Tag Archives: Bible

Biblical Basis for Wholistic Transformational Ministry

Christians are commanded in Luke 10:27 to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love their neighbors as themselves. If we love our neighbors as ourselves, we will truly be concerned with their welfare, both physically and spiritually. We will want to help our neighbors live more abundant, meaningful lives here on earth and to share with others how they can have eternal life. Because of God’s love for us, we desire to share that love.

Jesus made a startling statement in Matthew 25:34-40. He asserted that as we give food and drink to those in need, take in strangers, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and visit those in prisons, we are doing these things to Him. Most of us would find it easy to do these things for Christ and for our own family, but Jesus says we must even do them for the lowliest of people, including those we don’t know or may even dislike. We are called to serve all men.

The emphasis of Christ’s Great Commission is on the spiritual needs of man. He commands us in Matthew 28:19, 20 to go into all nations and make disciples of all. We will do this in the name of Jesus and under the authority of God. This command is not given as an option. Jesus promises to be with us in His full authority and power both now and always. Thus we go forth boldly in Christ’s strength made available through the Holy Spirit and not in our own power.

We are told in II Timothy 2:2 to train faithful men to teach others who, in turn, will teach others. The focus of this verse is multiplication. As we pour our lives into faithful men, they will catch the vision for teaching others who, in turn, will help others.

However, when Jesus walked this earth He ministered to the whole person. He healed the sick as He preached and taught. When Jesus sent out His twelve disciples to minister to others, He commanded them to heal the sick, being concerned for the physical needs of others, as well as preaching the good news of Jesus Christ. Today if we are to follow Christ’s example, one person must do both as did the disciples. As Christians, we too must be concerned for the well-being of the whole man. This involves meeting both physical and spiritual needs, and training others to do so also.

Traditionally, a number of churches and missions have been committed to caring for people’s physical and spiritual needs, but generally people specialize in meeting either the spiritual needs (pastor, evangelist, etc.) or physical needs (doctor, engineer, etc.). For many, this leads to conflict of interest between urgent physical concerns and the spiritual needs of the people. The tendency is to become drawn in to exclusive areas of focus, away from wholistic ministry.


What Wholistic Means

Let’s talk about wholistic and what it means to us. We spell wholistic with a ‘W’ because it keeps ever in front of us the idea that we need to deal with the whole person, all aspects of their life, and the whole community or neighborhood, meaning all sectors in that place.

Some people and the Webster Dictionary spell it without the W and give it a spiritual meaning from holy. We agree with that BUT feel it is more important to concentrate on the whole, not just on the spiritual or holy aspect.

Dela Adadevoh who was my director in Africa and who I spoke of last week wrote another book The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person  speaks about the Wholism from a Biblical basis.

Dela says the Gospel is a redemption and restoration story; it is restoration to a blessed spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social and material state. He goes on to list the Characteristics found in the Garden of Eden which include; goodness, beauty, order, purpose satisfaction and intimacy with God.  The phrase “Kingdom of God” is used frequently to explain God’s plan for the nations and people of Jesus Christ.  Knowledge and will are not enough to make people holy and spiritual.

The ultimate impact of the Gospel is the Hebrew concept of Shalom which is peace with God meaning there is no longer separation between man and God. The Gospel gives us the promise of entering God’s rest’ physically, spiritually, emotionally and intellectually. Shalom also means we can now live in peace with the rest of creation. The blessing we leave as missionaries is the blessing of peace

The call to witness for God is not limited in its focus to individuals, God also expects communities and nations to be His witness. The Great Commission is a call to make disciples of all nations, not just make disciples in all nations. Making disciples of all nations is not only making individual disciples but also disciples of communities to ensure they build themselves on Godly principles. God’s blessings are wholistic and primarily seek to bring the people of a nation relationally closer to God.

Dela ends his book by saying ‘Christ honored transformation of society must begin with the church. A transforming Church is an effective agency in the hands of God for transforming society’

In working in a community or neighborhood, we are looking into the above areas as well, but the different sectors found in a community come more into play. Therefore, when we talk about community, sometimes we will use the term sectors, and when dealing with the individual, we talk more in terms of physical, spiritual, emotional and social aspects.

Just concentrating on one area of life, such as just working with a person’s health or getting them a job, helps them in one way, but there needs to be assistance in multiple areas of life for real transformation to take place.

