Integral mission

In May of 2011, I was meeting with the leadership team of OM Near East. We were discussing the situation in the area – which was clearly heading towards all-out civil war – and we agreed quite clearly that we were not going to get involved in relief work. We had teams in the region with strong discipling relationships with some local believers, and we were working on training and equipping – and working alongside – some of those believers in church planting initiatives. Getting involved in relief would be a distraction from that, and besides, previous experience reminded us big relief efforts can become never-ending and all consuming. We just weren’t going to get involved.

Within a year we were running a large relief project serving both locals and those in the neighbouring countries.

Why this dramatic change in our thinking and actions? Well, we had good relationships with a number of local believers and churches, and the biggest thing happening in their lives was the war. They had to respond to the needs around them. Could we have really said, ‘we’ll help with discipleship training, but about the biggest thing happening in your life right now, we won’t get involved’? What kind of gospel would we have been proclaiming or demonstrating? So, we got involved, working in partnership with local believers and churches who had a passion for their community and for the communities around them.  

Being different

We sought to work together with certain distinctives, however. In the Near East you help your own people: Sunni help Sunni, Shi’ite help Shi’ite, Catholics help Catholics, Evangelicals help Evangelicals. We were set on being different, because the gospel is different.

Together we designed relief projects with different distinctives, and we wanted to be truly holistic. As we designed and regularly reviewed the projects, we asked a number of questions: Are we providing relief where it is most needed? Are the projects being run with transparency? Is access to relief being provided according to need and regardless of religious affiliation or spiritual openness? Are our projects providing opportunities for local, Christian-background believers to engage with people of other religious backgrounds? Do people have the opportunity to hear the gospel – in its fullest sense – through our projects? Do those that are spiritually open have an opportunity to join a Bible study (or some other follow-up possibility) which could potentially lead to them being part of a new community of believers?

There were many other questions we asked. We felt that if the project design and implementation was not integrated in this way, our work would not be holistic, and it would not be a demonstration and proclamation of the gospel. That the assistance was given according to need and regardless of someone’s spiritual openness, and that there was a clear pathway between the project and potentially vibrant local fellowships of Jesus followers was fundamental. In fact, if that were not the case, we believed that we would be doing a disservice to those we were seeking to serve and to the gospel itself.

Where we see the mission

I am really encouraged that we as OM are increasingly wrestling with what ‘integral’ or ‘holistic’ ministry means in the light of our mission statement. I think it is a bit of an untold and unknown story in OM that where we are seeing fruit, the context is often a holistic approach. I believe this is true in the majority of the cases. That may include development projects in Central Asia, sports coaching and self-help groups in Africa, relief projects in Europe and the Near East, or simple community engagement in a whole range of other ways – and there are often many advantages in simple community engagement over big projects.

We need to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel and live it out vibrantly in our own lives among least-reached peoples and communities. Our prayer is that the new communities of Jesus followers that emerge will themselves be a witness to the transforming power of the gospel, making a tangible and sustainable difference in their societies. 

Stephan Bauer* presently serves as the Associate International Director for Field Ministries and says it is an exciting (and daunting) time to be involved in this kind of leadership. 

*name changed for security

Share this Resource

Leave a Reply

You might also like:

Fundraiser International    Go & Live    September 2022Do you have a heart for fundraising for God’s Kingdom? MediaWorks is looking for a Fundraiser to ensure we have the resources needed to run media ministry. As you support our work on Media Strategy, Creation and Distribution, you are making it possible to produce media that share God’s love with the least reached in their heart languages.
Full Details
International Management Accountant International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleThe role exists to support all levels of leadership to make excellent financial decisions to support OM’s ministry of seeing Vibrant Communities of Jesus Followers among the least reached. 

The goal is to provide up to date, complete and easy to use Finance reports for Global and Field leadership.

Full Details
Personal Assistant for AIDSLink Director International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOur AIDSLink vision is to see hope restored in individuals and communities, as we work together to overcome the challenges of HIV and AIDS. Our AIDSLink Director is looking for a detail-oriented individual who is gifted in administration to help ensure meetings, programs and the AIDSLink office operate efficiently. If this sounds like you, consider using your skills and talents to ensure every facet of this ministry is accomplished with completeness and attention to detail.
Full Details
People Care International    Go & Live    September 2022MediaWorks is looking for a People Care worker to join our media ministry. As you support a creative team, including graphic designers, software engineers and video editors, you are making it possible to produce Christian media in the heart-languages of the least reached around the world.
Full Details
Graphic design / Illustration or Motion Graphics International    Go & Live    January 2023Do you have skills in graphic design, animation, user interface layout or illustrations? Use your creativity and skills to help share God’s love with least reached people groups through high-quality print and digital media in different languages.
Full Details
International Finance Training Manager International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleWe have an urgent need for a person with broad training skills. It would be great if you have knowledge of accounting systems but this is not essential.  Someone who is passionate about finance, training and seeing people become followers of Jesus. In this key role, you will help OM around the world impact the kingdom of God by providing accountability for financial transactions and reporting. Join us and use your skills for God's glory.
Full Details
Catalytic Ministries Area Chief Finance Officer International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleWe’re looking for a person of integrity who is passionate about finance and about seeing people become followers of Jesus. In this key role, you will help OM’s Catalytic Ministries around the world impact the kingdom of God by providing accountability for financial transactions and reporting. Join us and use your skills for God's glory.
Full Details
Bookkeeper International    Go & Live    January 2023MediaWorks is looking for a bookkeeper to process the team’s financial transactions to ensure the smooth running and continuation of their media ministry. As you work in finance, you are releasing a team of graphic designers, software developers and content editors to produce and distribute media that share God’s love with the least reached in their heart languages.
Full Details
B4T Developer International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAre you an experienced business owner or manager? Would you like to use your business skills, experience and contacts to build entrepreneurs?  Join us as a B4T Developer. You will work to grow Kingdom Businesses in some of the most needy parts of the world. Select entrepreneurs, train them in business skills, bring in investors; it is a tough job and not for the faint hearted. Our vision is to see Kingdom Business fulfill its vital role in the Great Commission.
Full Details
Storyteller and Scriptwriter International    Go & Live    September 2022MediaWorks is looking for a Storyteller and Scriptwriter to strengthen their team. Working together with our graphic designers, software developers and content editors, you will play a vital role in creating media that share God’s love with the least reached in their heart languages.
Full Details
IT support person International    Go & Live    September 2022MediaWorks is looking for an on-site IT support person to ensure the smooth running of their print and digital media ministry’s infrastructure. As you support a creative team of graphic designers, software developers and eBook programmers, you are making it possible to produce Christian media in the heart-languages of the least reached around the world.
Full Details
Community Project Manager International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAre you experienced in business training and coaching? Do you have community development experience? Can you encourage people as they start a business and form follow-up groups? These groups support and encourage each other and work together toward solutions to uplift the community economically. OM’s Micro enterprise business ministry is passionate about helping people transform, uplift and empower their communities through business. Help us renew hope and see lasting change in peoples’ lives.
Full Details