Balancing Word and Deed?

Great conversations this week at a local pastors conference after a message from Tobey Pittman about Compassion. Tobey talked about a Biblical understanding of compassion and its implications for ministry. This led us to the topic of social actions relationship to local church ministry. A few questions generated:

  • Our oldest pastor/preacher in the area asked have we excused ourselves away from ministry because of the welfare state. Great question: Does the fact that some get government checks keep us from responding to genuine needs in our community? When should we help? When should we not?
  • Our newest Northshore Pastor exonerated us that the love of God is to be spread by word and deed. And that the church could do and should do more for the neediest than the government can and should. But what does a “word and deed” gospel look like?
  • And then the inevitable question for all of us as believers in the Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, Sola Christo: Does social action subvert or hurt the primacy of preaching the Word of God? 
What do you think? I’ll be thinking through my responses. Will have to try to do it before Monday though, because that’s when the next Northshore Baptist Association Pastors conference will be and we’ll have another list of questions I’m sure. Join us, 10:30am, Monday, July 18th, Trinity Baptist Church in Hammond.

About Lane Corley

I am - Follower of Jesus Christ - Husband to the beautiful and patient Heather Corley - Father of three. - Church Planter / Church Planting Strategist with the Louisiana Baptist Convention. - When I can, I’m reading, raised bed gardening, deer hunting, and on mission with my church. - Hoping to be helpful.

Posted on July 12, 2011, in Ministry, Northshore Baptist Associations. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I agree, the welfare church has robbed the church of its rightful place of community ministry. Washington cannot see or meet the local needs we see in our communities. They throw money at a problem and more is used on administration, fraud, and waste than ministry. The church is in the position to identify, evaluate, and meet the local needs better than the government. Yet, these Matthew 25 ministries will require our congregations to tithe–each one. If the church tithed, almost all needs could be met within and without the congregation.

    Check out Chuck Colson’s remake Book, The Body. Provides theology, opens the eyes of how the traditional church sees ministry, and reviews true ministry actions churches can perform to meet the needs of others. As is true with members of our congregations, not every church is going to be interested in the same kind of social ministry. Churches will pick and choose ministries within their congregants skills, abilities, spiritual level, and interests. Some ministries will last only weeks, others years until the congregation interest shifts.

    Two groups in the church where I serve are the Food Pantry Ministry (30-40 participants meeting 225 needs monthly for 5+ years) and Helping Hands (less than ten started in June) made up of mostly skilled laborers who want to use their skills for the Lord and to help someone. Two other churches minister through Celebrate Recovery and the local association has partnered to open a family counseling center. Add the LBC/BAGBR seminary extension to Angola with these and

    Note all needs can be nor should be met. Compassion sometimes requires a “tough love” confronting people with responsibility to avoid enabling wrong behavior and calling people to a higher calling and walk in life. Lane, this insomniac gives you more than you ask. I hope this provides perspective.

  2. Great thoughts Richard! Thanks! Much perspective.


  3. I appreciate the comments offered by Richard…. Good thoughts! I have been involved in these exact discussions for more than 30 years as a missionary. For me, it is not an either/or. It is a both/and. We must have healthy churches preaching the word! We must also find ways to get the Word out on the streets since gone are the days that unaffiliated people wander into church. Compassion Ministries help us to share our faith beyond the walls. Our best year as street missionaries in NOLA, we saw 1800 people come to faith in Christ through compassion ministries!

    MAT25 and James give us clear instruction. I appreciate the reference to the Colson title. Are there others? I would suggest “the church of irresistible influence” by Robert Lewis


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