The February 1, 2015 edition of Mission Moments addresses the issue that acts of mercy and service can often trump the greater good of sharing the Good News. Rev. Michael Ruhl of the Center for US Missions writes,
One continues to marvel at the massive movement toward a more incarnational approach to church planting. Looking beyond the more traditional and attractional models of church planting, church planters have discovered that discipleship is more than simply attending worship services and supporting church programs. Because discipleship is both missional and transformational, many new churches are being planted through the multiplication of missionary cells – commonly called ‘missional communities’. This approach to new church development is more organic, operating on the premise of bringing the church to the people in the community – instead of attracting the people in the community to the campus of the new church. This trend has resulted in the escalation of Christian service (‘mercy ministry’) and neighboring, as disciples in missional communities serve people and groups in their community, many of whom are in need of a gospel witness.
We celebrate the great courage and vision of church planters who seek to plant new churches that are more transformational and less organizational. The fact remains that an important key to the “kingdom success” of this model of church planting continues to be keeping the missional communities … missional. It is the salvation of lost souls which stirs the human heart to acts of Christian service in the missional community. Care must be taken to emphasize that, while basic human care is both good and godly, Christian service in a missional community has a deeper purpose than the simple alleviation of human suffering and deprivation. Therefore, acts of service and mercy are not ends in themselves – but are the means to a greater end, which is the sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ with blood-bought souls who are still far away from God.
To read the rest of the article, click on: Avoiding Mission Deflation.