The following is an excerpt from the “Holisitic Mission Occassional Paper No. 33″ of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (2004):
“It is an unquestionable biblical truth that God has made an unbreakable link between faith in Himself and the outworking of that faith in seeing that justice is done to the poor and oppressed. Not surprisingly, therefore, the poor figure prominently in any discussion of holistic mission. The pursuit of justice for the poor is not the whole of holistic mission but it is a key component…Biblically justice is defined by the inclusivity of the God who defends the cause of the orphan, widow and immigrant.
Holistic mission is mission oriented towards the satisfaction of basic human needs, including the need of God, but also the need of food, love, housing, clothes, physical and mental health and a sense of human dignity. Furthermore, this approach takes into account that people are spiritual, social and bodily beings, made to live in relationship with God, with their neighbours and with God’s creation. Consequently, it presupposes that it is not enough to take care of the spiritual wellbeing of an individual without any regard for his or her personal relationships and position in society and in the world.
As Jesus saw it, love for God is inseparable from love for neighbour (Matthew 22:40). To talk about ‘holistic mission,’ therefore, is to talk about mission oriented towards the formation of God-fearing persons who see themselves as stewards of creation and do not live for themselves but for others; persons who are willing to fulfil their God-given vocation in the world and to receive and to give love; persons who ‘hunger and thirst for justice’ and who are ‘peacemakers’ (Matthew 5:6, 9).
Churches (and God’s people) should seek the Kingdom of God and therefore envision the transformation of their communities in all aspects of life. Social action alone is not sufficient to effect justice; the guilt, power and consequences of sin also need to be dealt with through the holistic gospel of Christ. Transformation can not be achieved by strategies and plans only (mere change on the outside), but it needs to be complemented by God’s work in human hearts (change from the inside outwards). It (holistic mission) is a vision that sees all people at the table of life with “enough to eat, decent work and wages, education for their children, adequate healthcare and housing, and most of all, hope for the future.”