The title of this piece comes from Phil D's blog "Mercy Ministry in Mission Strategy" where he shows the allure and pitfalls of mercy ministry, especially for those captivated by "issues of mercy and justice." He argues that mercy ministry is both distinct and inseparable from ministry of the Word.
Phil starts this piece written from his perspective of someone raised in Southeast Asia, and who has ministered there for a long time. Find an excerpt from Phil's blog here:
Frequently in mission endeavors, we encounter those who are not only destitute of gospel witness but also are suffering severely—materially, physically, and psychologically. How should this suffering impact mission strategy?
Issues of Mercy and Justice have captivated the younger generation of the global church. This presents both an opportunity and a risk. The opportunity lies in channeling this new source of energy into mission endeavors. The risk is that unless this labor is grounded in Christ and centered in Christ it will amount to wood, hay, and stubble and ultimately prove worthless, dissolving in the flames on the Day of the Lord.
The effort of this brief article is to contribute one piece of clarity to this important puzzle. This is not an academic project. Rather, I believe that such clarity is a necessary aid to our obedience and our unity. I trust it will serve as a biblical grid through which to screen contemporary voices – largely a cacophony of pragmatics.
I argue that Mercy Ministry is distinct and inseparable from the ministry of the Word. I will make some effort to define how they are distinct and to provide the grounds for inseparability. The implications, for the most part, are left to the reader.
Mercy Ministry is defined here as: The formal work of the church in deeds of service in the world in the name of Christ.
Some questions to reflect on:
a. How would you apply Phil's insights to your ministry practices?
b. Did he forget anything?
c. Does Phil's article help you to set priorities in your word and deed ministries?