Mercy and Justice go together like Salt and Pepper(Or should I say Salt-N-Pepa). They are coined together throughout the scriptures to give an idea of who this God is that we serve. Mercy and Justice are in his essence and his being.
There are a host of examples of ministries that churches have that display this type of Ministry.
Here are the routes that I feel can be legitimately done:
- Para-Church Model
I have worked within the Para-Church route for years. There are tons of positives. As well, though there are tons of negatives. There is definitely a large void when working in Para-church ministries. That void is because of the PARA. But the positives are soooo great too though because this is an avenue where you can have multi-denominational, multi-church and multi-theological groups gathered in one place with one purpose. Do I think Para-church is the problem, absolutely not. But I also know that it is a tough answer.
- Marriage Model
While being its own separate entity, the Mercy Ministries program, though funded by the church, receives extra funding from other charity’s and programs. This would be a separate building and organization while still being married and organized primarily by the church leadership.
Ex.) Mercy House-
A building fully supported and facilitated by and through Fellowship Baptist Church. The building is its own corporation raising its own grants and funds. It is primarily supported through Fellowship’s budget though. The faculty are paid through the church. Because of that, the church makes faculty change decisions.
The main difference in this is that the church funds and operates the ministry. It is a ministry of the church while being its own entity.
Problems-Defining roles. Church faculty deciding what happens to a place and group that not all are in daily interaction with. Almost Para-church and almost THE church.
- The Ministry Driven Model
A ministry that is done specifically based on needs and problems. Though coordinated and led by the church, this type of ministry is not necessarily a weekly ministry beyond maybe a food bank or a clothes closet.
Ex.) Jesus’ People-
‘Jesus’ People’ is a ministry of Fellowship Baptist Church. This is one of 56 ministries that the church boast in. Through this ministry, there are 6 other ministries(Prison Ministry, Food Pantry Ministry, Clothes Closet Ministry, Benevolence Ministry, Bill-Pay Ministry and the School Gear ministry). FBC enjoys all of the ministries it has. When the school year gets started, Betty(the lady who works all 6 ministries to some capacity) takes off her chef hat that she had for the ‘Free Meal Ministries'(Just started, 57 total MINISTRIES!!!!) and puts her “Give Me A Vacation already, it’s back to school time” hat on. Out of 100 members at FBC, 50 are active and of the 50, 20 are involved in different ministries. Of the 20, 5 show up to ANY Jesus People activities. People are worked to death. They are tired.
The Pro’s to doing things this way is that they feel natural. Just make-up a ministry and lead it. You find a need is single mom’s, develop a name and a budget and you’ll have a single mom’s ministry. The Con’s though with this structure is that 57 ministries sound nice but if you’re stretching few of your people to do them at all, then the ministries will suffer and so will your members. I am not a big fan of this model but I also have seen that for many churches, it’s their only model to work with.
- You Develop and We’ll Support(Entrepreneur)
The idea is that as needs arise, you as a church empower and fund laypeople to start ministries to meet those needs. You see a need for a local health clinic, the church is the primary funder for the clinic to get off its feet and helps keep the clinic going. The church would equip you as a leader and accommodate you on how to start your own ministry. In essence, it’s the idea of para-church but the churches role is a lot bigger. It is directly tied to one local church. It is purposed to empower the laypeople to lead and be missionaries within their own communities.
The main differences of this and the Marriage Model is that with this, the church equips and gives money, but you are your own organization. You are not governed by the church.