“The debate gets tiring, especially for those of us who live in the trenches of ministry. On one side are those feverently committed to the task of world evangelism and wanting to see heaven populated with redeemed individuals. On the other side are those whose hearts are breaking for hurting humanity where oozing emotional and physical sores are graphic reminders the flawed condition of the human soul.”  — Sam Metcalf, President of Church Resource Ministries

That famous past English Pastor, Charles H. Spurgeon, was not only one of the most popular preachers of all time, but he was also known for the many need-meeting outreach ministries that seem to grow up wherever he was. London was at that time, in the 1860s, the largest city in Europe and possibly in all the world.

Among Spurgeon’s compassion ministries were an orphanage for boys, and orphanage for girls, a training college, a night school for the poor, a door-to-door ministry visiting the sick and providing pastoral care, free almshouses to shelter widows, a food and clothing ministry, construction and community development ministries, poor children’s schools, and a major crusade against slavery. AND he preached the gospel.

Examples like this of Christian compassion throughout history challenge us to lift ourselves from the isolationism and self-serving mentality that has plagued the 20th-century church. It’s up to us what kind of ministry will characterize the 21st century church.