Care2Share Blog
“I am leaving your church,” a lady told me once.  When I asked her why, she said, “You guys talk too much about outreach.”  What do you say to someone like that?  “Sayonara?”

So many people are clueless about the real mission of the church.  God could have saved us and transported us directly to heaven at the moment of salvation.  But he didn’t do that, did He? Reason being we have work to do here as His ambassadors, carrying the message of salvation through Christ to a lost world.  When our work is done, He will call us home.

The famous theologian Lewis Sperry Chaffer’s words ring true here, “in a well-balanced ministry, Gospel preaching should account for no less than 75% of the pulpit testimony. The remainder may be for the edification of those who are saved.”  I believe in that rule and try to live by it in my pulpit ministry.

Trouble is followers of Christ struggle with what Bill Hybels calls, “the proximity factor.” If you are not close enough to people who need to hear about Christ, you will not succeed as an ambassador, even if you are a most dedicated Christian.

For example, we complain that God has been kept out of public schools but every day across the country godly people can volunteer at schools doing a myriad of things and in the process build a relationship with a student and perhaps even his or her family. We are vocal about illegal immigrants but in many of our cities we have the opportunity to befriend internationals for Christ right where we live. I used to have a t-shirt that said, “I am an illegal immigrant” on the front. On the back it said, “May I hear about Christ legally?” I stopped wearing it when I moved to California…

One family in Canada noticed that all of their neighbors were home only on Sundays when they were involved with church activities. They asked permission from their elders and began to intentionally reach out to their neighbors on Sundays. Several months went by and they came back to one of the Sunday morning services. Someone noticed them and said, “Hey, we haven’t seen you guys for a while, where have you been?” They said, “Oh, we’ve been home-churching.” And after about a year their efforts paid off as several of their neighbors came to Christ.

Some people use their hobbies or special abilities to build bridges into the lives of people they are intentionally trying to bring to Christ. A friend of mine gives free guitar lessons to refugees from Kosovo. Another bakes cookies and delivers to certain neighbors on special occasions such as Birthdays and Anniversaries.  All of these things are ways to gain access into the lives of Christ’s other friends. And as long as we do it with a genuine interest in the person and are not simply looking for an opening to “preach,” we will find a lot of receptive hearts.

This week we will continue our series we are calling “Care 2 Share” with a message on how to build bridges into the lives of our friends. This is a powerful concept. As a matter of fact, I am convinced that if every follower of Christ went back to her/his community with a resolve to be known as the most caring, the most compassionate and friendly person within the neighborhood, just that would open all kinds of doors for us to share our story of redemption with others.

So why not start by being purposefully nice and cheery? That’s not where it ends, but it sure is a good start. The world awaits a new breed of Christians – a more gentle and compassionate one. You don’t believe me? Check out 1 Peter 3:15!

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade