One of our Missionaries, Jerry Ireland, edited a book that is about compassion in missions. He is one of the leaders of Compassion Ministries in AGWM Africa. This is one excerpt from the book that paints a small pictures of compassion and mission working together; being one and the same. If you are interested in buying the book, you can find it here: For the Love of God: Principles and Practice of Compassion in Missions.
Disciples of Jesus, those who make up the local church, should function as salt and light in their communities (Matt 5:13-16). The church exists to both proclaim and interpret God’s revealed Word, and to show forth the moral standards of the Kingdom of God. Missionaries should work to plant and strengthen local churches. Yet sadly, some missionaries have approached compassion as a stand-alone enterprise. For example, one missionary working in a restricted-access country was invited to a meeting in which his colleagues were discussion their team’s church planting and evangelism strategies. After sitting silently for an extended period of time during the meeting, this missionary finally spoke up and declared that they were not there to do church planting and evangelism, but only social justice work. When he said this, the other team members sat back in disbelief. Where did this person get the idea that social justice work, impartant as it is, could legitimately be divorced from the work of establishing churches or making disciples? Do not those being given relief from temporal sufferings also need relief from eternal suffering? How could anyting think that a denominationally-sent missions team, including each member, could neglect its only unique role, that of proclaiming God’s gracious offer of salvation to all persons?
In the context of Christian missions, the reality of human suffering cannont be interpreted apart from the larger biblical narrative and it’s overarching redemptive struction. The need for compassionate responses must be understood within the context of the fall and human rebellion against God (Genesis 3) and God’s gracious offer of salvation in and through Christ. (pg9)