Imprisoned and faced with the ultimate cost of Christian discipleship, John the Baptist sent his disciples to inquire of Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come or shall we look for another?’” When John’s disciples found Jesus, his answer was as relevant then as it is today. Busy healing the sick, giving sight to the blind and casting out evil influences to those who were hopeless, Christ invoked the expectations of the prophets as validation of his messianic authenticity.
"Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them." (Luke 7:22, Matthew 11:5; cf. Isaiah 35:5f, 61:1)
John’s question then is no less the question of many today in New Haven even if raised by the faithful and cynic alike. CPC envisions the embodiment of the same response under the power of Christ’s ascension ministry, both in word and deed, as validation to the relevancy and power of Jesus Christ. We see the day when the name of Christ and the power of the gospel of God’s grace and forgiveness is manifested in the life changing empowerment that is related to a poverty that is at once inward (spiritual) and outward (temporal). We see the city of New Haven being transformed by a collaborative effort of Christ-centered churches, word-and-deed ministries and private foundations wherein “in Christ’s name, the many ethnicities and nationalities, both rich and poor as are represented in New Haven, will again hope in his name. (Matthew 12:21)
As it relates to the church as “family of God,” we discern in Galatians 6:10, that along with the mandate to “do good to all,” there is the all important adage, “and especially the household of faith.” The biblical mandate to take care of one another in the family of God, even as witness, is further illustrated in the following scripture. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35 (Cf. James 1:17,27 2:14-16, 5:13-14, 2 Corinthians 8:1-15, Romans 12)
With these and other passages in mind, our church consensus concerning our privilege and duty in “one-anothering” can be found in Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 26 section 1 and in our Book of Church Order chapter 54 section 2:
- All saints, that are united to Jesus Christ their head, by his Spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory: and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other's gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.
- It is both a privilege and a duty, plainly enjoined in the Bible to make regular, weekly, systematic and proportionate offerings for the support of religion and for the propagation of the Gospel in our own and foreign lands, and for the relief of the poor…
At CPC, we distinguish between crisis (rescue) and chronic (empowerment) related mercy ministry corresponding to two funds that are funded by our annual year end offering around Christmas. If you would like to be considered for assistance, the application can be accessed here.
In addition to ongoing mercy events and interventions at CPC, we sponsor an annual “Mercy Impact” event wherein a concerted effort is made to serve one another in our homes and in our city. Some examples of projects include hosting a Vacation Bible School Sports and Arts Camp, theology camps for high school and middle school students, community workshops, and mercy projects such as retiling the bathroom floor with a single mom and replacing leaky windows for a widow. We work together and then we celebrate God's work among us with fellowship events.
If you would like to know more about our Mercy Ministry at CPC, contact Rog Huitink.