There is something energizing about gathering with people of like faith and work. I recently spent three days in Maryland at the PCA Mercy Conference with other folks who love the Lord Jesus and are doing word and deed ministry. It was “iron sharpening iron.” We learned from one another, worshipped with one another, and prayed and praised with one another. It was exhilarating! Give him all the praise. Give him all the praise!
I love these gatherings. I meet mercy practitioners—pastors, teachers, deacons, and missionaries—whom I’ve known for years. I also meet first-time attenders feeling all alone, looking for kindred spirits, and hoping to network and learn. One such person was a church planter in urban Seattle who was hungry for this type of gathering with this type of people.
There is something for everyone at these mercy conferences. There is no need for anyone to reinvent the wheel or to make the same mistakes others have made. Whatever one’s passion for ministry, another already ministering in that area is training others to care for a variety of groups and needs: rich and poor, children and students, immigrants and refugees, prisoners and drug addicts, and victims of domestic abuse, human trafficking, sexual brokenness, and others. Besides the how-to's of ministry, there was also teaching on the theology of caring, working together, and helping versus hurting.
There was also something new and beneficial. For the first time ever, all sessions were recorded and posted online. Everyone—whether they attended the conference or not—can access the following workshops online (and more):
- Orphan Care: What You Can do
- What is poverty?
- How to Help without Hurting
- Improving Education in Your Neighborhood: More than an After-School Program
- Welcoming Jesus: Acts of Hospitality
- The how-tos of church-based mercy ministry
- Immigration 101: What the Church Should Know and Can Do
The plenary speakers videos are also available online. See and hear Doug Logan, Russ Whitfield, and Greg Thompson, plus Cross-cultural panelists: Pastors Craig Garriott, Irwyn Ince, Duke Kwon, Randy Nabors, and Kenny Foster.
Facinating ministry stories are also online: see and hear how Jesus is changing lives in prison, through ESL ministry, and international and medical ministries.
I hope you access many of these mercy ministry recordings. Please learn from them, pray about them, and even put them into practice.
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