Why religious groups ought to focus on holistic ministry

Kigezi Diocese Bishop Gaddie Akanjuna(2ndLeft) with Christians from Rukiga District are taken through fertiliser making skills at Excel Hort Consult agribusiness incubation hub in Mbarara City. Photo | Rajab Mukombozi .

What you need to know:

  • Whereas these believers may want to remain devout they find themselves in challenging situations. But a holistic ministry can bring spiritual and physical healing. Such ministry ensures that believers can worship and stay committed because their lives will be rich both spiritually and physically that desires for their whole existence.

People go to places of worship year in, year out but sometimes when they seem stuck with the same problems such as diseases and poverty they feel discouraged. This could get their faith stunted.

Whereas these believers may want to remain devout they find themselves in challenging situations. But a holistic ministry can bring spiritual and physical healing. Such ministry ensures that believers can worship and stay committed because their lives will be rich both spiritually and physically that desires for their whole existence.

Amos Balinda, a religious scholar, notes that spiritual renewal without socioeconomic benefits is almost impossible.

“People move from church to church or religious sect to another partly because they do not see any socioeconomic growth in their lives. Even if a believer is devout, they will not remain the same when their family has no food, school fees and cannot foot medical bills,” notes Balinda.

Fleecing the flock

He notes that it is unfortunate that some religions instead of having projects and sensitising believers on economic empowerment projects, they instead try to take even the little earnings they have through numerous demands in form of offerings and thanksgiving among things.

“An economically empowered community is willing to support the gospel but if you leave them in poverty and instead want to take the little they have, you will be a burden to them, they will leave your church and this hinders the spread of the gospel,” adds Balinda.

He says religious institutions ought to help in sensitising community members to start income-generating projects such as farming, business and other practical skills including carpentry, art and crafts and value addition.

Balinda explains that the strength of spreading the gospel is when that gospel meets a person’s need in totality that is spiritual, social and economic aspects.

Transform communities

During his recent pastoral visits to Ankole Diocese in August,  Church of Uganda Archbishop Dr Stephen Kazimba Mugalu, also noted that preaching to the poor and lacking people hinders the gospel.

“Jesus came so that we should have life in abundance but this cannot be possible when we preach to poor and lacking people. My mission now is to ensure that every diocese has projects that bring in money, but also see these projects trickle down to communities and transform Christians socially and economically,” said Archbishop Mugalu.

 Ankole Diocese Bishop Rt Rev Fred Mwesigwa notes that preaching without care and concern over people’s real life concerns at times leaves the gospel empty.

“A church that continues to beg Christians becomes a burden and hinders the gospel, we started these church income generating projects but also household income generating projects so as to grow the church and its people holistically,” said Bishop Mwesigwa.

Meanwhile, Kigezi Diocese Bishop Gaddie Akanjuna during his visit to Excel Hort Consult Agribusiness Incubation Hub together with Christians from Rukiga District, said the church will partly be held responsible if it does not transform its people and keep in poverty.

“As a church we have an important role to play in the socioeconomic transformation of God’s people, we will be partly held responsible if we neglect this cause out of poverty. We will be put to task by God for keeping his people in poverty and that is why as a diocese we have prioritised household and community transformation,” said Bishop Akanjuna.

Preach to the empowered

He notes that Christians need spiritual growth but also social and economic empowerment to live their full potential.

“The church has to be an institution that makes a difference in people’s lives. You cannot preach the gospel to the hungry, poor people and you expect them to grow spiritually,” added Bishop Akanjuna.

Quick notes

Rev. Carl Wesley Anderson (Evangelist) suggests three possible applications to becoming a modern “Green Martyr”. 1. Cultivating a lifestyle of radical commitment to God in prayer. 2. daily reading and meditating on scripture. 3. Finding a spot in your home to demit to daily e, in a believer.

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