The following Micah Declaration captures a sense of the “integral mission” at the heart of the gospel. It’s another example of how the evangelical church is trying to express the need for both passionate proclamation and compassionate demonstration of the gospel. As an organization committed to building movements everywhere, we’re faced with the challenges of bridging and blending our organizational mission and Christian responsibility. Statements like this help us wrestle with what we often separate–evangelism and social action. Instead of “either-or”, I think its helpful to hold both ideas in the mind at once. As we do so, we can move toward a synthesis that contains elements of both and improves them both. (Similarly, it seems worthwhile to let the apparently opposable ideas of “going after leaders vs serving the marginalized” ferment in the mind together as well. Just a thot.) — jay
Integral mission or holistic transformation is the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel. It is not simply that evangelism and social involvement are to be done alongside each other. Rather, in integral mission our proclamation has social consequences as we call people to love and repentance in all areas of life. And our social involvement has evangelistic consequences as we bear witness to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ. If we ignore the world we betray the word of God which sends us out to serve the world. If we ignore the word of God we have nothing to bring to the world. Justice and justification by faith, worship and political action, the spiritual and the material, personal change and structural change belong together. As in the life of Jesus, being, doing and saying are at the heart of our integral task.
We call one another back to the centrality of Jesus Christ. His life of sacrificial service is the pattern for Christian discipleship. In his life and through his death Jesus modelled identification with the poor and inclusion of the other. On the cross God shows us how seriously he takes justice, reconciling both rich and poor to himself as he meets the demands of his justice. We serve by the power of the risen Lord through the Spirit as we journey with those who are poor, finding our hope in the subjection of all things under Christ and the final defeat of evil. We confess that all too often we have failed to live a life worthy of this gospel.
The grace of God is the heartbeat of integral mission. As recipients of undeserved love we are to show grace, generosity and inclusiveness. Grace redefines justice as not merely honouring a contract, but helping the disadvantaged.
Integral Mission with the Poor and Marginalised
The poor like everyone else bear the image of the Creator. They have knowledge, abilities and resources. Treating the poor with respect means enabling poor people to be the architects of change in their communities, rather than imposing solutions upon them. Working with those living in poverty involves building relationships that lead to mutual change.