Jesus Met the Physical Needs of the Poor
When Jesus walked the Earth and began his ministry, it was very tangible. It was a “holistic ministry,” so to speak. He laid hands on people; some were blind or crippled, and others faced physical challenges, including death. Most of the people who came to Jesus did so because they had a physical need.
While praying for healing, Jesus never stopped his mission of preaching about the coming kingdom of Heaven, or eternity with God.
I don’t think we are too different from the same being true today. People, especially the poor, want to be healed and released from physical suffering, from hunger, or from disease. Still, they also want to know about how to have a relationship with God.
An Early Focus on Evangelism
When my father first began his ministry in the 1950s, he was focused on evangelism and discipleship. At Bright Hope, we now call this focus, “Hope for Eternity.”
But when working with the poor, he couldn’t ignore the massive physical needs they had. In Haiti, they have a saying, “hungry bellies have no ears.” If a hungry person doesn’t have food to eat, they might struggle to listen and consider the Gospel message. So, just as Jesus met the physical needs of the poor, we believe that we should do likewise. The type of physical aid we give is what we call “Hope for Today.”
1990’s Brought Hope for Tomorrow
Things really clicked into place in the 90’s as Bright Hope added a focus on “Hope for Tomorrow,” which helps those living in poverty to earn a livable wage and lift themselves out of poverty.
As we have blended these focuses into a philosophy we now call “Hope for Today, Tomorrow and Eternity,” we have witnessed the power of combining all three.
Effectively Serving the Poor Has to be a Holistic Ministry
I will never forget the Bosnian woman who came up to me while I was visiting a church. We were there to provide food, help with jobs, and share the Gospel with war refugees. She was telling me how the church was meeting her needs so well and sacrificially. Not only were her nutritional needs being met, but she had hope of starting a new life and finding a permanent job. This woman wasn’t yet a believer in Christ, but described the church ministry as “a Spring that has come into my soul.”
Hope for Today, Tomorrow, and Eternity
Holistic ministry, caring for the needs of the whole person, is what Bright Hope focuses on now. We deliver all our help through a strategy of Hope for Today, Tomorrow, and Eternity. And it is working–producing amazing fruit in city slums and remote villages around the world.
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