Members often ask me how I am able to oversee so many ministries, write articles and books, train deacons, consult with other churches, and more. My answer is that I’m merely doing my best and using my gifts to honor God. I also try to make all of our ministry opportunities convenient, specific and measurable so anyone can participate. Because of that, ministry is shared by the “living church” here at Tenth—people who carry out Tenth Mercy to the broken and broken hearted in our church and community. People ask as well how come those who serve don’t burn out working as they do with people in difficult situations.
I believe the answer to the above question has to do with two ministry principles. Primarily we minister to honor God. Secondly, our goal is to provide a biblical alternative to what public and private agencies and churches offer our neighbors. The principles under which we minister are simple: become involved, establish relationships and offer hope.
Become involved. Ninety percent of ministry is just showing up. All God wants is for us to be available. He does the rest. We allow God to use us for his glory and the benefit of our neighbor.
One example of involvement concerns a nursing home resident. Annie had difficulty dressing herself one Sunday and missed attending our worship service. As she saw the worship leader pass her room she cried out to him and said, “I couldn’t attend. What was the sermon about today?” He asked if he could come in and repeated the entire sermon in her room. As he finished, Annie said that she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart. They prayed together and she did ask Jesus into her heart. Later that night she died.
Establish relationships. Here again, it is God’s working in and through us. In the name of Jesus we seek to treat each person as Christ would—whether sick, in prison, hungry and thirsty, or ill-clothed (Matt. 25:31–36). We remove the stranger-ness, treat him/her as a guest and practice hospitality.
Larry was homeless and drug-addicted and slept in an alleyway near Tenth. For several years one of our members spoke to him and quite often would bring him a sandwich. She also invited him again and again to attend Fellowship Bible Study. After “being sick and tired of being sick and tired” Larry finally came to Tenth and received the help he really needed. He has been clean and sober, restored to his wife and family, and a new creation in Christ for many years—all made possible through one relationship.
Offer hope. As Christians we can offer what the world does not. As Christians we can provide the alternative to that which the world offers. As Christians we have the hope in Christ that will never disappoint anyone.
Frank, a regular attender of one our prison Bible studies, was sentenced recently to 23 years in prison. He had hoped for a reduced sentence and wrestled with the fact that he would be incarcerated for so long. Then God used him to bring salvation to another inmate. With an interesting look on his face Frank said, “Now I know why God is keeping me inside.”
Serving doesn’t have to be a big thing. In fact service and mercy can be specific, convenient, and measurable. It can be small, genuine, and God-honoring. All we have to do is show up. It is the Spirit working in us who does the work. Ministry is that simple.
You, too, can use your gifts to serve the Lord. Your small group might even develop a service component and serve together regularly. We are called to serve the Lord with gladness and to cheerfully provide mercy. Whether with children, teens, internationals, college students, young adults, or mercy ministry, I encourage you to become involved, establish relationships, and offer hope for the glory of God. Use a prayer card today to ask about opportunities or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.