Not Just a Soup Kitchen: How Mercy Ministry in the Local Church Transforms Us All
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CLC Publications / 2014 / Paperback

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Not Just a Soup Kitchen: How Mercy Ministry in the Local Church Transforms Us All

CLC Publications / 2014 / Paperback

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Product Description

The Bible tells the story of eternal redemption and how God takes the trauma and brokenness of the redeemed and transforms them into gifts for His use in ministry. Not Just a Soup Kitchen is the story of how God transformed the life of the author from a near-death skull fracture, childhood sexual abuse, thoughts of suicide and spiritual bankruptcy to becoming the minister of mercy at a historical church in the heart of Philadelphia. It is also an instructional guide for diaconal ministry and those who are called to serve in mercy and compassion ministries in their local church.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: CLC Publications
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.25 (inches)
ISBN: 1619581744
ISBN-13: 9781619581746

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David Apple's life is a story of mercy received and then freely given to others. Through a lifetime of friendship to the urban poor, Dr. Apple has learned many valuable lessons about serving people in need. In this complete guide to mercy ministry, he explains biblical principles for healing, tells captivating stories of personal transformation, gives wise warnings about the mistakes that people often make in ministry, and shares many practical suggestions for truly addressing spiritual and material needs. -Dr. Philip G. Ryken, President, Wheaton College

For the last 20 years, David Apple has been a great friend who has provided an important example for anyone who is interested on doing exemplary work within urban ministry. This book is helpful to all those seeking to move beyond doing charity at an arm's length and actually empowers those we are serving and bring them fully into the life of the church. I strongly encourage both church leaders and lay people looking to deepen their understanding of service to read this book. -Dr. John Perkins, Cofounder of CCDA, Founder and President Emeritus of the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation

Combining the moving story of the author's journey from brokenness and despair to ministry and leadership with great wisdom and ideas on congregational social ministry, this book both inspires and instructs. It is an excellent guide for local congregations seeking to expand their ministry to all kinds of hurting people in their community. -Ronald J. Sider, Senior Distinguished Professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry, and Public Policy, Palmer Seminary at Eastern University

A must read for church leadership and individuals who sincerely desire to follow Jesus in service to those in need. -Rev. David W. Delaplane, Former National Chairman of The Clergy Committee, Recipient, U.S. Presidential Award "for outstanding service on behalf of victims of crime."

David Apple has a noble track record of showing mercy and serving 'the least of these.' Not that he would necessarily be happy with that expression because he instinctively sees such people made in the image of God and accords them extraordinary dignity as such. I find that one of the most winsome and characteristic elements of his ministry. He is a champion of those who are most easily overlooked, and like our Lord, reaches out to help them. This ministry of mercy has led to his passion to revisit some of the biblical texts relating to the diaconate and he offers wise advice on how churches develop and utilize that significant office. You will find this work heart warming and challenging. May God use it to His glory. -Liam Goligher, Senior Minister, Tenth Presbyterian Church

David Apple is a veteran from the front lines of the ministry of mercy. This practical and clear guide offers real life wisdom gleaned from countless lives blessed through Christ-like care. Through "Not Just A Soup Kitchen", you and your congregation can be transformed as you partake of the spiritual nourishment offered here. -Dr. Peter A. Lillback, President, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia

David's personal story of tragedy, hardship and brokenness shows how David was transformed through the powerful gospel of Christ and then called and shaped by God for the ministry of mercy and justice that he has pursued for the past years. As the story unfolds he moves on to tell us how the ACTS ministry of Tenth Presbyterian Church was started and has grown to engage the least, the last, and the lost from the community surrounding the church. This book is a must read for anyone who has been called of God to this kind of ministry. This is one of the most practical books on mercy and justice that I have ever read. I recommend it highly. -Bill Krispin, Former Executive Director, Center for Urban Theological Studies and CityNet Ministries

Author Info

Dr. David S. Apple has directed ACTS-Active Compassion Through Service-the Mercy Ministry of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia since 1988. He has led divorce recovery and single parent ministries, and presently oversees 300 volunteer staff in outreach, evangelism and hospitality to homeless and addicted persons, nursing home residents, incarcerated men and women, people with special needs, and others. His ministry includes deacon training and equipping churches across the United States for ministry in their communities. He also serves as a Chaplain with the Philadelphia Police Department. For more information, please visit

David earned a B.A. from Calvin College, a Pastoral Counseling Certificate from Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation, and an MATS and D.Min. from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He came to salvation in 1966 through the incarnational ministry of Northside Chapel CRC in inner-city Paterson, NJ. That experience has shaped his life and ministry.

