Not Just a Soup Kitchen
by Dr. David S. Apple (CLC Publications, 2014)
Minister of mercy: That has been David Apple's title and job description for over 25 years at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. His new book, Not Just a Soup Kitchen, recounts his painful childhood (disfiguring accident, childhood sexual abuse) and challenging early adulthood (loneliness, substance abuse, and depression), all of which proved to be powerful teachers of compassion.
Apple describes how the church's ministry of mercy was born and eventually grew to be a recognized force for restoration in the community. The book is easy to read and full of great stories, but its best feature is the practical advice Apple offers to any person, group, or church interested in starting or improving holistic ministry efforts. He discusses the power of partnering with other ministries and the necessity of healthy boundaries when in ministry. Recognizing that personal discomfort with the unfamiliar keeps many Christians from reaching out, he offers straightforward strategies for how to behave with and speak to people in specific situations, such as the elderly, grieving parents, and people who are "differently abled." A chapter on frequently asked questions allows him to explore a variety of issues that may arise when reaching out to offer mercy to those in need.
Apple's is a wise and experienced voice. His is also a humble, joyful voice. Anyone new to, or desiring to deepen, ministry—whether formally or informally—will be glad to have read Not Just a Soup Kitchen.
– Kristyn Komarnicki