Just finished reading J. Mack Stiles book Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel. In one particularly moving section filled with application on how evangelism relates the local church, he gave 16 Ways to Demonstrate Love and Unity in the Church and In So Doing Become a Healthy Evangelist:
1) Attend a church that takes the gospel seriously (Hebrews 10:25). Treat form as secondary, the gospel as primary. Incense and candles, rock band worship, liturgy, Gregorian chants, a pastor with tattoos…these are “form” and therefore secondary. Clear gospel proclamation from the leadership is primary.
2) Become an actual member of a church. I’m serious; membership shows your loving commitment to one another. This is truly radical. Go against the grain and show that you are really crazy in love with Jesus and join a church. And just think, the less cool the church the more opportunity to demonstrate real love!
3) Read C.J. Mahaney’s book Humility once a year. This book is a powerhouse of practical help for anyone who desires to be great in the kingdom of God. Mahaney gives us practical tools for demonstrating love and unity in the context of community.
4) Turn down jobs that might take you away from church even if they pay more.
5) Arrange family vacations around your church’s schedule. Or better yet, take your family on a short-term mission trip with other members instead of a family vacation. This will blow people’s minds.
6) If your church doesn’t have a church covenant, think about developing one that expresses your love for each other.
7) Move to a house closer to the church and use your house as a place of hospitality (Romans 12:13).
8) Practice church discipline. It’s biblical (Matthew 18:15-17). This is truly, off-the-charts radical. Church discipline is not usually what people think it is; the goal of church discipline is always to restore, not to punish. You may offend people, but then again you may save some from living a hell on earth.
9) Respect, even revere, the authority in the church (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
10) Turn heads–really practice the biblical teachings of giving and receiving forgiveness. Be quick to forgive others (Ephesians 4:32). Be quick to say you’re sorry (Matthew 5:23-24). Forgiveness may be one of the most radical ways to express love and unity in a congregation, and it’s rarely practiced.
11) Take care of people who are in need physically in your congregation (Romans 12:13).
12) Pray for each other (Ephesians 6:18). Don’t just say you’ll pray. Actually put into place some ways to pray for each and every member.
13) Sympathize with other believers (Romans 12:15). Check a critical spirit.
14) Focus on caring for one another spiritually by discipling one another (Galatians 6:1-2). Though discipling only looks like having lunch, it’s secretly and subversively radical. Over a Caesar salad ask the dangerous question: “How’re things spiritually?”
15) Share your faith together (Philippians 1:27). A loving church committed to each other will see the Lord add to their numbers (Acts 2:42-47). Involve your friends at church with your evangelism.
16) Read Mark Dever’s 9 Marks of a Healthy Church.
J. Mack Stiles, Marks of the Messenger (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2010), pp.107-109
Which of these things need to be applied into your life? Let’s show the world we’re Jesus’ disciples by practicing active love and demonstrating unity toward one another.