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 explain, "Churches that are effective in bringing people to Christ are doing so through relationship building." Serving alongside non-Christians to meet a common need, they suggest, offers a congregation the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with its neighbors and allows 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?"
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