This piece by Mercy Survivor Anna was originally published on her blog “External Mercy” and can be viewed here.
In the introduction of Mercy Multiplied’s “Guidelines for Establishing a Residential Counseling Ministry“, Mercy Multiplied lays out what information they are going to be giving you.
They say that “Certain fundamental functions, processes and structures will provide a solid foundation to establish your ministry to serve your God-given vision for years to come.” (page 5) And then tell us that Mercy Multiplied is sharing their “wealth of experience, knowledge, and information” that they have acquired.
I think it’s fair to assume that they are going to include what’s important, right, or at least what they think is important for this sort of ministry, or at least what they think is important for theirs. So let’s take a look at the manual from this perspective…we’re getting a peek into what Mercy Multiplied considers foundational for accomplishing the same “success” they have with a similar method.
They also say that they’re not including specific details (not that that would even be possible in 41 pages). They point out that the details are specifically serving THEIR vision and mission and that individuals establishing their own ministry need to work these out according to their ministry’s specific calling. Keep this in mind as we’ll be coming back to these two points: Mercy Multiplied is sharing what they think is foundational and they are NOT sharing details.
Next comes the ever present, ever shared story of how Mercy Multiplied began. Also known as the epithet to Nancy Alcorn, this tells how Nancy Alcorn worked in a correctional facility for youth and became disillusioned because the programs were not working. She worked for Teen Challenge for a bit (who has their own sordid history and those who were harmed more than helped by the program) and then she starts Mercy, emphasizing that secular, governmental programs were tremendous failures when it came to helping these “troubled girls”. Thus the birth of Mercy Ministries, now Mercy Multiplied and of course the three principles that are emphasized by the ministry:
- Don’t charge the girls to come;
- Tithe 10% (even though most people are donating the money to mercy as their 10% tithe); and
- Don’t accept state/government funding.
Next, we skip forward to the current Mercy Multiplied: Listing the locations of the homes in the US and the homes outside the US. Funny though that Australia is no where to be seen in this “history”. The other locations are heralded as the spreading of Mercy Multiplied beyond the US’ borders…not sure what they really thought the Australia homes were if not for that…apparently they were orphan ministries that had nothing to do with Mercy Multiplied (after they got shut down of course). This makes me wonder, does Mercy Multiplied not learn from its own mistakes? From my point of view they got themselves in trouble with associated homes in Australia, then backtracked to de-associate from them when those homes became the “black sheep” of the Mercy Multiplied family. So now they’re publishing guidelines on how to replicate their ministry?
Just a warning to anyone who might use these guidelines (besides being prepared for a lawsuit), Mercy Multiplied will claim you as long as it looks good for them, but once you reflect badly on them, you will be cut off and disowned like an unsightly growth—or at least that’s what their history (the part that’s not told in this manual section) seems to show.
They go through the usual lines about who they are and what they do…and how well they do it, specifically pointing out that they often receive residents who “have been in various treatment facilities with unsuccessful long-term results”, to contrast this they claim that their approach to healing is a permanent solution that is unattainable in any other way. (page 6)
They also describe their program as “extremely successful in equipping young women with the tools they need to understand their self-worth” and share that they get daily communication from graduates “walking in freedom” (page 7). Mercy Multiplied’s always had this thing with comparing themselves to other treatment facilities. You hear it again and again in Nancy Alcorn’s speech and even in the request of materials from graduates.
Walking in freedom is another huge buzzword for them – the implication of course is that if you are a Mercy Multiplied graduate who is still struggling, then it’s simply because you’re choosing not to “walk in freedom”. There’s no possibility that maybe there are still things that need to be addressed, still education that needs to take place, still resources and support that need to be built up; and ultimately, there’s no possibility that Mercy Multiplied didn’t hold up their part of the bargain to get you permanently better. It’s a syntax they emphasize that conveniently allows them to shirk all responsibility while still claiming that they are being accountable.
[All quotes from Mercy Multiplied, Guidelines for Establishing a Residential Counseling Ministry, Retrieved October 2015]