Pastor Tim Keller has combined his experience with mercy ministries New York, his ability to communicate, and sound biblical teaching to produce an essential guide for churches who are developing their ministry to the poor. Keller opens by stating that, “Mercy to the full range of human needs is such an essential mark of being a Christian that it can be used as a test of true faith.”
In part one, Principle, Keller lists and refutes the common arguments against developing ministries of mercy. Excuses like not having enough money, or time, or that helping the poor gets in the way of proclaiming the gospel, or that we should only help the deserving poor, etc. are all dismantled one by one through careful scriptural analysis. The Good Samaritan didn’t stop and consider whether the man who fell into the hands of robbers was among the deserving poor or not. He just helped him.
In part two, Practice, Keller draws from his experience to explain the steps needed for a local church to develop and expand its outreach to the poor and anticipate the problems that will likely appear. Topics like researching your community, identifying priority needs, organizing the church, and managing the ministry are addressed in this section.
I would recommend this book for any church leader who is developing a ministry of mercy or any believer who has a vision for expanding ministries of mercy in his or her local church.