We are looking at the principle of having Key Indicators of good practice when ministering to the Poor. Many of these Indicators would apply to ministry in general but the context for us is one of mercy ministries.

The 20 Indicators we are exploring fall into 2 sections. In the first section, Church and Leadership issues, there are 8 Indicators. Having listed these we shall expand on the first two.

1. Apostolic endorsement copy-of-dsc012572
2. Local church eldership oversight
3. Hearing God
4. Vision to be clear
5. Gospel impact
6. Kingdom extension to be intentional
7. Individuals changed from poverty to active mission
8. Biblical principles to be clearly applied

1. Apostolically endorsed
When writing to the gentile church in Galatia Paul told them of his commission from the apostles in Jerusalem to take the gospel to the gentiles. Their only injunction was that he should ‘remember the poor’ (Gal 2:10) which was ‘the very thing I was eager to do’.

Although this refers to the poor among the believers it illustrates the apostolic mandate that the poor should be major beneficiaries of the fruit of the gospel, as prophesied in the ‘Kingdom manifesto’ of Isaiah 61:1-3 that Jesus and his body, the church, should ‘bring good news to the poor’.

Apostolic ministry is part of God’s plan A (there is no plan B!) to assist local leadership to bring their people to maturity (Eph 4:12-16). It is as important today as in New Testament times. Accordingly, it is vital that ministry embracing the poor within the local church should have clear apostolic endorsement and confirmation that the vision is appropriate to the overall vision of the church.

2. Local church eldership oversight
Elders are the anointed leaders of the local church. They are responsible for the spiritual welfare of the believers in their care and will, one day, stand before God’s judgement seat to give account for each one. They do not have a priestly function between God and the believers but they do have a fathering and caring responsibility to bring each of the believers to maturity as referred to above.

Frequently those with a passion to help the poor are quite ‘tunnel-visioned’, with an intense focus on the ministry they believe God has called them to. Often they are very self-sacrificial of their time and material possessions, and can feel a frustration that others are not as passionate as they are. This can lead to independence – often with disastrous results.

God’s primary vehicle for advancing the Kingdom is the local church. It is essential that ministries with the poor enjoy the genuine and active oversight of the elders. This brings security to those involved and fruitfulness that comes out of walking in a godly way. It also ensures that the ministry is intimately knit into the vision and life of the local church, not acting as a self-contained activity.

Learning point:
Ensure there is Godly oversight in ministry with the Poor

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