I’ve been asked this question many times this week with regards to ministry (I’d like to add this is with regards to long-term ministry). It’s been something that God has been revealing to me ever more clearly this past month or so.
“What works?” in other words; “How do we best share/express the Gospel with people who have no affiliation with Church, Christianity or Jesus?” When asked this question there is only ever one answer I give; “Love, unconditional love.”
I’ve seen people’s reaction when I say that. I’ve experienced the people who will tell me that it is not enough because I need to openly vocalise the Gospel, clearly pointing out people’s sin and their need of a Saviour. I’ve watched as people slump back in their chair with a smug smile on their face because they think this idea of love is simple. I’ve had people come up to me with tears in their eyes and ask “How do you do that?”
Before I carry on I want to explicitly say that I am a firm believer in sharing the whole Gospel with people, not just through actions but through conversation as well. However, I have found the door of this opportunity opens when people know they are truly loved. People are not projects. When people become projects for you then your love is fake and your message is tainted.
What does unconditional love look like?
- Unconditional love sees someone at their worst but chooses to view them in light of their best.
- Unconditional love asks the difficult and honest questions without shuddering at the answers.
- Unconditional love witnesses the heartbreak and pain in people’s lives and helps pick up the pieces without fear of getting hurt in the process.
- Unconditional love gets disappointed and rejected, yet it never gives up.
- Unconditional love cries with people in the moment but knows and believes for the better days that are to come.
- Unconditional love doesn’t scream “I told you so” but softly reminds that there’s grace to carry on and forgiveness to start over.
- Unconditional love holds it’s arms out for a hug regardless of what people think.
- Unconditional love says “I won’t walk away no matter how far you push me.”
I believe with all my heart that when we practice unconditional love we reflect the heart of God the Father. People start asking why we haven’t given up on them, or why we’re still there. What perfect way to share the Gospel explaining that we only love because we know love Himself and He is desiring more people to come and know Him.
‘If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us.’ – 1 John 4:15-19