What's the relationship between service and the verbal proclamation of the gospel? Are words enough? Are loving actions enough by themselves? Most Christians generally agree on one thing—the people we hope to evangelize are the ones we seek to serve. But some churches are now challenging this conventional thinking.
In Simply Strategic Volunteers: Empowering People for Ministry (Group, 2005), pastors Tony Morgan and Tim Stevens suggest that serving alongside non-Christians to meet a common need offers a congregation the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with its neighbors and non-believers to participate in Christian community before making a personal commitment to Christ themselves. "When you serve at the homeless shelter," they write, "what better way to show others the love of Christ than by asking them to serve alongside you?"
Viewing cooperative service as an evangelism opportunity provides the church with a larger audience for the gospel. Not only will those being served be touched by the love of Christ, but so will those serving with you.
So consider broadening your church's vision to include non-Christians who are eager to contribute to their communities but don't have a venue through which to do so.
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