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In Acts 9, we're introduced to a remarkable woman named Tabitha. She typifies a very effective—and oftentimes overlooked—style of evangelism: service evangelism.
At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them.
(Acts 9:36-39 NKJV)
Here's a woman who testified to her entire community, not with words, but with good deeds. This represents a powerful style of evangelism, which is frequently overlooked.

Another example of service evangelism is found in the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. While traveling down a road, a good Samaritan came across someone with a need. He selflessly met that man's need. In the same way today, "random acts of kindness" will get a person's attention fast.

If you're not comfortable with the prospect of looking for an opening to verbally share the Gospel message with someone, you can still reach them by finding some way to serve them in a meaningful way.

Then, when they ask how they can thank you, simply say, "How about going to church with me this Sunday?" Being a servant opens the door to an invitation.

I know a pastor whose church experienced phenomenal growth, primarily through service evangelism. He had started his church in a northern city with just a handful of people. They had scraped together enough money to buy a little truck with a snowplow on the front in order to keep the parking lot clear on snowy days.

After the next heavy snow, at the prompting of the Spirit, this pastor got up before dawn and cleared the driveways of all the homes around the church.

Imagine the astonishment and gratitude when people awoke to find their driveway clear and a church business card in the door which read, "Courtesy of the church that cares for you. We wanted to do this for you."

Many of those families ended up going to that pastor's church and being saved. The church grew from three families to 300 people in the first 18 months!

Every year our church's school has an event called "Operation: Good Samaritan." The children go into the homes of the poor and elderly who have great need and overwhelm them with the love of God by doing acts of kindness. They clean garages, mow lawns, rake yards, paint rooms, clean homes.

Many of the people they minister to live in homes with no furniture. They have often furnished people with a whole room full of furniture. They supply beds, dishwashers, dressers, couches, dishes, clothing, toys, pots and pans…whatever the need is, they try to meet it.

The people are so overwhelmed they laugh and cry at the same time. They are truly overwhelmed with love. When the kids finish with their work, they share with them the most important gift of all—the free gift of salvation. Many people are won to the Lord on Operation: Good Samaritan Day. When you reach out to meet someone's physical need, they are open to hear what you have to say.

Service evangelism is a powerful thing. Never feel condemned if this is your preferred style of evangelism. It's valid. It's effective.

And, it's biblical!

Copyright © 2005 Mac Hammond Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Minute, which is seen locally in the Minneapolis area and can also be viewed at winnersminute.com. He is also the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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