Sandy grew up in a secular home and had no religious upbringing of any kind. She did not like Christians because she felt that Christians did not practice what they preached. Later, when she was middle-aged, one of her friends became terminally ill. Sandy visited her friend often, and during many of these visits, a married couple, Larry and Carol, were also visiting this friend when Sandy was there. They often brought food and helped out with whatever was needed. They did this on a regular basis.

Sandy was impressed. She had never met such loving and caring people like Larry and Carol. As Sandy became more acquainted with them, she learned that they were Seventh-day Adventists. They were the first Christians Sandy had encountered who practiced what they preached. Soon, Larry and Carol started giving Sandy Bible studies, and she became a baptized member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Yes, a loving example, friendly behavior, and Christlike attitude can and will win souls for the kingdom of God.


Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34, 35, KJV).

Is it possible for us to keep this new commandment? Can we really love others like Jesus loves us? The answer is yes! We can keep this commandment but only with help from God. “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27, KJV).


We know that we cannot legislate love and that we cannot force anyone to be a loving person. But there are certain things we can do that will help our church to be a more loving congregation. There are both spiritual and practical methods that can be utilized in the church.


Elders leading out should:

• Pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be poured out upon the congregation.

• Preach the full gospel with an emphasis on brotherly love.

• Teach what the Scriptures say about brotherly love.

• Treat others as if they are better than we are. Let’s not be respecters of select persons; let’s befriend all church members, regardless of their status.

• Involve as many church members as possible in worship service, not just a select few.

• Be a good example, living out the fruit of the spirit in your life. See Galatians 5:22-26.


• Promote church programs that stimulate fellowship and friendship.

• Host a church fellowship meal (every Sabbath if possible).

• Organize a home fellowship meal. Established church members should take turns inviting lonely members, new members, or recently-transferred members to their homes for dinner. This should be done frequently. It would be helpful if lonely and new members were invited to the homes of church members twice monthly.

• Visit church members who are shut-in, lonely, elderly, or sick, as well as new members and members who do not attend church often. As many members as possible should be involved in visitation.

• Establish a Help/Service program, where members can register as helpers/volunteers and be put on a list so that when help is needed, members know who to contact. Members who need help of some kind can contact those on the list.

• Organize church socials and outings. Be friendly and sociable and avoid cliques.

• Establish a Friendship Ministry.

• Befriend lonely members, new members, or recently-transferred members. Connect these people with other members and with various church ministries and activities. Most important, befriend these individuals.

These are just a few ideas, and I am sure you can come up with many more. Be creative!


Elders need to promote and lead out in love and friendship programs in the church. As members become involved in this type of ministry, they will grow in grace and become more caring and loving. It’s a kind of the you-are-what-you-do method.

Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Would Jesus command us to do something that is impossible for us to do? If He commanded us to do this, then it is possible for us to succeed and to love one another.

Let’s put our trust in Jesus and believe that He can and will do this much-needed work of brotherly love in His church.

Lord Jesus, help us to love one another, even as You have loved us.

Michael Stango works in the General Conference Telecommunications Department. He is an ordained elder and a Minister of Evangelism for the North American Division.