partners. But there will certainly be other times when a person’s material need is so pressing that he would not be able to hear the gospel if we shared it with him. Christian Mission in the Modern World. are such inseparable partners that all of us must engage in both all the time. there will be times when a person’s eternal destiny is the most urgent consideration. John Stott is an advocate of this approach but he cautions. Bosch. a strong advocate of wholistic mission.” 29 29. The man who fell among robbers needed above all else at that moment oil and bandages for his wounds. however. 1975). Situations vary. is a useful way to understand wholistic mission. in the words of a missionary in Nairobi quoted by Bishop John Taylor. As for situations. our biblical mandate is not to evangelize him but to feed him (Romans 12:20)! Then too there is a diversity of Christian callings. and so do Christian callings. evangelism and social action. “This does not mean that words and works. for we must not forget that men without Christ are perishing. not evangelistic tracts in his pockets! Similarly. rejects the view of mission as evangelism plus social action (evident in a number of the approaches outlined above) because this suggests that evangelism is the essential part of mission while social action is an optional extra. and every Christian should be faithful to his own calling.

the way in which we spend our time and money. Further. To know how the church can do this in its local community. then. if as Christians we claim to love God then our church should endeavour to meet the needs of people in the community. our behaviour at work and among our friends and neighbours.  . must impact all areas of our lives: our attitudes and words. This command calls for a wholistic approach. it is necessary to know the community and the kind of people who live there. which will involve leading people to Christ and working for social transformation within the community.How is your church involved in the local community? Jesus commanded all of his followers: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind … and love your neighbour as yourself” (Mt 22:38. how we relate to others. Our relationship with God.39).


helplessness and fear. Broken families: Financial pressure is one among many factors contributing towards breakdown in husband/wife relationships and so it is not surprising that the divorce rate is escalating. Even families in well-paid employment are experiencing the pressures of paying off high mortgages and end up working every hour to make ends meet. they are often unaware of their legal rights and they face diverse social problems. Being a foreigner in a strange land brings its own challenges. It is no surprise that in the past twenty years debt has become an increasing problem. Often it is difficult for immigrants to adapt culturally and linguistically to their new country. Immigrants: The face of society has changed considerably in the past decade and the ever-increasing number of immigrants to the United Kingdom and Ireland has been another factor in this change. evident in the increase of stressrelated illnesses but also in the recent rise of suicides among teenagers. with the average household owing thousands of pounds on credit cards. churched and unchurched. young and old. This fact along with the rising number of unwanted pregnancies among young single women means that the stable family unit is no longer the norm for many people in our society today. Many children grow up in single parent families. Others: The community is made up of a wide range of people.  . People of all ages suffer from worry or stress.Who lives in your local community? People under financial pressure: As the cost of living increases more and more families struggle to pay the weekly bills. Young people today no longer see the importance or relevance of church and some become involved in potentially harmful activities. each with differing needs and problems. The elderly within the local community are often the most vulnerable to feelings of loneliness. including alcohol or drug abuse. They can be vulnerable to racial attacks.

This generates real opportunities for relationships and friendships to be forged between the churched and the unchurched in the community. We do it in obedience to the Great Commandment of Jesus Christ and so as Rob Warner suggests. not just as leaders but also as participants. legal advice. we need not be ashamed of our reason for doing this. as we set up new groups and undertake new ventures to address the real issues of our community. (Leicester: Crossway.So what can the local church do? The challenges and struggles faced by people in society today open up limitless opportunities for churches to be salt and light within their local communities. p. However. pregnancy counselling. Rebuild. parenting classes. 162 . taking place not far from Belfast. toddlers groups. many people who are willing to attend the new toddlers group or parenting class on church premises are often reluctant to return to the same building when invited to attend church services. Rob Warner in Fran Beckett and others. English language classes. and between the church and the community. addiction support groups and general mercy ministries are some ways in which the  church can address the needs of the local community. As Christians the onus is on us to bridge this gap. illustrates that such involvement is possible and can really make a difference to a community. The following example of wholistic ministry. 30. and these naturally formed relationships are an effective means of evangelism. Debt counselling. steps can be taken towards supporting and encouraging the people who live there. The theory often sounds good but the practice may seem less possible. 2001). Realistically. it is often difficult to bridge the gap between evangelism and social action.” 30 Nevertheless. One way of doing this might be to involve the whole church in the new venture. It is reasonable to ask whether or not this type of involvement with the community can really make a difference. Once the community and its needs have been carefully researched. “We need to find the confidence and creativity to give appropriate expression to our Christian convictions.


