“What do you want your church to be known for?”, I was asked.
“I want this community to know that Walnut Hill Church loves them,” I replied. I want people to know we care about them, and that we are for them, even if they will never darken the doorway of our church.
I believe that this is what Jesus demonstrated on earth; and I believe that’s what Christ’s church is called to be and do. (In this way we demonstrate the Gospel that we ourselves need, have received, and that we declare.)
I have been at Walnut Hill only a short time. But I have already seen that love more thoroughly characterizes this church than any I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve known wonderfully loving people in our other churches – and been recipient of their gracious affections – but love just seems to permeate Walnut Hill. So while expressing unconditional love for our community is a tall order, I have hope that by God’s grace at work in us we will be able to both demonstrate & declare the Gospel: the free gift of the Grace of Jesus Christ.
And we are not alone…My good friend, Don Waltermeyer, just sent me this article that appeared in the local paper in Washington, PA. It’s such a great example I wanted to share it…
Church Uses Free Food, Football to Spread Gospel
In Luke 9:11we read of Jesus encountering a crowd of people, and we’re told, “He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.” This was typical of Jesus. He taught them God’s truth and then often He would heal or feed them. He was concerned primarily with their spiritual needs but cared deeply about their physical needs, too. The more we become like Jesus the more concerned we will be about the physical and spiritual needs of others.
In my pastoral experience I have observed that the longer a person is a Christian, the less evangelistic he tends to be. This is obviously not a mark of growth or Christ-likeness, but of spiritual stagnancy. We must consciously fight this tendency toward “evangelism erosion.”
How have you been demonstrating a concern for the physical and spiritual needs of others? Have you shown it through helping to provide for someone’s food, clothing, shelter, or health needs? Have you proven it through praying, giving, witnessing, or encouraging?
A sure sign of Christian growth is seeing needs you never saw before and beginning to meet them.
– This post is 5 of 10 excerpted from 10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health by Donald Whitney