I’m writing this in real time as I take a class from Randy Nabors. He just referred to a post he wrote on Church Planting and Mercy Ministry. The cheat sheet he has shared with us below is worth passing along to you. It help hearing this from someone who has spent his life living it.
May the Lord continue to raise up churches that offer mercy because we know we have received it.
CHEAT SHEET FOR CHURCH PLANTERS ON MERCY MINISTRY
1. Mercy ministry will be required in your church no matter what socio-economic group makes up your church or community.
2. It would be wise to plan for it ahead of time so that you will have some wisdom, mechanism, or personnel to rise to the situation.
3. Loving your neighbor or “doing good to all men especially to the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10) is not something you can put off until the 2nd, 3rd, or 5th year of the church plant.
4. It is not just the poor that have dysfunctional families, addictions, legal, medical, and death issues.
5. If you minister among the poor you will have more obvious dysfunctionality problems to deal with, with fewer resources.
6. The pastor and Elders must protect their time of prayer and the Word, so they must delegate ministry to others so they can be free to do their primary work. Pastors should never be the “sugar daddy.”
7. It is the pastor’s job to “enable the saints to do the work of the ministry.” (Ephesians 4:11-12) This means the pastor must teach, train, and target his workers for ministry. To preach the “weightier matters of the Law” you must preach on mercy and justice, and if you preach on them you must show your congregation how to practice them.
8. In Acts 6:3 we believe the first Deacons chosen were men “full of the Holy Spirit and Wisdom.” Mercy is a spiritual work and it must be spiritually pursued.
9. To effectively change the lives of the poor mercy must be “accountable, returnable, developmental, and ecclesiastical.” The local church is the community in which people can be discipled out of poverty.
10. To help your church be effective in mercy ministry the church must develop policies, priorities and process so they will know how to show mercy regularly, routinely and resourcefully without damaging the poor or the church (officers, members, and staff.)
11. Stop sending the poor away to other agencies and bring them into the Body of Christ.
12. Pray, plan and pursue an increase in the funds and personnel you will need to show and do mercy in ways that make a positive impact in your community.