Let’s look at another aspect of being wholistic. Sometimes agencies talk about being wholistic when they have different people deal with the different sectors or areas in a person’s or community’s life. But to us that is not wholistic. That is parallel track ministry, but all elements rarely come to play in a person or community. Instead, what needs to happen is that multiple elements must come into play in order to see transformation. The people working in their own track are specialists and generally only concentrate on their specialty

I use the illustration: Have you ever look down a straight line of railroad tracks? The tracks start out being in parallel but far down the line they seem to converge. However, as you walk down the tracks you see that they never do. This is what happens when we have specialists working on their track.

They hope that all the people working together will bring convergence. But this does not happen.

For us to see wholistic transformation, all areas and sectors of life in individuals and a community must be done by one person who is looking for wholistic transformation to take place. This means we want to help people (in CHE or NT) to be generalists not specialists.

This also means you also have to use the KISS, Keep It Short and Simple, principle when helping people. In other words, we must decide what is the most important thing another person needs to understand, and forget sharing many of the “what-ifs”—the things people might need to know in the future or things that might be nice to know but others would never use.

So remember, it is best when we have generalists who deal with multiple areas in a community’s or person’s life, and who keep it simple. In another blog I will share with you how this is accomplished through our participatory teaching approach.

Biblical Perspective to Transformation

This past week I read with great interest Dela Adadevoh’s new book “Personal Life Transformation” in a Biblical Perspective 2013, International Leadership Foundation, Orlando FL. Dela was my supervisor as Africa Director of Affairs in 1988 when we were on staff with Campus Crusade in Nairobi and developing CHE. Currently Dela is the Global VP for Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) and founded the International Leadership Foundation in 2004 which he serves as president today. The ideas presented are taken from his book as they fully represent where we are coming from in Transformation.

Dela says right belief does not automatically lead to transformed lives and right actions. Right actions do not necessarily lead to transformed minds, values and lives. There needs to be intentionality in developing life values and principles from beliefs. People have to be helped not only to believe the right things but also to know how the truth relates to real life issues.

Central to transformation is our worldview, that is how we unconsciously view the world around us. Dela says a world view change is a sustained commitment to looking at our world from another frame of reference with a new set of values.

Worldviews are formed by a unique inter-relationship between conceptual categories which Dela identifies as God, truth, authority, power, success, love forgiveness and service. The key question is the transformation process is What is Truth? A person’s worldview informs their beliefs, values and behavior. Our worldview is the aggregate of our various conceptual understandings and how they inter-relate with one another

To experience biblical transformation one has to believe in, God is Creator, God is a perfect person, The characteristics and revealed will of God are absolutes, the Bible as the Word of God, Jesus Christ is the perfect human , Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Jesus Christ as the Savior and the spirit of God as the agent of transformation.

Transformation must be motivated by intrinsic factors striking at the core of one’s beliefs and outlook on life. This causes a radical change of one’s outlook on life consequently ones values in life which affect our behavior.

For full transformation people need a personal relationship with Christ. They are living like Jesus in the contemporary world and leading like Jesus does through Servant Leadership which empower people to be more then they have dreamt they could be. The goal of transforming a person’s worldview, must have at its heart the restoration of humans into the image of God as they become good stewards of God’s creation.

Dela goes onto say Interdependence is the objective of God in everything that he calls us to do. To me this is the factor tying a neighborhood together so their neighborhood can be redeemed and restored.

Transformed lives are validated by transformed system, structure and situation, Transformed leaders must translate their new outlooks and values into new decisions and policies that will result in new institutions and societies.

One of the identified challenges in transformation is the disconnect between the private and public lives of people. The transformation process begins with personal life transformation that should lead to transforming relationships which should lead to institutional or organizational transformation. The process for transformation should increasingly approximate the life of Christ.

No person, nor society can be fully transformed as that will only come when Christ returns. But we can continually think about, plan for, equip and look for transformation taking place in this life. Transformational impact in society increases numbers of transforming people and leaders.

