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A Holistic Approach in Ministry


In response to a question about what the greatest commandment is, Jesus said to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mk. 12:30).  He created us with a body, mind, soul, and heart.  We are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” knitted and woven together when we were made by Him (Ps. 139:13-14).

Some Implications for Ministry when Taking a Holistic Approach

  1. God wants to use all of who we are when we serve.  Combining all these parts is a guide to how we could best serve based on His design of our lives.  It’s what we can call our ministry profile.
  1. God wants us to care about the whole person in those we serve.  Remember the second greatest commandment?  We are to love others as we love ourselves (Mk. 12:31).  Just as we attend to the whole of who we are, so we should care for the whole person of those whom we serve.  As a church we can get caught up in ministering to the spirit, neglecting other areas of people’s lives..

2 Replies to “A Holistic Approach in Ministry”

  1. I would like to start a Christian Center that caters to the whole person. Though I am a Pastor I am not looking to start a church but a place where people can go that is beyond the walls of the church and able to meet spiritual, social, emotional and physical needs. I hope to have an actual place to House this next year but not sure how to operate it. Any thoughts?

    • Hello Dr. Sharon Smith. Jesus ministered to the whole person so something like you mentioned follows His heart! Prayer obviously should infiltrate all you do as God promised to direct our paths as we trust in Him (Prov. 3:5-6). As you pray, consider doing a needs assessment of sorts. Who are the people you hope to serve? What are their real needs, not just felt needs? Then brainstorm ideas of how to best reach those needs. Brainstorming works best with more than one person so perhaps you can find others to help you in this process. Don’t worry about if the ideas are feasible. Just list them and lay them out before the Lord. To start you may find that He’ll direct your path toward just one or two of the ideas, or maybe to an idea that just needs to be revamped to work. Proverbs 27:23 says, “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herd.” It was referring to literal sheep but the principle can apply to us as well. If you let programming grow out of need, your ministry will be of greatest benefit to the people you serve.

      Of course, you’ll also need to consider issues like: Logistics and legalities: If you haven’t already looked into state and/or local requirements, that definitely is something you need to do. Depending on where the actual place is, there could be zoning issues, etc. You may need to submit a proposal for approval. — And, Finances: If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to determine the source of funding. Will you set it up as a non-profit and take donations and raise support? You’ll need to become fully aware of all the regulations that go with that. If you bathe all of these details in prayer as well, you might be surprised at what opens up before you.

      This response undoubtedly will not answer all of your questions but does provide a starting point for you. It could be beneficial to network with others who are doing something similar. God says it’s wise to seek counsel (Prov. 12:15; 15:22). But, in the end the best way to operate the center is to tailor it to the specific needs and situation there, as God leads, not simply to replicate what someone else is doing.

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