Jesus Christ, starting His ministry, quoted the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).

Then He showed His disciples how to preach the Gospel and minister to the sick, handicapped and poor (Luke 5:12-15), and He sent them out two by two and they practiced what He taught (Luke 9:1-2): preach the Gospel, care for the needy and heal the sick. Next, He taught His followers to minister to the same audience: “the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind” (Luke 14:12-13 and 21). After that, He put it into practice: “Jesus went about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness among the people” (Mat. 9:35).

And in the Great Commission, Jesus commanded His disciples to make more disciples and teach their disciples to FULFILL (“observe” but not just spectate!) everything He had taught His disciples to DO (Mat. 28:18-20). What did He teach His disciples to DO? Preach the Gospel and Minister to “the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind”! P&M – Preach & Minister – that’s Practical Ministry! It’s not an “either-or” solution: either preach, evangelize, witness for Christ; or do social action things like feeding the poor, sheltering the homeless, helping the jobless find work. It’s a “both-and” proposition: Do Both!

Later, the Apostles selected seven deacons to carry out this diakonia-ministry to the poor, widows, etc. “…and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly” (Acts 6:1-7). St. Paul taught that the bishops, pastors and deacons should “equip the saints to do the work of diakonia-ministry to the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12).