open to all parts of the community. health trust. . the minister of Scrabo Presbyterian Church. alcohol and drug abuse. Link) all working together in the estate trying to address social issues by building capacity in people. These audits reveal that unemployment is high while educational achievement levels are low. The social need in West Winds estate is based on the Noble Indices of Deprivation. skills and training development. which at the time was still under development. is actively involved in all aspects of community life. health care. The Association is made up of volunteers from the community. a “church in the community” In 1972 Scrabo Presbyterian Church began as an outreach project of Strean Presbyterian Church in the loyalist housing estate of West Winds in Newtownards. Multiple Deprivation occurs when a combination of living conditions. housing forum/executive.g. Significantly. Michael asked him to get involved in the Residents’ Association. mental health issues. education. the District Manager of the Newtownards branch of the Housing Executive. community policing forum/PSNI. West Winds has been recognised by many statutory bodies as an area of social deprivation. an area close to West Winds. resource and childcare centres. The estate is reasonably self-contained with its own primary school. access to services. This post is grantfunded and the worker is employed by the West Winds Development Association. a group dealing with brain injury. old people’s home. which was primarily dealing with housing issues. Alistair Bates. The community is rich in agencies and forums (e. creating a vital link between church and community. Many organisations including the Headway Charity. 31. This involvement began soon after his arrival in January 2000 when he was approached by Michael Taylor. 31  A number of community audits have been commissioned to establish a profile of the area. Rev. dealing with funding applications and by strategic mapping for the future. a geographically strategic position easily accessible by all. now has a population of approximately 2000. West Winds is ranked 61st while Whitespots. income. This geographic location right at the ‘heart’ of the community is very appropriate for a church that desires to be a church in the community for the community. employment. The prevailing impact of anti-social behaviour.Scrabo Presbyterian. and social environment is poor and affects people’s quality of life. a full time community development officer has also been recently appointed. The housing estate. Scrabo Presbyterian Church is a multi purpose building. a number of members from Scrabo Presbyterian Church are actively involved in this association. compounded by low transfer figures to grammar school education mean that everyone is conscious of the work that needs to be done. the teenage pregnancy rate is high as is the breakdown in the traditional family unit. is ranked 545th. housing problems and the fear of paramilitaries only serve to heighten community concerns. shops and community development office. Scrabo Presbyterian Church is situated in the centre of the estate. Since then a community development office has been established and is situated just 100 yards from the church building. working in partnership with statutory bodies. The fluctuation of numbers at the local primary school. In terms of the Noble Multiple Deprivation scores. However. and the West Winds Development Association use the building. SureStart.

