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Integral Mission

Integral Mission

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Objective One: Integral Mission

To motivate and equip a global community of Christians to embrace and practice integral mission.

The term integral mission comes from the Spanish ‘misión integral’, which is a commonly used term in Latin America for what others may describe as holistic transformation.

A number of phrases have been used to attempt to capture and summarise the model of mission expressed throughout the Bible, each with their valued strengths and limiting connotations, for example:

  • holistic mission
  • holistic development
  • transformation
  • good news to the poor
  • Christian development
  • holistic diaconate
  • mission integral
  • holistic transformation
  • integral mission

As a global network, Micah Network needed to decide on a phrase and vocabulary that broadly covers all these near alternatives so as to facilitate a shared understanding and thus avoid confusion and distraction from our shared commitment to promote the full intent expressed in the whole Gospel. We have therefore suggested the term integral mission, not to impose it in any way on member organisations or indeed within the global Christian community but just as a matter of practicality to help us focus on the outworking of mission rather than loose time in terminology discussions.

Our founding verse from Micah 6:8 underpins a proactive engagement, which inspires us to respond:

"What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Our definition of integral mission is taken from a consultation[1] held in Oxford, United Kingdom, in September 2001, which resulted in The Micah Declaration on Integral Mission being produced. The introductory extract outlines the summarised definition of integral mission as follows:

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.

See the full Micah Declaration on Integral Mission here.

[1] 140 Christian leaders, theologians and aid practitioners from 50 countries attended this consultation which was held under the auspices of the Micah Network.