Not Just a Soup Kitchen is David Apple's newest book for churches desperately seeking answers on how to do diaconal ministry effectively. It provides the practical tools and instructions Christians need to serve God effectively in ministry of mercy and compassion. The book doesn’t provide scholastic tools, but real life how-to information based on the experiences of success and failure. David will be holding a book signing at Tenth on September 21, at 1 PM in Reception Hall. Following is an excerpt from Not Just a Soup Kitchen which is available for preorder now and in bookstores September 16, 2014.
My dad, a printer, had a phrase I’d hear often: “Why do I always have time to do things twice, but never have time to do things right?” I guess my philosophy, “Do it once, and do it right” has its origin in that. In life and ministry it is important that we know what we’re doing (and do what we know). Best intentions are not good enough. Even our best intentions won’t prevent the gravest of mistakes. Speaking of this, Joe Aldridge writes about a college graduate’s best intentions in his book, Gentle Persuasion:
Diploma in hand, he signed on as a farmer. Now a graduate of Aggie Tech, he was ready to follow in the tradition of his grand alma mater. He decided to grow chickens. Cranking up the John Deere, he headed out to the fields and planted his chickens head first in rows. They didn't do too well. But the Aggie wasn't one to give up easily, so he again fired up the John Deere and prepared the soil for a second batch, this time planting the birds in the ground feet first. To his credit, this crop kicked up dust for a little longer, but they, too, died. Failure was staring him in the face. Something was wrong! But, what? Suddenly it dawned on him that as an alumnus of Aggie Tech, he could write to the extension department, describe the problem, and get a solution. With renewed hope, he sat down at the kitchen table and put his problem on paper. He finished his letter and popped it in the mailbox. Days later, a letter came addressed to him, from “Aggie Tech Extension Division.” At last, he had his answer! Hustling into the kitchen, he slashed open the envelope and yanked out the note. It was short. “Dear Sir, please send soil sample.”
Clearly this farmer didn’t know what he was doing, and even his source for guidance was lacking. If we are going to plant the seeds of faith, talk the talk of faith and walk the walk of faith, we need to go the right source for guidance and follow its instructions carefully.