Mercy Fund Update Collected on the last Sunday of every month, the Mercy Fund is an account that is set aside from the church’s regular budget and is used to provide financial support to members of our congregation and community who are in need. But it’s more than just a fund, it’s a ministry. And God is doing three major things through it.
Demonstrating His Provision
First, God is demonstrating His provision and mercy. The resources contributed to the Mercy Fund help individuals pay for their rent, utility bills, and even medical expenses, and many on the Mercy Fund team have been humbled to hear and witness accounts of recipients expressing profound gratitude for God’s mercy and faithfulness in times of need. It’s these instances that remind us that if God provides food for the birds and protects fragile flowers in the field, He will certainly provide for our needs (Matthew 6:25-34).
Helping Without Hurting
Secondly, through the Mercy Fund, God continues to teach us about the way He loves, and how we can help without hurting by caring for people holistically.
“Unfortunately, when the economically rich interact with the economically poor, they tend to do so in such a way that exacerbates the shame that the economically poor feel, while also exacerbating the pride of the economically rich. Central to poverty alleviation is embracing our own mutual brokenness so that we can truly help others without hurting them and ourselves.”
~ quoted from The Chalmers Center website
We know we are to care and provide for the poor – but too often we define poverty as a lack of material wealth and resources, when really it’s about broken relationships, something we all share. If we’re not careful, any well-intentioned donation can become a simple handout, a transaction between the haves and have-nots. So how do we serve the poor with the Mercy Fund while ultimately upholding the dignity that God has bestowed on our fellow man?
In their book When Helping Hurts, Corbett and Fikkert illustrate how sustainable change for people living in poverty comes not from the outside-in, but from the inside-out. They believe that “a necessary component of loving the poor is restoring them to being what God created them to be: productive image bearers who worship God and who support themselves through their own work (Genesis 1:28-29). Because only Jesus Christ can accomplish such restoration, our goal becomes integrating both words and deeds that proclaim Jesus Christ alone as the reconciler of all things (Colossians 1:19-20).”
Translation: we don’t just write a check. We start building trust and a relationship with the men and women and children who, like us, are in desperate need of Jesus and his daily provision. Mercy Fund team members are looking for partners in the congregation to begin to minister holistically to recipients. Our prayer and hope is that the Mercy Fund ministry will provide an opportunity to start that conversation and start developing long-term relationships.
Building the Body
Finally, God has moved through the Mercy Fund ministry to build the church body (Ephesians 4:11-13), connecting City Church and fund recipients with other congregations and partner ministries. For example, as we field requests and referrals, we ask questions to see if the potential recipient has a church home. If not, we try to connect them to a Christian community where they can hear the Word and experience fellowship with other believers, whether at City Church or somewhere else. This not only increases the chances of building long-term relationship with the individual, it also strengthens our city’s congregations as we dialogue, pray, and minister as the larger church in Richmond. We’ve also connected with partner ministries such as Area Congregations Together in Service, or ACTS, which we would have never heard of otherwise. To learn more about the Mercy Fund ministry and how you can support its long-term efforts, contact Patrick Shay: firstname.lastname@example.org.