That is the reason why most of the church-run activities revolve around friendship and relationship building. Many organisations including the Headway Charity. In the past eight years Alistair and the church leadership have seen encouragements from their wholistic approach – not only have many social needs been addressed. when suitable.” all sectors of the community to create an atmosphere for change where West Winds can become a safer. family and friends in the community. an organisation established in 1997 to help churches engage with the many social needs in local communities within the Newtownards area. The Parents and Toddlers group encourages parents to build relationships with each other while their youth activities encourage the young people to participate in safe wholesome fun together. he describes all of his work as spiritual whether he is preaching Jesus Christ at a church service or speaking out about a housing issue at a community forum. economic. striving to see positive development of the community and. not the churchified you” (in Alistair’s words). On other occasions Alistair has used the building to meet with loyalist representatives to discuss community issues. So every day Christians from Scrabo Presbyterian Church share their lives with their neighbours.” . They support each other in the midst of social and economic difficulty and show compassion for people in their hurt and struggles. Such an approach does not produce an immediate response. Alistair Bates. He has found that this story-telling approach helps the people of West Winds to connect with Jesus. open to all parts of the community.Scrabo Presbyterian Church is a multi purpose building. healthier. There is no doubt that the work being carried out in West Winds is wholistic as the congregation of Scrabo Presbyterian Church seeks to “embrace all aspects of  life as worthy of transformation and change.” The church and community also has a strong connection with the Link. the community is able to see “the real you. but as a church engaged in wholistic mission it recognizes that people have spiritual needs as well as social and economic needs. The vision of the church leadership team is that Christians who belong to the church will engage with and care for everyone in the community. Central to the church’s wholistic approach is the need for. Occasional question and answer sessions further enhance the services. Rev. He rejects any dualistic mindset. which separates his spiritual work from his community work. seeks to make real connections with real people experiencing real social. and the West Winds Development Association use the building. it is a long-term approach requiring great patience as it takes many years to establish a “salt and light influence”. but the church has also grown considerably with 140 people meeting on an average Sunday morning and 50 in the evening. The Friendship group offers the older community members an opportunity to meet every week for friendship. along with the congregation of Scrabo Presbyterian Church. but rather out of love and because all people in West Winds estate are created in the image of God. Through such transparent and accountable relationships. “authentic relationships. has the use of the church premises. Alistair’s “narrative theology” means that much of his preaching and his teaching of scriptural truths are based on the narratives found in Scripture. happier place to live. On the contrary. in Alistair’s words. He says. a group dealing with brain injury. helping the church leadership to better understand and engage in the real community issues. “I will engage with Clearly Scrabo Presbyterian Church actively seeks to reach the social needs of the people in the West Winds estate. churches and individuals. community groups. physical and spiritual needs. The Link works with agencies. This is not done out of a desire to “fill the pews” or as a ‘bait on the hook’ approach to Christianity.

Draw up a short mission statement for your church reflecting a desire to be involved in wholistic ministry. Are you aware of the people who live in your local community? What are their greatest needs? 5. It might begin “Our church exists to….Questions to Consider: 1. In your church is there a tendency to focus more on either evangelism or social action? Why do you think that is? How do you think you might redress this imbalance? 2. What do you find encouraging or challenging about Scrabo Presbyterian Church’s wholistic ministry? Do you think it would be an appropriate model to adopt or adapt within your own community? 0 .” 4. Which of the above relationships between evangelism and social action best describes your church’s approach to ministry? Which approach do you think is the most satisfactory? 3. How might you go about researching the people and needs of the community? 6.


 Part Four: Wholistic mission in the Interserve world .

The women of these zenanas were not seen merely as souls to be saved but as women with educational. the principles of wholistic ministry were being developed as the first Interserve missionaries reached into the zenanas of India. community development.”  “Our purpose is to make Jesus Christ known through wholistic ministry. the basic purpose of Interserve has remained unchanged: “Our purpose is to make Jesus Christ known through wholistic ministry. theological education and business. when the term “wholistic” was unknown. healthcare. social. church development. including education. There has been much change within Interserve in the past 150 years. amongst the neediest peoples of Asia and the Arab world. amongst the neediest peoples of Asia and the Arab world. economic and medical needs. in partnership with the global church. not least in that the organisation has grown considerably.Throughout its history Interserve’s approach to mission has been wholistic in nature.” . Today approximately 750 partners from 20 nationalities serve in nearly 30 countries in a wide range of ministries. However. in partnership with the global church. Even from its humble beginnings in 1852.

