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Central Assoc. centralizes ‘helps’ ministrycomment (0)

December 22, 2011

Central Baptist Association’s approach to mercy ministry takes its call to empower local churches seriously.

Jerusalem Missions’ vision statement has two primary elements: to meet the physical needs of the community and to enable “each congregation of believers” in the association to serve.

Since 2003, Central Association has kept a central food pantry and clothes closet to which its churches donate. Dawn Watkins of Hollins Baptist Church currently manages the supply.

A central location for storing goods is important because not every church has room to store what it needs, Director of Missions Wayne Henderson said. Working together, the churches can meet more needs than any one could individually.

When a needy family approaches a church, the church contacts Jerusalem Missions with the need. The ministry gives the supplies to the church to pass on to the family.

“We try to make sure the people understand that when they receive the help, it’s not the association that’s helping but the local church,” Henderson said. “Neither myself nor Dawn give the goods to the people, but the pastor or a representative [from the local church] gives the help.”

Jerusalem Missions keeps a record of the families each church helps, he said. Families are allowed to seek help as often as they like, and no one has attempted to take advantage of the system.

Henderson pointed out that the Bible teaches that Christians must care for others’ physical needs.

“[The Bible] says if someone is hungry, it’s not enough for us to say, ‘The Lord bless you,’” he said. “We need to try to meet a physical need and then possibly meet a spiritual need.” (TAB)

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