Here is a quote we know very well: “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’”1
Here is a quote we don’t share as often (hint: It follows the previous quote): “There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice. Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not, cannot, be without fruit.”2
QUESTIONS TO PONDER WITH YOUR CHURCH LEADERS
1. What creative things is your church doing to reach your community?
2. If money were no object, what would you do? What project 1 2 would you start?
This quote bundles evangelism and service. Here are some principles to remember:
A. A service lifestyle is part of a divine expectation. It would be helpful to understand that when we are standing before our Maker, instead of asking us to recite the eschatological timeline, God will ask, “What did you do about my children who needed help?” (Matt. 25:34-36).
B. A service lifestyle takes us out of our comfort zone. It’s more than outreach; it’s reaching out, even to those who don’t look, believe, speak, or act like we do. That includes our enemies (Matt. 5:46-48)!
C. A service lifestyle breaks down barriers. It’s all about love, and love can indeed conquer all. When we express love, we break down preconceived ideas about the church and about God. When they think about church, most people associate it more with asking for things than giving things. Service goes a long way to change that perception.
Remember, there are 37 recorded miracles of Jesus in the New Testament; however, there is one written sermon of Jesus (Matt. 5–7). Remember the initial quote? “If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen.”
1 Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, 143, 144.
Roger Hernandez is the Ministerial Secretary of the Southern Union, USA.