32. surviving on less that 65 pence per day. social. The “poor” are depicted as weak. The peoples among whom we work and serve are economically. But Bryant Myers. Jayakumar Christian (“poverty as disempowerment”) and finally Ravi Jayakaran (“poverty as a lack of freedom to grow”). 81 .What does it mean to be needy? Interserve works among the “neediest peoples of Asia and the Arab world” and so helping the poor (or needy) is an essential part of what we do. but at no time does the Bible suggest that poverty is an acceptable condition. oppressed and crying out for justice. On average 10 million children die each year before their fifth birthday. Being needy or poor is a much more complex issue than that. one in every five of the world’s population) live in extreme poverty. one in every five of the world’s population) live in extreme poverty. Statistics taken from the Department For International Development (DFID). 33. In a similar way Interserve’s understanding of what it means to be needy is not limited to perhaps the most obvious need of material necessities. John Friedman (“poverty as a lack of access to social power”). shelter. suggests that there is more to being poor than this. Bryant L. 1999). In the Old Testament “poor” is translated by six main terms incorporating a much broader meaning than material poverty. Myers. medicine and education. (New York: Orbis.” 34 The Bible also portrays poverty as being much more than a lack of means. cultural and spiritual. rather it is one that must be challenged. surviving on less that 65 pence per day. After a detailed discussion on the theories of poverty put forward by Robert Chambers (“poverty as entanglement”). Walking with the Poor. personal.uk 34. and more than 115 million children do not attend school. It is estimated that more than a billion people (that is. miserable. undermines the need to take the Gospel to all people groups – rich and poor alike.gov.32 It is necessary to define what it means to be poor. p. he concludes that poverty must be understood in a wholistic way as “a complicated social issue involving all areas of life – physical. in his book Walking with the Poor. UK website at http://www. In the New Testament the “poor” are described as those who are economically destitute as well as those who are spiritually humble. helpless and destitute. 33  This suggests that poverty is the lack of tangible things like food. This. downtrodden and humiliated. physically and spiritually impoverished. Throughout the Bible the most vulnerable to poverty are the marginalized groups of society such as widows. mostly from preventable diseases. socially. Following the biblical example Interserve also believes that these situations must be challenged. in no way. orphans and strangers. It is estimated that more than a billion people (that is.dfid.

water these relationships and also or clean air can be attributed contributes to the cause of in part to the inhospitable poverty. and technical information can Their relationship with God is result in poverty. gods and ancestors have power over the people and contribute towards their poverty. (New York: Orbis. knowledge relationship with community. From the biblical the reasons for poverty. social power and the non-poor playing god in the lives of the Mental Causes poor. lack of Every person lives within a land or possession of infertile social context but sadly the or overused land. for example. fear of how the gods might react can prevent poor people from accepting technical improvement. Sin distorts each of Lack of food. Bryant L. environment. Myers review in Part One. creating brokenness in the Lack of education. The needy often do geography or isolation in which not understand who they are. we need to consider God intended. many poor people live.Why are the poor. Furthermore. poor often find themselves they live within oppressive trapped in social structures that societies with no access to perpetuate injustice and misery. witchcraft. contribute towards poverty. one other important factor needs to be taken into account: poverty occurs within the context of relationships that Recognizing the complexity of are not functioning in the way poverty. p. Other why they were created and factors like lack of land or the reason they exist. poor? However. 1999). shelter. with feelings of hopelessness. Walking with the Poor. Their relationship with the environment is also distorted Social Causes due to. 35. community Physical Causes and God. we remember proves helpful as he suggests the that human beings exist within following reasons: 35 four relationships – with self. as often they poor blame themselves for place their trust in spirits and their poverty and are overcome other gods. thus their livestock or employment also relationship with self is distorted. For instance. Spiritual Causes In many societies the spirit world. Often the also distorted. Myers. 81ff  .

