Mercy Ministries | Nancy Alcorn on Sowing the Seed

Mercy Ministries Articles | June, 04, 2012 | by
Twenty-nine years ago, Nancy Alcorn founded Mercy Ministries and opened what would be the first of four residential homes for women. Since then, Mercy Ministries has helped literally thousands of young women who are struggling with eating disorders, unplanned pregnancies, substance abuse, self-harm and physical or sexual abuse to find the path to freedom in Christ. Here, Alcorn shares some of the story behind the ministry’s beginning and growth to four locations throughout the United States, as well as affiliated residences overseas.

Long before Mercy Ministries, in my beginning years of walking with God, He taught me about giving. There is no greater joy than to be able to give in a way that makes a difference in someone’s life.  When I first became a Christian, I had never been taught about tithing.  I heard people talk about tithing and I began asking questions.  When I committed my life to Christ, I wanted to be a doer of God’s Word, I wanted to do it 100%.  When I asked people about tithing they told me that it was giving the first 10% of your increase back to God.  The Bible says that the tithe belongs to the Lord.

As a young Christian, I was working full time and putting myself through college and I had plenty of excuses for not being able to give, but I wanted to be a doer of God’s word.  I read scriptures that said if you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land.  I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but it sounded good.  I read a scripture in Proverbs that said the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  We need to surrender to God’s way and not our own way.

I heard testimonies of people that had incorporated giving into their lives and how they were blessed.  I began to tithe.  Every time I got a paycheck, I figured out 10% and wrote that as the first check. I never even considered keeping it because I knew it wasn’t mine.

When I started giving in obedience to God, I was amazed at how my needs were being met.  Sometimes it would seem when I wrote that first check that the money wasn’t going to be enough for the month, but I would write that first check and then somehow I would always have enough.  Sometimes just enough.  As I continued to do that with a motive of wanting to give to be obedient and be able to bless others, the byproduct was that my needs were met and I was able to meet the needs of others.

I grew up and a farm and there wasn’t one year that I remember that my father didn’t sow seed so the cattle would have something to eat.  I would have thought my dad lost his mind if one winter he never got off the couch, never did anything, never planted anything, laid on the couch, and then when springtime and harvest came, he complained that the cattle had nothing to eat.  It sounds silly, but that’s what we do to God.

When I was working my way through college, I was offered a full-time position at the juvenile correctional facility where I was working, and they paid me as if I already had my degree.  I would go to school 8 – 12, drive and hour to my job, work 8 or 9 hours, and then drive another hour home and study.  About a year into that, I got a letter from MTSU that said anyone working in their field of major could have a full scholarship by the department they work for.  From that point on I didn’t have to pay any tuition.  I knew in my heart when that came that God was blessing me for my tithing.

I want to share about sowing a seed.  When I stepped out in faith and started Mercy Ministries, I didn’t get paid, so I sowed my time.  God told me He didn’t want me to charge the girls.  So many of them couldn’t come if they had to pay.  God showed me that the Mercy Ministries girls needed to know that our love for them is pure and that we didn’t want to make money off of their problems.  He showed me how important it was that they be able to trust Mercy Ministries because so many of them had broken trust.  He told me to sow the first seed into their life.

We have to be led by the Spirit of God in our giving and sow in good ground.  When I let go of what is in my hand, then God will let go of what is in His hand to meet my needs. Mercy Ministries is an example of that.  Everything at Mercy Ministries was brought forth through giving.  God told me if I did the 3 things he told me (take girls free, no government money, tithe to others) that He would meet all of my needs.  My needs would be met through my giving.

I learned that God is provider, and if I trust Him, He will make a way where there can be finance through His system rather than the world’s so that we could share Christ. Because I worked for the government, I volunteered with Teen Challenge and got involved in a young girl’s life.  She and I prayed through her withdrawal all through the night one night.  The Lord later told me, if I hadn’t been faithful with the one girl, He couldn’t have trusted me with the 10, if I hadn’t been faithful with the 10, He couldn’t have trusted me with the 20…

It all started by sowing seed.  If I hadn’t sowed the first dollar, off the first 10, He couldn’t have trusted me with the hundred. I had to let go of the fear in my life and make up my mind that I believe God’s Word.

When I first started Mercy Ministries, God met every need. God rewards attention to detail.  God rewards productivity with increase.  As we use what God has given us, then He will give us more.  We are responsible for what measure we have been given.  We are expected to take what He has given us and bring increase.  The one who was given one talent was afraid so he didn’t do anything with it so it was taken from him and given to someone who was responsible and had increased what they had.

As we are faithful in the small things, He will bring increase, He will bring us more responsibility.

When Mercy Ministries first came to Nashville in 1991, it was me, Judy Jones, and a part-time employee and now God has expanded the Mercy Ministries staff to over 60 employees.  There has been exponential increase.  I believe it’s because we have been faithful and never stopped our giving.

A long time ago, I heard Joyce Meyer’s testimony and it was powerful that I ordered more of her resources. Mercy Ministries uses it to this day. The Lord told me to sow a seed into her ministry because the Mercy Ministries girls and I were being blessed by her teaching.  I went to Judy and we wrote a check for almost the full amount of what Mercy Ministries had in the bank.  Right before I sealed the envelope, I felt the Lord told me to write her a letter and share with her why I was sowing this seed.  I didn’t think she would read it but the feeling from the Lord was so strong.  I wanted to be lazy and not take the time but I had learned to obey those promptings.  I wrote her a letter and never thought another thing of it.  A short time later, I received a letter back from her with a check for twice the amount Mercy Ministries had sent her.  That relationship continues to this day. Over the years they gave more and more to Mercy Ministries and then decided they wanted to get to know us personally before giving more.  They wanted to be sure they were sowing in fertile ground.  After that, they gave more and so did we.

At a Joyce Meyer conference, she pulled me on stage to talk about Mercy Ministries.  She told about how they needed to build an office building.  I believed the Lord told me to pledge to give them $100,000.  We had given large gifts before but this seemed like a stretch.  We didn’t have the money at the time so we stepped out in faith.  By December, Mercy Ministries had only paid about half of the money.  But I had said, I had made a vow, that by the end of the year we would fulfill the pledge in its entirety.  On the 30th of December we overnighted a check for the remainder of the pledge so that it would get there before the end of the calendar year.  Joyce called me the next week and said, “You are a woman of your word.  That gets my attention, and it gets God’s attention.”  A couple of months later she let me know they had been praying and God put it on Joyce’s heart to pay for property and a Mercy Ministries home in St. Louis.  There is now a 30-bed Mercy Ministries facility in St. Louis.  It was paid for through the seed that was sown.

A few months later, Buzz Oates called and we built a Mercy Ministries home in Sacramento. That should get you excited if you are a giver!

In the early days, God showed me a vision of a water hose and that if I opened the faucet wide open and let the water flow out, it would keep coming.  But if I ever got worried the water might run out and I closed it off to keep what was in the water hose, then the flow of provision would stop.  He told me to be consistent to sow the seed.

Many people quit giving to Mercy Ministries last year because of the crisis in our economy.  But we operate in a higher realm.  There’s nothing in the Word of God that says if the economy is bad, you don’t have to give anymore.  If anything, that’s the time to give more. We don’t want to be flippant about it, but if the Lord moves on you to do something, then do it.

It starts with sowing with what’s in your hand.  What’s in your hand today?  If you don’t have any money, then maybe give of your time and God will make a way where right now there is no way. There are seeds of greatness in you, but you’ve got to cultivate those seeds.

To learn more about Mercy Ministries, visit them online at

Contact Mercy Ministries