Product Reviews

4.5 Stars Out Of 5
4.5 out of 5
4.5 out Of 5
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  1. Bob
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    One of the least of these
    February 25, 2015
    Quality: 4
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    A good model for involving the congregation in diaconal/mercy outreach to those seeking help and offering such assistance in the name of and for the glory of Jesus Christ, using deeds of mercy to build bridges to Christ. The author's own life story show how genuine care and friendship in times of being overwhelmed by circumstances can have such lasting effects.
  2. Dale
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    I'll read it again
    October 31, 2014
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I've been waiting for this. David Apple has put into print a welcome one-two punch: his account of his own walk with Christ, especially in mercy ministry, and his distilled wisdom for churches to engage in the same kind of ministry. Apple shows that the Christian life is not only hard, it's very, very good. He also demonstrates that only the local church, not autonomous Christian individuals, can carry out mercy ministry well. Dr. Apple's book is clearly written and practical, with principles that will guide every congregation into greater, more joyful faithfulness. "Not Just a Soup Kitchen" belongs on the same short shelf as "When Helping Hurts", "Toxic Charity", and "Ministries of Mercy".
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Author/Artist Review

Author: David S. Apple
Located in: Philadelphia, PA
Submitted: August 20, 2014

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I grew up in Paterson, New Jersey and attended Eastside High, the school made famous in the film, Lean on Me. From an early age I was taught the principles of justice and reconciliation. In 1963 and 1964, I participated in civil rights marches and spoke at youth rallies in support of my rabbi and other "Freedom Riders." As a college freshman, I came to salvation in Christ through the ministry of an inner city church plant in Paterson. I worked in crisis intervention and public advocacy for many years, and then managed a printing business before injuries from an auto accident put me on disability. I have since earned a Masters of Theology and a Doctorate in "Transformation of the Church for Mission." In addition to these earned degrees, I have learned much in "Jesus's School of Life": From paralysis and loss of an eye from a skull fracture early in life, childhood sexual abuse, single parenthood, and loss of job-income-health after being hit by a drunk driver. All of this to show that "His power is made known in my weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9).

    What was your motivation behind this project?  Whenever I consult with church leaders, I hear such questions as, “What do I do here? How much do I give and when do I stop? How do I love difficult people? How do I avoid burn out”? I wanted to address these questions and needs. This book addresses the needs of these ordained servants and others who are actively involved in ministries of mercy and compassion. This book is for churches who are desperately seeking answers on how to do effective diaconal ministry. It is also for anyone who works with people ordinarily stigmatized and who, because of that, are not welcomed in churches. The book deals with the fears many have of coming alongside those in need, and chronicles stories about homeless and addicted men and women, nursing home residents, prison inmates, and others, while providing a user-friendly guide to establishing relationships.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  I pray that my biblical and user-friendly teaching will give God's people the confidence and ability to develop new ministries. I hope that learning from my experience they will be obedient in using their time and talent in serving others. My vision is that God will build up and strengthen his Church to be a well-equipped and mobilized force in works of both evangelism and mercy ministry.

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  This book is a "God-thing." It is only through the Holy Spirit's power that I could gather the themes, thoughts, and experiential memories, and then be able to create and write this. God brought me again and again to the foot of the cross for help and encouragement. All told, He breathed these words in me. It is all of Him and for His glory.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  My major influencers are men and women who have served with the poor, the lame, the broken and brokenhearted, the homeless and hopeless. Among these are John Perkins, Henri Nouwen, Diane Langberg, and Michael Cassidy.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  I have a passion for training deacons and equipping churches for ministry. My greatest pleasure is seeing Christians joyfully serving others and sharing the good news of Christ at the same time. I enjoy Sunday crossword puzzles and baseball. I am a life-time Brooklyn Dodgers fan.

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