February 15, 2013

Be Merciful. Build Healthy Churches!

Ministry that does not have disciple making as the goal is anything but merciful. There is much good work done in the name of mercy by churches and Christians that might very well be good, helpful, and generous but, when considered in the light of God's mercy, they come up short. Mercy is the act of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, in order to extend God's mercy to sinners, so that they might be reconciled to a Holy God.

The church is instructed to demonstrate compassion to the poor and the hurting. We are called to love the poor and be generous, hospitable, and compassionate. Building healthy, gospel-centered churches among the poor is the most merciful act we could do. Churches that preach the gospel. Churches that make disciples. Churches that demonstrate love, care, and generosity to their communities. That is mercy. It might be easier to start a soup kitchen. It might make more sense to run an after-school club. It might seem more urgent to provide job skills training. But at the end of the day, could these things in and of themselves ever be considered merciful unless the goal is to make disciples? Good—absolutely! Merciful—far from it!

The reality is the that greatest and most urgent need in any poor community is the same as in any gated suburban community. It is an urgent need for the good news of Jesus Christ. So if you want to be a part of a truly merciful ministry that provides urgent and real help to the poorest communities—so often neglected and forgotten—then be a part of building, strengthening, and starting healthy churches among the poor. This is certainly the heart of Christ. When he walked upon the earth he healed the sick and fed the hungry, he taught compassion for the lowly and demonstrated love for the outcast. His goal was never anything less than making disciples, building his church, and reconciling sinners to the father.

The vision of 20schemes is not about reproducing a certain model of church. It is not about anything new or a fresh approach to ministry. It is quite simple. Our vision is gospel churches for Scotland’s poorest. That is mercy! We’re committed to starting or revitalizing healthy churches in some of the toughest, least reached, and poorest communities in Scotland. Over time, we believe we will see neighbourhoods where followers of Christ gather together to build their life on the Word of God, for the glory of God. These will be churches that provide very real help and support to their communities; churches that proclaim the good news of Jesus that leads to peace and everlasting joy. Those communities will be changed. They will experience mercy. They will receive compassion. Hope will become visible.

The church is a mercy ministry. Be merciful. Build healthy, gospel-centered churches among the world’s poorest.

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