We attended the 25th anniversary of a ministry of which I was a part of over 20 years ago – Christian Aid and Relational Evangelism Inc. (CARE), a non-profit, charitable organization formed in 1990 to evangelize and serve those marginalized in society. The Lord commissioned His Church to make disciples of all nations. Many are faithful in fulfilling the Great Commission, but unfortunately some segments of society have been overlooked or ignored, so God raised up para-church organizations to meet the needs of these minority and under-privileged groups.
One of CARE’s earliest ministries is to those in prison:
* Mt 25:36 I was in prison, and you came to me.
* Heb 13:3 Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them.
The work involves visiting inmates in Federal and Ontario detention centers and prisons around Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and holding worship services for them whenever permitted.
A large part of the Lord’s ministry is to the blind (Mt 15:30-31), so a second service, now spun off as an independent ministry, is to visually impaired people (VIP). The goal of Joy Beyond Vision Community (https://www.facebook.com/jbvcpublic), is to empower VIPs by training them in skills to make a living e.g. running a small business.
A notable successful project is the Cultural Cafe (https://www.facebook.com/jbvcculturalcafe), run as a commercial enterprise by VIPs.
Although the Bible does not mention gambling specifically, it warns against love of money as a root of all sorts of evil (1 Tim 6:10) and greed as idolatry (Col 3:5). Gambling has ruined many Chinese families, so a third ministry is to pathological gamblers, reaching out to those under bondage and family members hurt by the addiction. The weekly fellowship has helped many to recover through the gospel.
The tax-collectors and prostitutes were looked down upon as outcasts, but they believed John the Baptist and will get into the kingdom of God before the chief priests and elders (Mt 21:31-32). So a fourth service, Rahab Ministry, is to reach out to sex-trade workers who work as escorts, call girls or masseuse.
Over the years there had been other initiatives such as ministry to those physically challenged, or to international students to help them adapt to the new environment (Soar on Wings Ministry – SOW). The work is often difficult as they are battling not only the frailty of men, the world forces of this darkness and spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places (Eph 6:12), but also the prejudice of churches. The driving force, however, remains focused on what the Lord said in Mt 25:40, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” I hope churches will get over their preoccupation with fun and food and get down to the King’s business.