Social Ministry: Why and How, Cont.?
So why does a Christian do Social Ministry??? It’s worthwhile to consider the why of any of our deeds. This topic is critical for the life and work of the church and for our own lives.
I think God’s word offers two important answers.
First, we work in Social Ministry because God said so. Sounds a lot like a parent! Browsing through the Old Testament prophets, one reads God’s repeated charge to the people of Israel to care for those who are poor, widowed, orphaned, oppressed, foreign, and others who are vulnerable. God expresses anger when those special people are neglected. God issues an unmistakable demand for justice for the weak.
And in the New Testament we read about Jesus’ acts of compassion, an integral part of his proclamation of Good News. His call to the disciples was to proclaim the Good News—and to do works of healing. Over and over the NT exhortation is to live lives of service and care for others, particularly the poor and marginal.
Second, in baptism we were sealed with the Good News; we were made part of the body of Christ; we became Good News people. That’s our identity now. We serve others in works of love because that’s who we are.
We are sent to bring Good News. Good News to someone lonely includes a visit. Good news to someone hungry includes food. Good News to a refugee includes a welcome mat. Good News to a sex slave includes rescue. Good News to oppressed people includes justice. And on and on.
Some acts of Good News we can do alone; some require a whole congregation or denomination. Some deeds of Good News are so challenging that the whole people of God, the whole church on earth, must work together.
Our congregation’s mission statement is: Proclaim and Practice the Love of Christ. We practice the Love of Christ, we do Social Ministry, because God calls us to that work; that is our new identity in baptism.