it is also important to look beyond the immediate community (regional. and God. p. peaceful. educating the uneducated. This better future will also be seen in changed people: people who realize that they are created in God’s image with identity and purpose. providing water. 113 . Bryant L. Ibid. our environment. No doubt such a short-term solution will address the immediate needs of the people but it is not a sustainable or whole solution. (New York: Orbis. with ourselves. Walking with the Poor. being needy is a complex issue impinging on every area of life. All are legitimate ways of moving towards a better future. Myers. it will not be enough to simply supply the tangible things that so many people lack. we might even say that being needy is a wholistic issue. and in restored relationships: relationships that are just and peaceful. Myers suggests that any effective work carried out among the socially.How can we help the needy? From the discussion so far. 36. “The kingdom vision for the better human future is summarized by the idea of shalom: just. and enjoyable relationships with each other. 36 He goes on to suggest that. harmonious. our approach to the needy must be equally wholistic in nature. 1999).” 37 Clearly such an approach will involve attending the sick.. 113 37. Of course. Therefore. p. reconciliation and kingdom building. materially.  Wholistic solutions require a commitment of time as well as financial resources. Recognizing that sin and sinful relationships are the root cause of their poverty. The real needs of the people in the community can only be seen and understood when time is spent living in the community building relationships. The real needs of the people in the community can only be seen and understood when time is spent living in the community building relationships. These relationships then facilitate the inclusion of the community in the process of reaching a longterm solution. national and international) since many poor people suffer the consequences of unjust relationships imposed by the social and political structures within the country. physically and spiritually poor must involve working towards a “better future” for the poor.


it encompasses all that they do and all that they are. Interserve has the following vision statement: “lives and communities transformed through encounter with Jesus Christ”. physically and socially deprived. For this reason. In this way we fulfill the mandate to make disciples. our partners proclaim and demonstrate the whole gospel to those who are spiritually. In other words their ministry is by nature wholistic. dentists. materially. advocacy and reconciliation ministries are becoming increasingly more important in the Interserve world. to reconcile and restore broken relationships in a sin-spoiled world. Interserve partners seek to use their professional skills to address the urgent needs of needy people. each contributing in ways that will bring a better future to the people of the community. as well as economic and social change. . Therefore spiritual transformation. teachers. At a national level. theologians. The ministry of Interserve has been succinctly summed up as the following: “bearing witness (martyria) to the character of God and his mighty acts of redemption. Interserve also strives to challenge those in government and other bodies whose decisions and actions affect the poor. along with its purpose statement. businessmen and women. service (diakonia) and fellowship (koinonia).” 38  38. Doctors. their “ministry” is not limited to proclamation alone nor can it be described simply as the task to which they have been assigned in a hospital or school. serve the needy and counter evil and injustice (diakonia) and share fellowship in the Body of Christ (koinonia). The ultimate goal of all Interserve partners is to share God’s love and compassion in everything they do. However. This includes proclamation (kerygma). is a significant goal for Interserve. their professional activities and the way they relate to those among whom they live. their behaviour and attitudes. community developers. work and serve are all part of ministry. Through word and deed. We announce the good news of repentance and faith in Christ (kerygma). and so reflect the unity of the Triune God. Quoted from an Interserve internal document. Their lifestyle. Thus. and many more have been placed by Interserve within needy communities.What does Interserve do to help the needy? As a Christian mission agency striving to reach the neediest peoples of Asia and the Arab world.

he is not only restoring eyesight but also bringing a better future to needy people. He is a long-term Interserve partner from the United Kingdom who uses his professional skills as an optometrist to serve the people of Mongolia. Richard’s work alongside the local churches is just one example of Interserve’s wholistic approach. Why not see for yourself by watching the enclosed 8-minute DVD.Ultimately all ministry carried out by Interserve personnel seeks to contribute to the building up of the church of Jesus Christ as can be seen from the example of Richard. physically and socially deprived. . our partners proclaim and demonstrate the whole gospel to those who are spiritually. materially. Eye2Eye Restoring eyesight in Mongolia.  Through word and deed. Through his daily work and witness.

