In Search of “Biblical Symmetry”
A faithful witness requires service and evangelism.
by Drew Dyck
My church is big on service.
So big, in fact, that we cancel every fourth Sunday gathering and spend the morning serving the community. We paint houses, rake leaves, serve the homeless, finish basements—you name it.
Our efforts have borne fruit. We’ve built ties to the refugee community, established a partnership with the elementary school where we meet, and helped our neediest neighbors. Dozens of students from a local Christian college have also joined us, drawn by our emphasis on service.
But there’s one crucial thing our service hasn’t done: led people to faith in Jesus.
Recently our pastor lauded our service efforts but lamented our failure to evangelize. “We haven’t baptized anyone in more than two years!” he said, before issuing a challenge for us to share the gospel with words as well as actions.
I don’t want to be too hard on my church. Other congregations also struggle to strike a balance between proclaiming the gospel and demonstrating it. For many the pendulum seems stuck in the opposite direction. They’re more apt to focus on evangelism while doing little to meet their community’s physical needs. Some even deride social action as a futile enterprise, just “straightening deck chairs on the Titanic.”
Our pastor lauded our service efforts while lamenting our failure to evangelize. “We haven’t baptized anyone in more than two years!”
Why this polarization? How do we combine compassionate action and evangelism?
To understand the current landscape, it’s worth glancing in the rearview mirror…
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