Remember Micah 6:8? “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” With that in mind, we now look at how the perspective of this verse shapes our ministry as either a church or a Christian organization. We often assume that God expects us to be concerned about connecting people with Jesus as well as meeting their physical needs. However, in Scripture, we do not see one as primary, but instead, we are given a call to engage in both. In the Old Testament, we see Israel’s relationship with God being evaluated in terms of their worship and obedience, how they treated those in need, and how they practiced justice. In the New Testament, where God’s mission is entrusted to the disciples of Jesus, we hear a consistent message of bringing the word and doing the deed. The two great commandments that Jesus identifies are to love God and to love the neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40). Would it not make sense to see that love for neighbor includes our concern for their spiritual, relational, and physical needs?
As we look at the practical side of holistic ministry, we also need to identify how broadly it can be defined. Up to this point, we have referred to it as combining word and deed ministry. It would seem that a broad definition of deed would include our care for all areas of life that affect a person’s ability to achieve the fullness God intends for all people—marriage and family issues, physical and psychological health, meaningful work, good community within the church and neighborhood, access to adequate food, education, income, and housing. This is not to say that every church or organization has to address all of these issues, but the issues are part of kingdom concerns and affect all those created in the image of God.