Session 2 – Holistic Change
Session 2 – Holistic Change
Using Luke 4:16-21 as a key text, this session covers the scope of transformation that Jesus came to bring and the practical implications for us as we seek to engage in development.

Key Text: Luke 4:16-21

Prepare: print out copies of River Crossing

Feedback from Act of Love

Ask for feedback about the actions anyone took for their Act of Love.

Activity: The Evangelist Role Play

Three volunteers perform the drama that they have prepared.

Questions to discuss:

Bible study: Good News to the Poor (Luke 4:16-21)

Pray for God’s Spirit to bring this passage to life and enable us to engage emotionally as we are reading it.

Questions to discuss:

Key point: we cannot love God without loving one another. Jesus always cared for people’s spiritual and physical needs and we must do likewise.

Principles in Practice: Malawi

Case study: Pastor Pilingu has support his community to transform their lives. They have set up village savings and loans groups, planted trees and learned to farm in a way that is more resilient to climate change. They have organised care for the orphaned children and the elderly. For example, the church has helped the grandchildren of 80 vulnerable, elderly inhabitants to set up their own businesses.  The income generated allows them to care for their grandparents and builds their self-reliance. Even with 5 children of his own, Pastor Pilingu constantly seeks new ways to serve those around him. “If any pastor takes [the Bible’s words about social justice] seriously and shares it with his church, it will not be long until there is no one poor left there.”

This is what one elderly man said about him: “In the past, I had nothing, I could do nothing. I have tried to do odd jobs, but it was very hard. As you can see, I’m so old and weak… When the pastor came to me, it was like God breaking in. Without this support, my situation would be terrible. I thank God for the pastor. I can see God’s hand in this. The pastor is like my son – he is caring for me.”(

Principles in Practice: UK

Peter, Consultant Clinical Psychologist: “People are physical, psychological, social and spiritual beings. These levels or aspects of existence are interrelated – seeing change in one level will likely see change in another. For example, the psychological overlaps with the social (where people share their beliefs to make social change), the physical overlaps with the psychological (as in neuropsychology brain behaviour relationships) etc. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where only one level changes and the other doesn’t.”

Emily, Social Worker: “As a children’s social worker, I spend a lot of my time thinking about the impact of childhood trauma and neglect on attachment and development. The parents and children that I work with have often experienced significant grief, loss and anxiety, usually in a context of secrecy and fear. I have found that effectively supporting them with some of the resulting behaviours is near impossible unless a holistic approach is used. For example, many parents that I work with misuse alcohol or drugs. This is often a copying strategy, which they have adopted in order to survive. Supporting them to quit is not effective unless paired with some form of intervention into their mental health, spiritual wellbeing and / or physical health.”

Act of love

During the week, ask God to show you where you can respond to the need of a neighbour or someone else in your community, whether emotional, spiritual or physical. Pray for one another to be aware of God highlighting people and their real needs.

Preparation for next week: ask for 4 volunteers to act out a short mime, ‘The River Crossing’, and give each a copy of the instructions.