Guest Blogger: Jason Helopoulos

Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Loving one another in the body of Christ has many benefits. Two that regularly come to mind are the glory it gives to God and the way it affects the church. However, one of the primary benefits of loving one another is what it declares before a watching world. One of our most potent instruments we have for effective evangelism is Christians loving each other well.  I am “living” proof.

As a freshman college student and self-declared atheist, I attended a campus Christian fellowship to fulfill a promise to a Christian friend. I only had the intention to go once. It was merely duty and upholding my word, nothing more. I went begrudgingly, but I went. My life was never the same.

I walked into a room full of Christians and was struck by what I observed. Here was a diverse group. They were from every walk of life. I remember scanning the room and labeling people in my mind, “There is a jock, over there is a geek, and walking in the door is a boy scout.” But what struck me was that they were together. They weren’t just together in the same room, they were together in every sense of the word. They were actually talking with each other and genuinely seemed happy to be together. There didn’t seem to be division. Even in my atheist mind, I knew what I was seeing: they loved one another.

I had no categories for this, so I kept returning to find out why they had love like this for one another. Over the course of a few months I found the answer, or more accurately stated, the answer found me.

One of the best evangelism programs you can start at your church is to pursue loving one another well. At some point they will have to hear the gospel proclaimed from your lips or the pulpit, but that “strange love” will set the table before them. People will know that you are His disciples, because it is a shocking love. It has a gravitational attraction, because it is a love that is foreign to this world. A love that the inquirer, if seeking an answer, will find comes from heaven.

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7 thoughts on “Simple Evangelism in the Church”

  1. Jerry says:

    I have met more people leaving church because they just got tired of the lack of love and the proliferation of gossip and judgement. I try to explain to people that there are, in fact, some terrible people in churches (just like every other social group).

    The key is to walk away from such and toward those who are genuine…something that is taking considerably more and more effort to uncover but they are easily reconizeable:
    1) They don’t hang out with gossipers
    2) They are generally happy
    3) They recognize sin, but are so grateful for their own salvation that this is not the focus of their conversation.
    4) Their faith is not the least bit threatened by the circumstances of the world, because they know that everything Christ said would happen is happening.

  2. Caleb Smith says:

    Brilliant concept. If the world is to know that we are Christ’s disciples by our love, then it stands to reason that this knowledge should also lead them to become a part of Christ’s disciples.

  3. Curt says:

    Yes and amen. Gospel proclamation through Word and Sacrament, reinforced by the act of Christians actually loving and caring for each other (rather than judging each other) has been drawing people into salvation since the very beginning of the Church.

    Acts 2:42-47
    And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

  4. Jean-Pierre Schroeder says:

    I hear what you are saying but there is a distinction between getting ones attention and by what leads someone to faith. Romans 10:17, ‘Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message…’ Faith comes through the gospel message not by recognizing that people are Christ’ disciples. When I went to church for the first time I was impressed by the Christians love and the only reason I returned was because of that but it was the spoken message about Jesus that brought me to faith.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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