Thursday, August 1, 2013

Should Christians be Involved in Social Work?






I.  I believe that the pastor should actively promote and encourage critical thinking.  He should make it possible for his people to acquire lasting learning skills and should be training  them in how to start and develop  God based social ministries. This should not only be the case in the classroom but in vivo in the community and the church.  The flock of God must be grounded in Scripture and should prayerfully seek God’s leading as to ministry targets.   Christian leaders should be the best workers in social ministry because they view Sociology and social ministries through the lens of Scriptures and they are empowered by the Holy Spirit to  preach the gospel and to engage in  deeds of kindness. The Spirit gives boldness to help Christians advocate for the weak and the oppressed.  Social Work in of itself does not have the Holy Spirit,does not have the Father of Mercies and God of all Comfort and does not have a Risen Christ .

II.   I believe in a Christian based academia where students should be prepared for their life’s work in a general sense. This is not limited to but should involve basic Bible study. As they concentrate on their major, they should know how to integrate the subjects taught with Scripture.  Excellence should be pursued so that they should be leaders in their respective field.  When I was a student in college I was afforded an opportunity to ask the great J.I. Packer  what I needed to make me an effective pastor. He said: “Know two books, the Bible and the human heart.”  
 
Many people groups , especially the mentally ill and bereaved need help as they find themselves in an environment which is too complex or powerful for them to access services. They will need to be the target of a Christ based social ministry. Most of the hospitals in the 18th and 19th centuries and other social professions in the western world were started by Christians.  We should continue building on the foundation of the 19th century by preaching the gospel and helping people who for some reason are out of the mainstream and get “lost”by a society which does not care. The true mentally ill are these people. At the beginning   of the 20th century, Baptist churches and other churches began to separate themselves from those who were false teachers. It is a shame that they also rejected social work as a reaction to the social gospel. Our Lord’s ministry is a pattern which we should imitate. The Scripture says about Him:

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him (Acts 10:38).

As a co founder of Heartfelt Ministries I use various means to train people  how to come up with and implement social services. Much of the incentives to performing social ministry are in the Bible.  Whether it is by lecture or  by meaningful discussions on current events, or going into the community, we must apply the truth of the Scripture and its outcomes to the issues of every generation. This may also include going to a local mental health agency or visiting a place that provides housing for homeless persons. Mental illness is not only a personal disease it is a disease which has costly social consequences such as suicide, time lost at work, divorce and many more. My wife Robyn and I started our own ministry (Heartfelt Counseling Ministries) in 2004.  We have helped many who are mentally ill, bereaved and those who are persecuted for the faith, many times to the death. 

Robyn and I have had the privilege to reach thousands who live in this global village as a result of our  book Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It.  I was published by Kregel Inc. in 2005. 

 
 We wrote it with a goal of helping people understand mental illness and prodding them to use social action in the church, to reduce the stigma of mental illness and to relieve the painful suffering that it brings.   Kregel’s has given our book an academic status. It is being used in Christian colleges and seminaries to advocate for a comprehensive approach to getting those with mental illness and depression the help that they need and giving caregivers comfort support and a sense of community.

If you would like to read reviews of our book, please go to:

http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Minds-Healing-Youre-Losing/dp/0825421187 














If you would like to learn about one of our seminars; Whispers in the Foyer and Honest Look at the Christian and Mental Illness, please go to:  http://sbloemreflections.blogspot.com/2011/08/whispers-in-foyer-honest-look-at.html