Is Compassion Ministry in Your Evangelism Toolbox?

A passage I go to a lot when I speak with a group or even sometimes during an Inasmuch training with a church or association of churches is Luke 4. There in verses 16 – 20, Jesus is in his hometown synagogue, stands up, and begins teaching. He was reading from the book of Isaiah, which reads, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor., He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” Then he closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. All of the people’s eyes were completely fixed on Him. 

I can imagine him standing there as he opened the scroll, read those words, and then did a mic drop. He said so little, but truly, he said a great deal about his mission on this earth. This was the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. He was basically telling everyone in those verses exactly what he would be doing for the rest of his days on this earth. And this is how it sums up: Share the Gospel and Help People. Evangelize and Serve. 

Now, a simple question. If we are followers of Jesus, shouldn’t we be doing exactly what Jesus did while on the earth? We should also be serving others and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. 

Lately, I have had some great conversations about evangelism and serving and how all of that can fit together in a Christian’s life. On three occasions over the last week, this topic was brought up, so I just thought this month I would talk a little about how we should use opportunities to serve others to share the gospel with others. 

While speaking at a church just last week about Operation Inasmuch, a lady raised her hand after I was finished speaking and wanted to know how they could do a better job of getting to know neighborhood people and inviting them to church. She had one specific neighbor in mind with her question. Now, that is not exactly the same thing as evangelism, but I assume that her inviting these neighbors to church was one way for these folks to hear the gospel. I gathered from her question that they had tried a few things, but they were not having success. 

In 2024, it is harder to use some of the same tactics we have used in the past. Notice I said harder… not impossible. First, we can’t sit back with the church doors open and expect people just to come. Second, it is more difficult and, some would say, more dangerous to go door to door witnessing and inviting people to church. Again, it still works in some areas, but it is just not as widespread in today’s world. 

In the confines of my presentation about Operation Inasmuch, I challenged this lady to go over and meet this person and see if the church could serve them in some way. Maybe they have a home repair project, or maybe they have food, utilities, or transportation needs. Sometimes, we can first show people we love them before ever even telling people we love them. Once this person sees that the people in this church are real and genuine people, they have a much better opportunity to build a relationship, invite them to church, and share the gospel. 

Often, we get reports back from churches that have done their own Inasmuch Day or Inasmuch United. We love to hear your stories of how God used your church to love on people, spread hope, and tell people about Jesus right there in your local community. Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC, recently held their annual Inasmuch Day. I just loved some of the stories from the projects that were turned in by the project leaders. One thing I noticed this year was how intentional the teams were being about evangelizing. One team spent the day visiting with people who were not mobile and could not get out to church. They prayed, shared about Jesus, and even shared communion with many of those folks. The gospel was also shared at many of the other sites, such as a pregnancy center, a soccer clinic, and an Easter Egg Hunt. One project involved simply planting flowers and/or delivering pots of flowers to porches. There was even one person who served on the flower project and is now a regular attendee of Snyder because of this very project two years prior. 

These teams also prayed and shared their hope with a Syrian refugee family that the church is ministering to this year. They shared a meal together, played basketball, and completed a big yard clean-up, all while having conversations and building relationships around Jesus. 

One of the reports came from a project with the local juvenile detention center in their town. They went and completed art projects with nine students for just under three hours that morning. Project Leader Buck Walker said, We then presented the creation account in the Bible to emphasize the student’s unique role in God’s plan, shared our own testimonies, and invited them to pray to receive Christ as their Savior. Four of the students became Christians that day! We welcomed them to the family of God and continue to pray with thanksgiving.”

These weren’t chance meetings. These were intentional interactions with people that were lost, abandoned, rejected, refugees, “prisoners”, and in need of a Savior. So, this church WENT. They have compassion ministry in their evangelism toolbox! I asked Susie Reeder, Minister of Missions at Snyder, if they teach and train any specific technique for when their church goes out on these Inasmuch Days. She said, “No. They just do it. Serving makes it easier to share as you are helping people. They want to know, ‘Why?’ And as 1 Peter 3:15 tells us, ‘….always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.’”

There is no one perfect way to do evangelism. It can be done one-on-one, in a large group setting such as a church, a crusade, door-to-door, through prison bars, through media, or through serving someone. So, no matter how you choose to share the gospel, remember that it must be done. 

Operation Inasmuch is a perfect way to connect serving and evangelism in the local church. Let’s go back to Jesus’ words in Luke 4. His earthly mission was to share the gospel and help people. He was sharing both the Good Word and a good deed. Just like in verse 20, ALL OF THE EYES OF THE CHURCH should be fixed on Him and doing what he modeled for us while He was here. That is what Operation Inasmuch is all about. Being the hands of Jesus in our local communities, getting the church outside the walls, loving the unloved, serving the unserved, and reaching out to the unchurched. If we are doing these things, we are going to have more and more chances to tell someone how the God of the universe changed our lives and how he wants to change theirs, too. 

So, if you are a Christian, I’ll ask again. Is serving others in your evangelism toolbox? If not, let me encourage you to add it and give it a try. Operation Inasmuch would love to help your church get more of your congregation outside the church walls more often. Please contact our office at (865) 951-2511 for more information.  

Written by:
Gene Whaley

Ministry Director

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