At Children’s Hunger Fund (CHF), we talk a lot about the role of the local church engaging in mercy ministry to those in need in…
Our mission is to deliver hope to suffering children by equipping local churches for gospel-centered mercy ministry.
Sounds good, right? But have you ever read a mission statement and thought, “well, that sounds nice, but what does it really mean?” At Children’s Hunger Fund, each word in our mission statement was chosen for a reason, which we will break down for you here.
One thing that makes Children’s Hunger Fund (CHF) unique is the method by which families are served. Unlike a food bank where people will visit to receive the food they need, CHF operates on a home delivery method. When CHF’s church partners deliver food directly to the homes of families in need, it places the value on pursuing relationships.
As Christians, we are called by Jesus to go and take the gospel to a lost world (The Great Commission, Matthew 28:16-20). Jesus also commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves (The Great Commandment, Matthew 22:36-40), which is difficult to accomplish without the foundation of a relationship.
There is a reason why we don’t mention food in our mission statement. It’s because delivering food is not our main goal. Is food necessary? Of course. Do we deliver a lot of food? Definitely.
But we also know that hope is not limited to food.
When we say that we deliver hope, we are referring to the eternal hope of the gospel.
So, why do we deliver food? We recognize that spiritual poverty and physical poverty often go hand-in-hand. The provision of food not only helps meet a family’s most basic physical needs, but it literally helps open the door for relationship to form. It is through those relationships that CHF’s church partners are able to share the gospel with the families they serve.
Jesus called His followers to serve the least of these: those who are hungry, thirsty, strangers, in need of clothing, sick, and in prison (Matthew 25:31-46).
The word “suffering” defines our mission field. It encompasses a broad range of people who experience suffering around the world, including the hungry, abused, malnourished, orphaned, trafficked, underserved, and disadvantaged.
Since its inception, Children’s Hunger Fund has always had a focus on children—it’s literally in the name! This distinction narrows our focus from the suffering to specifically suffering children.
Because children are made in God’s image and He commands us to nurture and instruct them in His Word, we seek to impact the next generation for Christ.
The word “equipping” refers to more than the food and aid that CHF’s church partners are distributing to families in need.
When Children’s Hunger Fund forms a partnership with a local church, the pastor and church volunteers receive training that focuses on a Biblical view of mercy. Many churches are good at proclaiming the gospel but don’t know how to fully incorporate that into their mercy ministry outreach.
A healthy church is focused both on proclaiming the gospel and executing mercy in the lives of those they serve. Mercy is a vital component of being the hands and feet of Christ and exercising Jesus’ command to communicate the gospel both in word and deed.
This training is done both virtually and in-person, with our domestic and international partners.
The local church is our delivery method and how we accomplish our mission. We believe that the church is God’s representative of the gospel and His instrument for change in the world. This is why food and other humanitarian aid is always distributed through the local church.
It is not the goal of Children’s Hunger Fund to establish our own ministry in foreign communities but rather build up and encourage the churches that are already present. Because the local church is just that—local—it makes sense for them to be the ones to build and maintain relationships with the people of their community.
When a church is being considered for a new partnership with Children’s Hunger Fund, the church’s commitment to the gospel, evangelism, and discipleship are at the forefront of the decision-making process. A church’s denomination is not nearly as important as its view of Scripture. The gospel is central to the mission of Children’s Hunger Fund.
At its simplest level, mercy ministry is the process of helping people meet their basic physical needs in Jesus’ name. We recognize that our greatest need is for salvation, but we cannot overlook basic needs in the process. It is much easier to reach a person’s heart when you’ve first cared for their immediate physical needs.
It is not our goal to change a church’s theology or convince them to enroll in a program. We engage with churches to understand and think biblically about the role of mercy.