Holistic Ministry Defined
Breakaway Outreach is committed to holistic ministry approaches. That is, a ministry approach that acknowledges and seeks to develop the whole potential of kids and their families. Those who practice holistic ministry seek to develop kids not just spiritually, but also emotionally, academically, physically, and socially.
In the big picture of eternity, Jesus is the most important aspect of a child’s life. But in the immediate, smaller picture of the here and now, things like health, nutrition, clothing, physical needs, social resilience, emotional strength, friendship, and community support are all very significant as well. And how we respond to a child’s holistic need in the smaller picture is often instrumental in how their worldview gets shaped concerning the bigger picture of eternity.
Love is the very core of the Gospel message (John 3:16, John 15:13) and compassion and generosity is how that love gets fleshed out in our lives (1 John 3:17). Meeting holistic needs is primarily the way that Jesus built relational bridges in order to respond to the deepest spiritual needs during His earthly ministry. If we want to demonstrate the power of God’s love to a spiritually destitute world, we would do well to begin by meeting our community’s most practical needs. This is the ministry of word and deed, and what we would define as holistic ministry.
The world suffers from both physical and spiritual hunger. Our ministry objective is to satisfy those hungers by offering the bread of loaf along with the Bread of Life. We believe that the Kingdom of God redemptively addresses every question concerning human need, and so we are committed to respond holistically to the needs of [humanity] with the compassion and methodology of Jesus’ ministry. Through the lens of that missiology, we seek to be agents of Christ’s ministry of reconciliation which loves people in word and deed.
God himself invaded our world incarnationally and became human in order to identify and relate to us as weak, sinful creatures. In the same way, God sends us to minister by identifying, and coming alongside in relationship with those to whom we are ministering. It is God’s people fleshing out the truth of the Gospel in relationship with others. As recorded in the Gospel of John 20:21, Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me, so send I you.” It is by being in relationship, by sensing and responding to the needs and issues of individuals, by being agents of change within the lives of individuals, and communities, that we are sent.
Holistic ministry is the church’s bold calling to share the Good News of God’s salvation through word and deed.
The whole gospel brings salvation in its fullest sense—forgiveness of sins, inner conversion of individuals in regeneration and sanctification, physical and emotional healing, the transformation of social and economic relationships, reconciliation and peace overcoming sinful human divisions, and the ultimate triumph of Christ over the forces of evil on a cosmic scale.
Holistic ministry views persons through God’s eyes, as body-soul wholes created to live in wholesome community. Thus the church ministers to every dimension of human need, and seeks wholeness at every level of society—individuals, families, communities, nations, and the global human family. Holistic ministry values every person as a unique and marvelous creation, bought by Christ, destined for eternity. Because of the Spirit’s power to make all things new, a transformational perspective sees persons in terms of their potential rather than their problems.
Holistic ministry breaks down the barriers between those serving and those being served.
Ministry does not feature perfect people who have it all together, reaching out to miserable poor sinners. Rather, we recognize that we are all on a journey of transformation together, “from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18). Each of us has contributed to the pain and suffering and decay in the world. We thus serve with a posture of gratitude and humility, acknowledging our own brokenness before the cross. Ministering Christ’s wholeness to others is part of what makes us whole.
By living out the whole gospel, holistic ministry overcomes artificial divisions — between social action and evangelism, between ministering to individuals and seeking social justice, between an emphasis on discipleship and a passion for outreach.
Holistic ministry entails more than sponsoring a program here and there. It goes beyond short-term, relief-oriented aid. Holistic ministry in our ministries means modeling God’s concern for the total well-being of persons and communities. It means an incarnational lifestyle of integrity, compassion, and invitation. It means sharing good news both for this life and for the life after death.
It means loving neighbors both far and near with the same joyous abandon that Jesus displayed, especially those who are most needy and least lovable.
The source of holistic ministry is God’s redeeming love and transformational power. This makes us bold in sharing God’s glorious salvation through word and deed. Not that our ministries presume to “save” others or to “fix” the world! But as Jesus told His followers, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21).
As the Father desires that all should have abundant life, we too should help others realize their potential for living as God intended. As the Father urges that “justice roll down like waters” (Amos 5:24), we too must work toward creating the kind of society that pleases God. As God incarnate in Christ appealed to all to receive the Good News, our work and witness offers an invitation to others: “See what love God has for the world! Come, turn to God and be made whole. Come, join with our community of faith as we follow Christ in holistic mission.”