My husband, Keith, and I frequent a local
restaurant where the wings are served hot and the fries extra crispy. We
usually have the same server, and we’ve come to know her quite well during our
weekly visits. More aptly, she’s gotten to know us—our likes and dislikes. She
anticipates our every need. When our glasses are half empty, she’s there to
fill them. When the last bite is taken, she’s there to remove our plates. With
any slight expression of need, she responds with great care.
Isn’t that the posture of a Christian who’s called to be a living sacrifice
for the Lord? We’re to be highly trained at interpreting the signs of the
Spirit’s work, and we’re to step up to the table at every prompting. We are to
notice the needs of those around us and respond as Christ would. Jesus taught
us to wash each other’s feet and to meet each other’s needs. That’s the basis
of ministry evangelism—meeting people’s needs in Jesus’ name.
In our cover story “Breaking the Ice” you’ll read about a church in Alicia,
Arkansas, that noticed the needs of its community and responded with an
outpouring of the love of Christ. Instead of being frightened or overwhelmed by
a serious drug problem that plagued their town, they reached out to those who
needed help breaking the bonds of addiction. Alicia Baptist Church didn’t limit
their ministry to spiritual needs. They ministered to the physical needs as
You’ll also want to read Reflections (p. 6) by Charles Roesel, former pastor
of First Baptist Church, Leesburg, Florida. Thirty years ago he led his church
to reach out to their community through ministry evangelism. With more than 70
ministries—some for women in the midst of crisis pregnancy, others for the
homeless, still others for those with addictions—FBC Leesburg seeks to minister
to the whole person. In the midst of all the ministries the church has never
lost site of the primary need we all have: the need for Christ in our
What about your church? Where has God placed you? Every community is unique.
What are the needs He has put at your doorstep? When it comes to using felt
needs as an open door for evangelism, the possibilities are limitless. God
cares about every part of a person’s life—spiritual, emotional, intellectual,
relational and physical.The church can offer hurting people a place where they
can find love, acceptance, guidance and, most of all, hope.
Our ultimate model for ministry evangelism of course must be Jesus. When we
look at His ministry, we see that He was consistently concerned with the
physical needs of those with whom He came in contact. Many who came to Him were
seeking only to have their physical needs met. But Jesus didn’t leave it at
that and neither should we. The greatest difference the church can make is the
eternal difference that only comes through salvation. That’s what separates us
from every other charity seeking to do good works.
But in the meantime, we must be willing to address the physical crisis in a
person’s life. It might be the very thing God is using to draw that person
closer to Him. I believe in a gospel that’s strong enough to take on the needs
of our world. And we have a sacred assignment to help bring new life to those
stuck in the old one.
Carol Pipes, editor, email@example.com
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