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
Yes, a loving example, friendly behavior, and Christlike attitude
can and will win souls for the kingdom of God.
DIVINE HELP IS NEEDED
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).
LOVE IN THE CHURCH
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
SOME SPIRITUAL METHODS
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.
SOME PRACTICAL METHODS
• 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 are just a few ideas, and I am sure you can come up with
many more. Be creative!
HOW TO MAKE IT WORK
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
Michael Stango works in the General Conference Telecommunications
Department. He is an ordained elder and a Minister of Evangelism
for the North American Division.