I recently attended the International Wholistic Missions Conference in Phoenix, AZ. I was asked to give a breakout session in which I shared some ideas we have developed at GO InterNational about training short-term mission teams for cross-cultural ministry. I was also able to interact with missionaries from many different agencies who are committed to a wholistic approach to missions. The conference was sponsored by the Global CHE Network, a network for missionaries and agencies utilizing Community Health Evangelism.
What is wholistic missions? First of all, it is not a misspelling. It is an intentional spelling, reflecting the idea from the scriptures that Jesus ministered to the whole person and expects his disciples to do the same. There are so many examples in the scriptures of Jesus ministering to the whole person. He often addressed a physical problem such as sickness or hunger at the same time he was addressing a spiritual need.
In the past, there was a wall between those who focused on social action in their ministry and those who focused on proclaiming the good news. Wholistic ministry an approach that focuses on proclamation of the gospel and meeting physical needs such as needs for health care, food and clean water. It involves obedience to both the Great Commission (making disciples in all nations) and the Great Commandment (loving our neighbor as ourself). GO interNational is committed to wholistic missions. Our teams and ministries are unashamedly evangelical, sharing the gospel at every opportunity and training local pastors and leaders for effective disciple-making. However, through our partners, we meet many needs in the communities where we serve. Some of our partners are focused on ministry to children in crisis, others to feeding programs, some to health ministries and Community Health Evangelism, others to education and vocational training.
Colossians 1:19-20 remind us that Jesus came to reconcile to himself ALL things. Wholistic missions tries to minister in a way that whole persons are transformed though God’s power and spirit by this truth. Please continue to pray for us and consider joining a team or supporting our ministry to share this message with the world.