It is necessary to use words

A popular quote attributed to Francis of Assisi is “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.”  It is a quote that leads many to believe that if we demonstrate the love of Christ through ministry, we are preaching the gospel.  While there is no doubt that ministry to people in need is vital and commanded in the Bible (both Old Testament and New Testament), ministry without a gospel witness explaining why we do what we do in ministry is incomplete.

It is easy to miss opportunities to share the gospel, even when engaged in ministry. When people are surprised at what we do, this is an open door to explain what compels us.  Peter wrote “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (I Peter 3:15 NIV).  The Message  puts it this way: “Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.”

A person does not have to be a Christian to be kind to others. There are many “good” people who are lost. This is why we encourage youth groups to bring students to participate in Kentucky Changers, even if they are not yet Christ followers. God has put it in each of us to want to do good for others. Students who are not Christians are invited to come work along side those who are.  During a week of working on houses for people in need, they quickly learn that what compels believing students and adults is the love of Jesus. We are so grateful for the strong witness shared with students and homeowners throughout Kentucky Changers, both during the day at job sites, as well as through the evening worship services.

We are grateful for the compassion ministries that are taking place this week through Familyfest. Many of the ministries serve to provide a positive perception of Baptists in the community at large. Cleaning windows at a school or painting at a transitional house for the homeless may not seem like ministries where much witnessing can take place, but our prayer is that doors will be open for Boone’s Creek Baptist Association churches to share the gospel because of the good will created through Familyfest. But we also pray that there will be many saved this week while Familyfest volunteers are here and sharing the gospel as they work.

“Always be prepared” speaks to each one of us. If you are not prepared to share your testimony, write it down and practice. If you are not prepared to share the gospel, get a New Testament and mark the verses you want to share. Write the page number where you want to begin in the cover, and the page to go to next on the subsequent pages.  Buy some tracts and put them in your car, purse, wallet, or whatever you carry with you often.  Get some tracts in other languages, too.

There is an old adage that says “aim at nothing and you will hit it every time.”  If you don’t prepare to share your faith, then you are preparing not to.  The Bible says “always be prepared.”  Get ready to witness and God will bless your preparation.

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