Thursday 19 July 2012

9Marks eJournal 9, 4 (July-August 2012) on Mercy Ministry in the Church

The latest issue of the 9Marks eJournal is now available as a pdf here.
In the Editor’s Note, Jonathan Leeman writes:
‘Over the last few years, 9Marks has offered occasional warnings about mission creep in the local church. We believe the local church exists to make disciples and to teach them to do everything that the Lord Jesus commanded. Therefore, the local church, its pastors, its public gatherings, and any joint institutional resources belonging to the body should be dedicated to equipping the membership for works of ministry through teaching the truth in love. Acts of mercy are surely essential for God’s people, but for the institutional church, teaching is essential in a way that organized and structured mercy-ministry programs are not. Teaching is the water that gives life to all Christian activity inside and outside of church building doors.
‘But like every kindergarten teacher knows, sometimes the line is thin between teaching a kid to build a popsicle-stick house and being willing to get glue on your fingers and to build it with her. It just may be that, from time to time, even often, the local institutional church will best fulfill its Matthew-28 and Ephesians-4 mission by getting glue on its fingers. This not only teaches the saints what it means to be a Christian, it also provides a natural vehicle for organizing and facilitating their new-found love to do mercy ministry.
‘Bottom line: the local church, institutionally speaking, is called to teach. That is its job. Lose that, you lose everything. But that institution is made up of human beings who must go and do. And where institutional resources (staff time, budget monies, etc.) are available for something more than teaching, they might be wisely and wonderfully stewarded in helping church members to pursue the good deeds that Jesus commands them to do.
‘For these reasons, 9Marks wants to offer constructive help for how local churches might pursue such organized mercy ministry...’

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