Knowing the Worldview can make a world of a difference
The worldview of a community is the perspective through which it views and perceives its world. Worldviews significantly impact how the community understands their poverty and the way out of it. This is particularly true in the developing world where by default the community’s worldview is one that is fatalistic, devoid of hope and laden with the presumption that the ‘supernatural powers on high’ never operate in their favor and that they are always out to ‘get them’. As a result, their assumption is that the ‘powers that control their destiny’ do so in a way that exploits them oppressively, and that any attempt on the community’s part to counter their situation will result in a backlash from their ‘gods, spirits and ancestors’. Life is thus seen as a burden to be endured, with a futile purpose. This worldview offers little hope, and needs to be changed if an organization wants to transform that community.
On the other hand, the biblical worldview holds that God, who is omnipotent and eternal, is also a loving God and has played an active role in all of His creation with which He seeks to actively engage. God not only interacts actively with His creation but has also made a provision for its redemption. Because He is a personal God, He cares intensely for all of His creation and is deeply concerned about its welfare, especially mankind. God’s Love is eternal and in playing an active role in the lives of humans, He is drawing them to Himself to give them fullness of life. God therefore seeks to work actively through His subjects who already know Him to ‘demonstrate and proclaim the good news’ about Him and what He seeks to do. The biblical worldview is that God wants mankind to restore a personal relationship with him, with each other and the rest of creation. Only when this happens can mankind experience the ‘Shalom’ that God has provided. This is what good and balanced Integral or Holistic mission does. For Christian program implementers, Holistic development involves understanding what the community’s worldview is and then addressing it with a correct biblical worldview so that through a balanced development strategy the community experiences shalom.
Over the years, I have worked on and developed a special participatory tool called the ‘Holistic Worldview Analysis’ or HWVA tool (See example of an actual HWVA from a poor community). This tool allows NGOs to carry out an analysis of the community’s worldview, understand its survival strategy and respond to those needs with active community participation. The uniqueness of this tool is that enables the development intervention to address both the ‘empirical’ as well as the ‘spiritual’ components of the development needs in a way that is balanced and Holistic.