The Question Answered Then and Now
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, cf. Isaiah 35:5f, 61:1)
John’s question then is no less a question often raised today by the faithful and cynic alike. Are you (the body of Christ) ligit? CPC envisions the embodiment of the same response of doing mercy under the power of Christ’s ascension ministry today, both in word and deed, as validation to the relevancy and power of Jesus Christ in our midst.
As concerns the sacred “family of God,” we discern in Galatians 6:10, that along with the mandate to “do good to all”commanded of all Christians, there is the all important adage, “and especially the household of faith" enjoined upon the local church especially. The biblical mandate to take care of one another in the family of God is both to preserve authentic and wholistic love and effective witness.
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35
With these and other passages in mind, our church consensus concerning our privilege and duty to love one another in both inward and outward ways is summerized in our historic concensus of what the scriptures principally teach:
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. (Westminster Confession of Faith *Chapter 26 section 1)
Mercy Begins With Participating In A CPC Life Group
At CPC, participating in mercy begins with activily participating in one of our many Life Groups within and around greater New Haven. Each life group is as a "church in miniture" wherein we are each "seen" and 'known" so that just "one-anothering" at a more intimate level facilitates mercy with and for one-another often before a situation reaches a crisis. Each Life Group is assigned a trained Life Group Mercy Coordinator to assist each groups care for one another as needs arise. This care includes sharing in prayer, emotional and spiritual support, and tangible assistance as needed. If you are inteterested in doing and/or receiving mercy in an authentic and wholistic way, start by joining a life group.
Current Life Mercy Group Coordinators:
- Downtown New Haven: Colleen Rice
- East Rock: Bennie Finch
- Hamden/Cheshire: Elena Gerard
- West Side: Ken Healy
- Trumbull: Ruth Phillips
- Shoreline Saturday: Meg Bogue
- Shoreline Sunday: Tanilla Brown
Mercy That Involves the Variety of Gifts and Assets of the Full Body of Christ at CPC
As needs become greater than can be dealt with at the Life Group level, or the need for a special expertice or asset not represented in the group is needed including financial assistance, the greater CPC body of Christ is made available. This is coordinated by the CPC Mercy Coordinator with the assitance and oversight of the Sr. Pastor. The CPC Coordinator works with the CPC Mercy Team consisting of CPC Life Coordinators and other select persons with skills or training releveant to the kinds of mercy needs that arise. This team meets quarterly or as needed to review the needs of hte body of Christ and make recommendations to the Servant Leader Board and/or CPC Shepherds as needed.
In Need of Financial Assistance?
The CPC Mercy Fund is financed by our annual designated Christmas offering. We encourage all of our memberes and regular attenders to participate in this fund in the spirit of Acts 2:44-45: And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
The process for applying for financial assistance ideally originates from the potential recipiant, assisted by his/her Life Group Mercy Cordinator, filling out the CPC Mery Fund application. Once the application is filled out, the two will then contact the CPC Mercy Coordinator who will in turn review with Sr. Pastor, and as needed other relevant members of the Mercy Team, toward presenting the request for approval by the Shepherd Leader Board.
Those qualified to receive financial assistance must fulfill the following criteria
- Complete Financial Mercy Fund Application
- Be a member in good standing of CPC New Haven (some execeptions can be made by those who are in process of becoming a member as a regular attender.)
- The recipient must agree to activily participate in a CPC Life Group.
Mercy Project and Impact Week
One form of helping meet the outward needs of a peson can be in the form of seeking assistance for projects that might not alway require financial assistance but the "no-how" of someone in the congregation. A Mercy project can range from seeking help in financial planning, ride to the doctor, a home repair project, etc. Again, the first step would be to seek the assistance of your Life Group Mercy Coordinator. In the event that the Life Group needs the assistance of the greater Church, the CPC Mercy Coordinator is contacted wherein the full gifts and vocations of the body of Christ can be accessed. We also encourage everyone in the church to "tithe" a day or two vacation and participate in our annual Impact Week and the opportunity to do Mercy through Youth Camp and Mercy Projects throughout the city.
When Helping Hurts (Abbreviated Summary of When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert
Case Study: The Witch Doctor (From When Helping Hurts)