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If you fall into any of these categories or are simply interested in finding out more. In what ways might you create an interest in overseas mission within your congregation? 5. teachers. In one or two sentences how would you define poverty? Has your definition of poverty been challenged by reading this section? 2. alternatively. We have been able to place engineers. Are you interested in using your professional training skills to make a real difference in the lives of needy people? Are you looking for an exciting opportunity to serve God within another country and culture? On Track is Interserve’s short-term programme for those wanting to serve for six weeks up to a year. to serve God wholistically throughout Asia and the Arab world. Do you think Richard’s work in Mongolia is a good example of wholistic ministry? Why or why not? 4. seeking to reach very needy people? How will their approaches differ? 3.What’s the next step? There are numerous opportunities. to serve God wholistically throughout Asia and the Arab world. . you would like to go overseas for more than two years one of our longterm opportunities may be for you. like Interserve. many of which are urgent. If. many of which are urgent. physiotherapists. a professional seeking a career break or a retiree desiring to use your skills and experience overseas? Placements can be arranged on an individual basis depending on your specific areas of interest. Questions to Consider 1. What differences are there between a secular development agency and a Christian organisation. Would you ever consider using your skills to serve needy people overseas?  There are numerous opportunities. administrators and many more. Perhaps you are a student wanting to arrange a ‘gap’ year. please get in touch and let us know your particular area of interest. community and church developers. information technologists.

. Books and websites referred to in this resource. ..

David J. UK website at http://www. E. 1999) Nunex. This resource has challenged me to become more involved in my local community.. (Downers Grove: IVP.Fully Revised Edition. gov.. Transforming Mission. 1999) Stott.micahchallenge. Please take some time to consider how you would respond.. New Issues Facing Dictionary of Christian Ethics. The Lausanne to Manila: Evangelical Social Thought. (Oxford: Lion Publishing. Fran and others. (New York: Orbis. 1998) Myers. Walking with the Poor. I would like to be kept up to date with your prayer requests. D..Books Beckett. Anthropological Insights for Missionaries. W. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House. Waldron. 1992) Eerdman’s Handbook to the History of Christianity. Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament. (Leicester: Crossway.isire. 2003) Hiebert. (London: Marshall Pickering.dfid. World – The Social Impact of English Evangelicalism (Carlisle: Paternoster Press. 1989) Boley. Rebuild.. G. From (Delhi: ISPCK.Crisis and Hope in Latin America. The Quiet Revolution. (London: Marshall Pickering. 1991) Dowley T. (Grand Rapids: Eerdman’s Publishing Co. (London: SCM Press. I would like to find out about opportunities for service. A New Scott. 1985) Smith.org W: www. (New York: Orbis. and Taylor. Michael. and others. Evangelism in the Early Church. org/english/think/aim1/ declaration/ Department For International Development (DFID). This resource has heightened my awareness of the work of Interserve. Please return this form to Interserve Ireland with the following details.W. (Pasadena: William Carey Library. 1998) Evangelicalism in Modern Britain. 1977) Green. John. 2001) Bebbington. Christians Today. Jacob. D.org Awaking of our Evangelical Social Conscience . Name Address Websites http://www. 1975) Thomas. Belfast BT6 0PA T: 028 9040 2211 F: 028 9040 1298 E: info@isire.W. 1996) . I would like to invite someone to speak at my church/ youth group.. (Eastbourne: Kingsway. Christian Mission in the Modern World. Chris.. 2003) Wright. William H. I would like to contribute finacially towards the work Interserve by giving a one off gift of £ I would like to find out about long–term giving and gift aid. I would like to receive your quarterly mailing. Bryant L. 1986) Bosch. Transforming its Your Response We hope the material in this wholistic mission resource has been helpful to you. John.uk Postcode Telephone Email Interserve Ireland 14 Glencregagh Court. (London/New York: Stott. Routledge. P.


org W: www.isire. Belfast BT6 0PA T: 028 9040 2211 F: 028 9040 1298 E: info@isire. Interserve Ireland 14 Glencregagh Court.org This document has been written by Interserve Ireland Sponsored by Design Ethos T: 0  00 .

 Wholistic Mission Interserve Ireland .

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