We do not often hear about the pitfalls that we need to avoid in mercy ministries. The first thing to remember is that mercy ministry should be done under the oversight of the church. This will eliminate many problems at the outset. This should help to keep acts of mercy linked to the spread of the Gospel. We do not want the church to fall into the social-gospel pit of the early 20th Century. The preservation of the Gospel and gospel ministers was the whole reason the deaconate was started (Acts 6). As the deacons cared for the physical needs of the body, the elders could be free to minister to the spiritual needs. Mercy ministry should start with ministry to the body of Christ. This is what the apostle Paul says when he makes the statement “do good to all, especially those who are in the household of faith.” It seems that many make a mistake when they indiscriminately want to start mercy outreaches to everyone in the city around them without first seeing if the needs of the body have been met first. This is also intimated by the Lord when He told His disicples that men would know that they were His disciples by the love that they had for one another.
This is just the first of a series of thoughts I will be posting on “pitfalls in mercy minisrty.” Please feel free to contribute to this if you have any thoughts to add.