Cooperative

Sari-Sari

Above is the “store” of Divine Love Family Savings Cooperative. In truth, it is not really a store, in the normal sense. The cooperative pools its money and volume purchases items its members use regularly. Then members of the cooperative pay a very slight surcharge (between half a peso and two pesos, depending on the item) to get the products.

Why is this a good idea (and obviously not an idea that we ourselves invented)? The members win in two ways. First, they are able to get products they need cheaper than they could get them at a normal supermarket or sari-sari store. This saves them money.  Second, it helps them build savings. The members pay a slight surcharge… but in fact, they are paying themselves. Therefore, every time they purchase, they build up their savings in the cooperative.

The savings they develop within the cooperative group can be used to draw from as a loan. If they get a loan “on the street” they often pay interest at rates close in the vicinity of 15% a month! Taking a loan from the cooperative is like taking a loan from one’s 401k (for those who are familiar with them). They are taking a loan from themselves, so the modest interest charged actually is paid back to themselves.

Members of the cooperative come to the meetings for business, training, and Bible study. We believe this integration leads to a gradual transformation with spiritual and economic empowerment.

Wholistic Spiritual Growth?

What is wholistic spiritual growth? Consider I John 3:18.

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Let’s break it down into sections:

Dear children, (This is the spiritually immature who need to grow spiritually)

Let us not

Love (Heart, devotion)

with words or tongue,

but with

actions (Hands, service)

and in

truth. (Head, Biblical truth)

We tend to narrowly define spiritual growth. Some emphasize biblical (head) knowledge. Some emphasize emotions or devotion (heart) to God. Some emphasize our Christian service (hands) for God. Yet clearly, missing any component will lead to spiritual bankruptcy.

We need to integrate Biblical Training, Devotion to God, and Christian Service from day one in any new follower of Christ.

Thoughts on “Wholism”

“Wholism” is a term used by some in Christian ministry to describe the focus on the whole person or the whole community. Some people spell it “Holism”. However, even though “wholism” and “holism” theoretically are the same word, people often use them differently. The usage of “wholism” comes closer to how we wish to use it.

Wholism places itself in opposition to “Dualism”. Dualism tends to see the world in terms of opposing concepts with no real middle. In ministry, dualism shows itself in spiritual ministries versus social ministries. Spiritual ministries might be thought of as evangelism, preaching, discipleship and such. Social ministry might be viewed as feeding, job training, providing shelter and so forth. Wholistic ministry seeks to do both and fill in the gaps between.

Here are a couple of models for wholism:

Wholistic Growth:
This is sometimes looked at as the Luke 2:52 Model. In that verse Jesus was described as growing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. This verse suggests four types of simultaneous growth: MENTAL, PHYSICAL, SPIRITUAL, SOCIAL. Wholistic growth suggests that ministry should seek to cover these four areas.

Wholistic Health:
This comes from the CHE model (Community Health Evangelism/Education) from Lifewind. It is also related to the World Health Organization view on health accept that it includes the spiritual component. Good health is seen in terms of good relationships. The four relationships it covers is: Good relationships with ONESELF, OTHERS, GOD, and the ENVIRONMENT.

Both models are pretty similar even if different ministries might end up in different categories. One model focuses on growth/development. The other focuses on health/relationships. This is a case of not choosing one or the other, but recognizing that both are important. We are created by God to live in harmony (good relationships), but also to continue to grow and develop.