Holistic Mission

In community development work, is our goal solely to spread the message of Christ or also to address the needs of the people we are serving? Some people have been criticised for combining evangelism with humanitarian efforts, as this can create “rice” Christians. People in need sometimes claim to be “Christian” to get daily food for their family. When I was helping a minority group in China, I was asked by a foreign friend who taught English at a University there to follow up on two local students as he was returning home. He claimed that they had converted to our faith. When I attempted to meet up with them, they avoided me. I discovered later that their true motive for claiming to believe in the gospel was to get my friend to spend more time with them to help them to practise and improve their English skills.

Any act of community service on our part, such as providing aid, should never be dependent on the faith of the beneficiary or his exposure to the gospel. We should offer our assistance unconditionally with love, like Jesus did when he showed love without any condition (John 13:34-35). This type of love will show the world that we are followers of Christ.

Besides preventing deaths, aid relief also prevents people from resorting to eating trash or consuming contaminated water and offers a glimmer of hope to others.

I was thrilled to learn that individuals in the community were collaborating to transform lives, provide ongoing assistance and address both physical and spiritual needs. The people of God are commissioned to provide help, guidance and inspire hope through prayer, playing a crucial role in displaying kingdom principles. People will acknowledge that the assistance they receive ultimately originates from God and will desire to learn more about Him and honour Him. Hopefully, they will eventually be able to share both physically and spiritually within their community.

Caleb Ang