Success Factors for Christian Community Development

A Christian doing community development should base their work on a Biblical world view. We propose the following development principles should be considered when Christians undertake development projects.
• The main emphasis should be upon changed individual lives, rather than changed social structures. Changed lives produce a changed society. The basis of this change is a personal relationship with Christ. The greatest permanent development results are achieved when “born-again” Christians are taught to multiply their newly acquired values and skills.
• The concept of self-help is indispensable to the development process. Development must lead to self-reliance. Self-reliance must be rooted a t the local level, within the pr actices of the community, and must be under God’s direction.
• It is preferable to start a project in communities where local initiative has been previously demonstrated.
• Success in community development depends upon the participation of those who stand to benefit from it. This is best accomplished by using committees re presenting the people. However, if the committee members do not know their role, there will be little participation by the people. It is crucial that committees undergo o thorough, intensive training.
• Development must be people-centered, not project-centered or technically-oriented. Any program must start where the people are, not where we think they are, or where we would like them to be.
• Help people identify and then meet their interests. A program should be designed to meet the interests of the maximum number of people that can be served within the context of those participating.
• Focus on the assets that are found in the community not the needs for what is not found in the community.
• Development should be concerned with methods that are simple and cost effective and use local resources, whenever possible. Development must be economically sound to be permanent. Financing and supplies should come, to a major extent, from the community. Outside input should be minimal or on the basis of “seed” funds. Supplies and materials, when needed, should be available consistently from sources within the country.
• A major criteria for success should be: Will the results be ongoing in the lives of people after the change agents leave? Development must encourage and promote community leadership. It is vital to find a person who will champion the program within the local community. This person must have the time, vision, and influence to make the program his own. Without such a person, most projects will fail to be fully effective. We learned early that there must be an influential person in the community who will assume responsibility for the project and see it as his and the community’s.
• Change comes about best when there are good role models whom the people can observe and follow. These role models should be people who others respect and desire to copy.
• Home visitation by the leaders, trainers, and trainees is critical. Through visitation in homes, real life situations can be observed and meaningful mentoring can take place on the spot.
• The people of the community must recognize that they have a high priority interest and have a strong desire to deal with that interest. They must also have sufficient confidence in themselves to feel that they can deal with it. Development should be indigenous, coming from the heart of the society. It is good to encourage people and to help them star t individual projects which are important to them. We want them to be successful, because they gain confidence and credibility through success.
• Whenever possible, community development solutions should be transferable to other locations and people in a such a way that their effectiveness is multiplied.
• The role of any outside helper should be as an encourager, catalyst, advisor, trainer, vision-giver, and co-learner, but not a doer or leader. Helpers should be willing to receive as well as to give. That is, they must be equals, not just givers or receivers. A good developer is a helper, a servant to the community.
• Much time and patience is required for lasting development to take place and to continue after the excitement of a new program dies down. In the beginning, the outside change agent is the initiator and the community is the receiver. Over a period of time, these positions should be reversed until outside input is eliminated. Development is a series of many small tasks and factors which lead to self-reliance. No single thing creates a successful development project. We found that a period of 9 to 12 months is required, just to enter the community and gain the confidence of the people. Then the training can begin. We also found that time, time, and more time must be spent with the people–living with, eating with, and relating to them. This process cannot be rushed. If it is rushed, lasting change is less likely to take place.
• It takes a minimum of 5 years for a program to become lasting and ongoing after trainers leave an area. Continuous work need not be going on, but periodic visits and training need to be done throughout. Less and less input will be required by the trainers as the local people take over more and more of the responsibility.
• Development should deal wholistically with man and not compartmentalize him into isolated segments. Man is a physical, spiritual, mental, and social being.
• In most third-world countries, a person’s physical health has traditionally been believed to be influenced by spirits. Here there is no separation into compartments—the physical-self and the spiritual-self. Both are seen as one and part of the whole.

What is My Passion?

I want to share with you my passion, what has driven me for the last 30 years. It is the cause of:

Lifting communities out of cycles of poverty and disease and facilitating people to faith and maturity in Christ.

The Biblical Basis for my cause?
Participate in God’s mission to restore all creation to wholeness by being a faithful witnesses in Word and Deed through Gods redeeming love and work.
· Lk 10:27 Love God totally in areas of your life which deals with whole person and reach out to your neighbor in love as you would for yourself.
· Lk 4:18 &19, Isa 61:2&3. Deal with the whole person by reaching to them in all areas of their life.
· Lk 9:1,2 & Lk 10, 1,8,9, Reaches sends out 12 and 72 to reach out wholistically to others
· Matt 28:18-10, We are to teach all God has commanded us which is to deal wholistically with people.

The Bible call me to do the following in relation to my cause:
· Love all people and reach out to them don’t wait for them to come to me.
· Love requires a relationship therefore must get to know people can’t just give people things.
· When we do things for people that they should be doing for themselves we actually hurt not love them.
· The goal is a ministry that deals with all areas of a person life thereby transforming them from the inside out and then these people in a given neighborhood are transforming their neighborhood in the same way.

My cause intersects with other people
· Getting people out of their comfort zone and into the neighborhood which is hard
· When do things for people we (which we are inclined to do) we make them dependent on others which is not showing love. We have to equip people with a different worldview of empowering not doing things for others.

This is what first Community Health Evangelism (CHE) internationally, and then Neighborhood Transformation (NT) in urban North America are built on.

What Cause are you passionate about? Why not consider joining and help to lift communities out of cycles of poverty and disease and facilitating people to faith and maturity in Christ?