Integral mission can be defined as the task of bringing the whole of life under the lordship of Jesus Christ,and includes the affirmation that there is no biblical dichotomy between evangelistic and social responsibility. It was further defined at the 2001 meeting of the Micah Network in Oxford as ‘the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel’, emphasizing that it is not simply the issue of evangelism and social involvement being done alongside each other but rather that ‘our proclamation has social consequences as we call people to love and repentance in all areas of life’ and that ‘our social involvement has evangelistic consequences as we bear witness to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ’.
The mission of God is ‘to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven’ (Col 1:20), and our part is crossing geographic, cultural, politic, economic, and social barriers ‘with the intention of transforming human life in all its dimensions, according to God’s purpose, and of enabling human beings to enjoy the abundant life that God wants to give to them and that Jesus Christ came to share with them’. Thus issues of community development and health, HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene), relief, and food security figure prominently in the sphere of integral mission. Theologically understood, integral mission is a concern for every issue network that is part of the Lausanne Movement.
We embrace the witness of the whole Bible, as it shows us God’s desire both for systemic economic justice and for personal compassion, respect and generosity towards the poor and needy. We rejoice that this extensive biblical teaching has become more integrated into our mission strategy and practice, as it was for the early Church and the Apostle Paul. The Cape Town Commitment II-B-3
The Lausanne Integral Mission issue network exists to:
- Be a voice to guide the church in developing theological and philosophical underpinnings for integral mission.
- Offer ourselves as a resource for others seeking to practice integral mission.
- Advocate that the church fulfill the calling to integral mission through deed and proclamation.
- Gather and make resources, models, and standards available on the Integral Mission issue network webpage.
- Develop action plans in response to section II.B.3, ‘Christ’s Peace for the Poor and Oppressed’, of The Cape Town Commitment.
Other initiatives from our network include publications on integral mission, regional workshops on understanding and initiating integral mission, and developing regional and national networks.