Bringing a Holistic Ministry to Oral Cultures

By October 8, 2019

Int’l (MNN) – Throughout Scripture, God offers both physical and spiritual healing for humankind. Following Christ’s pattern, Spoken Worldwide offers truth to unreached people groups using a holistic approach to ministry.

Taking a Different Approach

Almost two-thirds of the global population around the world come from an oral culture. Yet, many advancements in fields such as agriculture or medicine are written down, making them nearly inaccessible for oral-driven cultures.

Meeting the physical and spiritual needs of unreached peoples in oral cultures means finding ways to share critical information. Spoken Worldwide uses dramas, songs, and stories to bring written information to life.

When they first interact with a new community, Spoken Worldwide asks local leaders what issues frustrate their people. Rather than focusing on areas they assume are needs p, Spoken Worldwide finds out what a community actually struggles with. Answers vary from clean water or sanitation to agricultural or medical help.

(Photo courtesy of Spoken Worldwide)

Next, Spoken Worldwide finds a partner. Ed Weaver, CEO of Spoken Worldwide, says, “We are not subject matter experts on all of these things, b. But what we can do is partner with other organizations that have certifiable, verified information, government-approved that allows us to basically convert that into a story or a song or a drama and put that on a digital audio player.”

When the practical messages reach people, they often have questions about the motivations of the messengers. This opens doors for talking about Christ.

“Tell Us About Your God” 

This approach first impacted Weaver years ago through a radio drama on basic health and hygiene in Nepal. T4 Global (now Spoken Worldwide) had partnered with a local NGO to produce the drama series. They loaded the program was loaded on MP3 players for distribution.

Weaver shares that at the time, it was common medical practice in some areas of Nepal for a person suffering from diarrhea to stop drinking water. Following this advice, many people would become dehydrated and die.

Through a radio program that focused on basic health concepts, some Christians were able to share that drinking water was actually necessary for healthy recovery.

Weaver recalls, “The non-believers in these unreached people groups came up to the Christians and they said, ‘You saved our lives. We didn’t know you Christians actually loved us. We thought you wanted to convert us.’”

Holistic ministry had opened a door for help in the community. Eventually, it even led people to ask questions of faith.

“And they said, ‘Look. You Christians, if your God tells you to do this for us who don’t like you, don’t love you, don’t appreciate you, then we want to know who your God is. Please tell us about your God.”

God-given compassion for physical needs helped open the door for ministry then and it still does today.

An Example: Teach to Transform

(Photo courtesy of Spoken Worldwide)

Spoken Worldwide recently partnered with Teach to Transform to help teach Kenyan students practical medical skills. Spoken Worldwide helped transform the typical written curriculum into oral-based sessions for practicality. At the end of the course, students showed a 100% increase in retention over students who had taken the original course.

The results proved the system astonishingly effective, but it’s not just about medicine; Weaver explains that their methods really do come back to a holistic approach to ministry. Remembering a course on medical aid is helpful for a community, but what is really transformative is the work of Christ.

“We as an organization have said, look we will always include it [community development], but we’re never going to leave the Gospel out,” Weaver says. “We’re never going to take Biblical information away and prioritize community development over the Gospel. And I think that’s a real anchor point for us that makes a difference in how we do ministry.”

Get Involved

Organizations that take a holistic approach to ministry are often spread thin. Please pray that leaders of Spoken Worldwide would have wisdom as they decide what programs to undertake. Ask God to help them see needs clearly and effectively discern ways to offer help and hope to unreached peoples.

If you want to learn more about the ministries of Spoken Worldwide or help support them financially, click here.


Header photo courtesy of Spoken Worldwide.

Leave a Reply

Help us get the word out: