The story of the Bible is one of eternal redemption—of how God takes the trauma and brokenness of those He redeems and transforms them into gifts for His use in ministry. Not Just a Soup Kitchen is the story of how God transformed my life—from a near-death skull fracture, childhood sexual abuse, hopelessness, marital betrayal, spiritual bankruptcy and thoughts of suicide—to today being the minister of mercy at an historic church in the heart of Philadelphia. It is also the story of Tenth Presbyterian Church’s ministry of mercy and compassion. It will serve as an instructional guide for diaconal ministry and will empower Christians to begin new ministries in the local church.
Not Just a Soup Kitchen addresses the needs of ordained servants and others who are actively involved in ministries of mercy and compassion. It offers a model of how elders can provide leadership to mobilize congregations and seeks to reclaim for deacons the biblical role of this office. In addition, the book is a how-to resource helping lay people (the people of God) work smarter and more effectively in Christian service. Experience has shown me that most Christians are reluctant to become involved for several reasons. Knowing their concerns, I make ministry convenient, specific, and measurable.
Today, so many churches are comfortable following the practice of previous generations that didn’t involve themselves in ministries of mercy. Many, today, are fearful of thinking “outside of the box” and lack vision and biblical direction. In 1983, one small group at Tenth challenged that same attitude and subsequently many others caught the vision. Wanting to feed the hungry, they asked the question, “How can our ministry be different from a soup kitchen?” Because of their actions, lives have been transformed and captives have been set free—both those outside the church and those in the pews. What would your church look like if you did the same?
Throughout the pages of Not Just a Soup Kitchen you will learn about how people serve and what initially stirs up a person’s heart for ministry. I hope you will be encouraged by their confidence for serving in areas that most Christian refuse to go. I hope, also, that you will be encouraged by a user-friendly framework for diaconal ministry and answers to several of the frequently asked questions on mercy and diaconal ministry I’ve received. Finally, I’ve included other resources that will benefit your ministry and your walk with the Lord.
Not Just a Soup Kitchen is for churches who are desperately seeking answers on how to do diaconal ministry effectively. It is also for anyone who works with people ordinarily stigmatized and not welcomed in churches. The book deals with the fears many have of coming alongside those in need, and chronicles stories about homeless and addicted men and women, nursing home residents, prison inmates, and others, while providing a user-friendly guide to establishing relationships.
From comments I’ve heard, church leaders, officers, and seminarians are hungry for this information. Not Just a Soup Kitchen was written in response to their needs and your needs. This work is the product of fifteen years’ personal diaconal experience, over twenty-five years directing Tenth Presbyterian Church’s Mercy Ministry, and my life’s story. Produced by CLC Publishers, the book is available for preorder now and will be in bookstores September 16, 2014
© 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By David Apple. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org