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Transforming Service

Transforming Service

How do your service efforts introduce people to Jesus?
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Meeting physical needs is crucial, but it rarely leads to deep and lasting change. Integrating social action and evangelism is essential for reaching the whole person, physically and spiritually. We asked seven pastors and ministry leaders to tell us how they're serving their communities in ways that result in spiritual transformation.

Bruce N.G. Cromwell

The Love Apologetic

Patience and grace are powerful tools

Our congregation is blessed and challenged with incredible diversity. We minister to persons with a great deal of wealth and persons who are homeless. We serve recent parolees, recovering drug addicts, workers in the adult entertainment industry, as well as judges and bankers and professors. There are five services at our facilities every Sunday and only two are led in English. And though we sponsor several missionary endeavors around the world, we also have a lot of refugees and immigrants who remind us that mission happens wherever we call home. We'd like to think that this constant focus on "the other" helps us to focus on Jesus.

The primary way that we have seen the people we serve choose to follow Christ is through love. We firmly believe that our best evangelistic efforts are not so much about convincing people that they need to accept Jesus as much as simply loving everybody with the love of Jesus. We don't need to argue for him. We need to be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us, but we cannot approach anybody as an agenda or a project. They are simply people, like any of us, for whom Jesus died. We should love them.

By treating all persons with respect and patience and grace, we've seen people from all backgrounds turn back to God, with whom they were created to have relationship. They have joined us in the journey. And as we love them as unconditionally as we can, they begin to believe that Jesus loves them even more.

—Bruce N. G. Cromwell Central Free Methodist Church, Lansing, Michigan

From Issue: The Outreach Issue, Winter 2012 | Posted: February 13, 2012

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