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Our First Discussion: Do We Have to Talk About Jesus When We Serve Others? Click Here to Join the Discussion

Last night in our class we talked about the difference between being a church whose main goal is to get people in the doors so we can count them as attenders, and a church whose main goal is to go outside the walls of the church and serve others (of course we want to be the latter). One interesting thing we discussed was whether or not we must always verbally present the gospel when we go out and serve. In other words, if we go out and feed the homeless, is it imperative that we tell them about Jesus while we do it? Or is it enough just to give them something to eat? What do you think?


  1. Lou Ann says:

    Very thought provoking question…generally I think yes we should openly represent why we are doing what we are doing- preferably thru discussion and education. You should assess & measure the depth of the discussion based upon the individual(s)l. Each situation and person is different with different needs at that moment. It may be just enough to say “God Bless You” or “Peace be with You” , a handshake or give a hug to an individual and have the same impact. I look forward to having the opportunity to see if my beliefs are accruate!

    1. Scott Osterberg says:

      I love what you’ve written here, Lou Ann. We must be sensitive to different situations. I know I’ve been places where they tried to cram Jesus down my throat and I didn’t like it at all.

  2. Lou Ann says:

    Yes, I have too. That can happen with any topic if it’s pushed or forced! You just shut down and don’t hear anything and try to get away. I’d love to hear what others think –

  3. Sounds like a great discussion. St. Francis’ often quoted “preach the Gospel everywhere you go, and if necessary use words” seems instructive. My sense is that if we try to live Gospel-shaped lives we will sometimes get asked to tell the story, but if we force the telling of the story, we sometimes fail to live in a Gospel-shaped way.

  4. lou ann says:

    I agree! Have you been in that situation – either side – sharing the word or being pressured?

  5. Tina says:

    I believe that a simple Peace be with you or just a simple Jesus loves you…I had a young man that friends with my youngest son stay over almost every weekend; every weekend I always invite the teens t to join me at church. Of course most will know the answer to that, but this one boy always rebutted with ” I don’t believe is God” – I always kissed each kid on the head and said “Jesus loves you and maybe next weekend”. On one particular night we got to talk, he had many questions, many that I could not answer but I very simply told him, “no matter where I have ever been or gone through my Father has always been with me and loves me” I then explained the promise. Now, he is in college and when I tell him Jesus Love You, he says I know. It was a simple phrasing and nothing crammed just a simple reminder. I think that it is the subtle and the simple things that will let someone understand.

  6. Lou Ann says:

    That is an awesome story! You sound like a very special person.

  7. Wendee says:

    This morning I heard someone say, “to witness is not something to do, but rather, it is something to be.” (I like this . . . )

    When Jesus is my Friend and Lord it seems natural to talk about the One who has changed my life. To withhold it seems odd to me. I think we run into problems when we have step-by-step methods that are about religious goals and not about people.

    The Bible tells me that the Holy Spirit is our Counselor; therefore if I were more open and attentive to God’s nudges through the Holy Spirit, I would know when to speak when I am serving and when to be silent when I am serving . . . . .

  8. Kera says:

    I think there is a time and a place for both options. There are a lot of people who are tired of having religion shoved into their faces. We can SHOW them the love of Jesus and then after having built up a relationship we can tell them about Him. I think as long as people know you are doing things becuase you are showing the God’s love there is not as much need to also talk about it. I love the quote that Nathan used by St. Francis. That is exactly what I think as well!

  9. Pilar says:

    Every person in need has a story to tell. Story that could be painful or hateful sometimes externalized sometimes not. Their anger could be against God.
    I believe that being served by a person that you don’t know, when you need it the most, will by itself bring the presence of Jesus to the both involved in the giving-receiving connection. I don’t think that we need to verbally cite the name of Jesus while we serve. He will show up.

  10. I ask myself; How would jesus answer our discussion question? In reading Mike Slaughter’s book ‘Change the World’, he sums up his discussion regarding the story of the Good Samaritan with the line ‘The fruit is revealing proof of the root’. I want to believe that Jesus would tell us that by humbly serving those in need with an acts of kindness and mercy, we would indeed be revealing him to those we serve. Thats not to say that we should not be spreading the ‘Good News’ to everyone. As Christians we have been called to do that very thing. But through reaching out and serving, maybe we prepare fertile ground, or soften an otherwise hardened heart.

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