Church, Practices, Reflections

Mike Slaughter on “First Doing … then Believing”

"The postmodern apologetic is first doing. . . then believing. It is not 'believing first and then doing.'" So says Mike Slaughter, Lead Pastor at Ginghamsburg United Methodist church in Tipp City, Ohio. To lead from the new apologetic, Slaughter offers several opportunities to show the love of Christ to their community through love and service. During the Christmas season, Slaughter asked those in his congregation to spend on others (in this case the Sudanese refugees) whatever they spend on themselves. "After all," Slaughter says, "it's not your birthday." The result was $300,000 given to the Sudanese. In the same spirit, he put forth an opportunity to help the victims of the tsunami disaster. Another $25,000 came pouring in. "God didn't call us, as pastors, to manage the church, but to be the hands and feet of Christ by winning the lost, healing the hurting and setting the captive free." In that spirit, Ginghamsburg began New Path Outreach ministries. Look at the description from their website:

New Path Outreach is a faith-based, non-profit organization that serves
the needs of low-income families and families in crisis in the Miami
Valley area. Its outreach ministries include a food pantry, car
ministry, furniture ministry, transitional housing and limited
financial assistance. It also ministers to clients’ emotional and
spiritual needs through prayer and referrals. This ministry is the team
that reaches out in service to those who are not yet part of our
covenant family. They focus on long-term spiritual care, but try to
help people meet their short-term physical and financial needs as well.
. .God is powerfully using Ginghamsburg’s gifts of time, money and
prayers to accomplish God’s purpose. New Path Ministry serves thousands
of families every year, and its dedicated servants continue to impact
and bless the lives of others.

Last year, they served 17,000 families, gave away 32 cars and helped
over 200 families with rent or utility payments. Their work has not
gone unnoticed by the larger community. A few years ago, the first
President Bush awarded Ginghamsburg with the 838th of his "Thousand
Points of Light." More recently, President Bill Clinton recognized
Ginghamsburg as one of the best volunteer organizations in America.
They model themselves after the book of Acts in becoming a
"mission-driven church." Slaughter notes that if Jesus had measured his
effectiveness by attendance, Jesus would have failed. With that in
mind, the people of Ginghamsburg want to "minimize brick and maximize
mission" and the people of Tipp City are better off because of them.

From Article by Eric Swanson in Leadership Network’s Into Action (January 2005).