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We’ve been trained to present information. In fact, we offer class after class focusing on evangelism, discipleship, mission and ministry but rarely give people the opportunity to step out and put an incarnational ministry (being like Christ) approach into practice.
Our neighbors have heard our information. They have read our tracts. And they have seen how we treat a waitress who is running behind because of a coworker calling in sick. Information without evidence of transformed life in Christ is usually ineffective and perhaps does more harm than good.
I remember taking a group of teens to participate in a phone bank for a church plant. It was our job to call through a list and ask if people were church attenders and then to invite them to try out the church plant if they were unchurched. I was upset by the conclusion my group made after their experience. Sixteen year old Judy summed it up saying, “Church people are mean.”
Perhaps it was just a bad day but we did find that the most hangups and rude responses came from people who identified themselves as church attenders. We had great conversations with numerous unchurched people. I had hoped that church people would encourage our kids for serving and be excited about an effort to reach people for Christ but that was far from what took place.
We have to demonstrate the love of Christ through having a true servant heart. Informational and incarnational must go hand-in-hand if we are to impact people for Christ. If we simply serve without presenting the information we fail to introduce Jesus. If we give information without valuing people and being willing to serve, our message falls on deaf ears. We must earn the right to be heard.