Mercy Ministries

Grace Church seeks to be a transforming community, a helping neighbor and a loving witness. Mercy ministry fits primarily, though not exclusively, in the value of being a helping neighbor.  Mercy is the expression of compassion and care for those with physical, emotional or spiritual needs, such as difficult life circumstances, family emergencies, hunger, homelessness, health problems, counseling needs, addictions, and the need for justice. Mercy can come in the form of money, food, clothing, and other material goods as well as time, labor, counseling, and other acts of service. Just as God’s mercy towards us addresses the needs of the whole man, Grace Church seeks to care for both the spiritual and physical needs of those we serve.

Why We Do Mercy Ministry

As the Bible is our only source of faith and practice, this section will lay out the biblical command to the church to do mercy.

From the earliest stages of redemptive history, God has called His people to the ministry of mercy. There are numerous Old Testament references, a few of which are listed below.

“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.” Deuteronomy 15:7-8

 “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:3-4

We also see numerous references in the OT to our call to help the “aliens” and “poor” in our land (Deut. 10:19, 14:28-29; Deut. 15:11; Leviticus 19:10, 23:22, Proverbs 22:9).

In the New Testament, the life of Jesus was marked by acts of mercy through healing (Matthew 8:1-4, Mark 2:1-12) and miraculous feedings of the hungry (Matthew 14:13-21) ; in fact, Jesus’ ultimate mission was to not to be served but to serve, which he ultimately fulfilled through his sacrificial death (Matthew 20:28).

Scripture states that the church’s primary mission is to serve the spiritual needs of the community (ministry of the word); however, the church cannot overlook the importance of serving physical needs (mercy, or ministry of deed).

“Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.  Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.  But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” –Acts 6:1-4

 While this text sets up the office of deacons, who play a large role in the church’s mercy ministry, Scripture makes it clear that mercy ministry is not only the responsibility of the deacons but of all true believers. Those who have been served by Christ and have been shown great mercy are to serve and show great mercy to other believers and to the world (Philippians 2:1-4, Matthew 25:34-36, James 2:14-18, 1 John 3:16-18).