Get Outside the Walls
It has been said that evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. I love this statement because it's simple, and it's true. Implied in this statement is also the idea that part of evangelism is helping meet someone's physical needs.
We know this is true. In John 6, we find one of the clearest examples of Christian service by Jesus himself. In John 6, the crowds gathered around Jesus. Then Jesus asked his disciples where they would get the food to feed such a large crowd. It wasn't long before Jesus did a great miracle by feeding thousands of people with just a little bread and a few fish. Shortly after, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."
Jesus met physical needs before he addressed spiritual needs.
One of the hallmarks of Christian service is the willingness to serve others without asking for anything in return. In Matthew 20:28, we read that even Jesus came to serve and not be served. Anytime you find tragedy or natural disasters in the world, you will find Christians serving. Four Christian aid workers died on the tragic plane crash that just took place in Ethiopia. Wherever you find people, you will find Christians serving.
Serving is simply a selfless act in which a believer in Jesus gives up his or her time to help someone else or to share the love of God in a simple and tangible way. How easy is that? It is incredibly simple, yet it is also incredibly effective at helping other people see Jesus in us.
Service may take many forms. It may take the form of sending money to organizations that specialize in certain types of service. It may take the form of volunteering at a place that feeds people in need. It may be as simple as mowing your neighbors lawn, buying someone's meal, or even a smile to someone who seems downcast (don't underestimate how a smile might brighten someone's day).
When we gather as a church on March 31st, one of the ideas we will emphasize is serving outside the walls of the church by getting personally involved in volunteering, serving, and helping others. We will share ideas on how you can serve in our community in ways that build connections with the unchurched.
We will also provide everyone with plenty of "Random Acts of Kindness" cards to use. These are simple cards you can use to do something nice for someone (more on this later).
Undoubtedly, Christian service is not complete without eventually sharing the gospel story and inviting someone into the faith. The importance of serving cannot be understated though, for without it, we may never gain a listening ear. The saying is true, "people don't care what you know until they know how much you care."