The Gospel offers a unique perspective on mercy and justice.
Sacrificial service is motivated by Christ's sacrifice on the cross, rather than out of a desire to earn favor with God. Our motivation for serving others is a response to the grace shown us by Jesus, not an attempt to earn God's favor through moral behavior. Through service, we witness a mutual transformation: both the server and the served grow in the process. (The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, Matthew 18:21-35)
The nature of service is both word and deed.
Our words of unconditional acceptance coupled with our actions of service and love have a powerful impact. We encourage the exercise of spiritual gifts on behalf of our neighbors. We speak and act with the knowledge that our words and deeds will have a significant impact in the world around us. We live in a time in which our displays of mercy and justice are an example of the "now but not yet" aspect of God's kingdom (The Sheep and the Goats, Matthew 25:35-46; Jesus washes the disciples feet).
The city is an ideal location for service.
The city is full of the "best" and the "worst" of everything -- from the most decadent to the most destitute, the famous to the nameless. As we seek to serve the needs of those around us, we inevitably come across those of different races, economic backgrounds, and experiences than ours. In this environment, the reconciliation of the Gospel can be exhibited. (The Epistles of Paul)
Mercy and justice are inextricably intertwined.
God's heart shows a special compassion and protection for the poor and disadvantaged- like many of the residents of our inner-city neighborhoods. We believe God's passion is rooted in His desire for all of creation to experience His Kingdom and Shalom. God shows us His compassionate character throughout the Scriptures (Exodus 34:6-7), in the example set by Jesus (Matthew 9:36), and in the actions of His people (Psalm 99:4, Nehemiah).