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Ask People, “What Can We Do For You?”

QuestionsIf you study the ministry of Jesus, you’ll notice one of the first questions Jesus asked whenever he met someone was, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Have you ever asked that of your community? That’s not building the church on marketing; that’s being like Jesus. Whether it was the lepers, the poor, the hungry, the woman caught in adultery – or anyone else – Jesus let them set the agenda for the needs He met.

If you don’t meet the felt needs of the people in your community, you’re being un-Christlike.

Just ask people, “What can we do for you? How can we serve you?” Talk to them, survey them, or listen to them. When you read the paper, read it with ministry eyes.

When I started Saddleback, I went door-to-door for 12 weeks talking to people in Orange County. I knew what the people I met really needed was Jesus, but I wanted to listen first to what they thought they needed. That’s not marketing; it’s being polite.

Most people can’t hear about Jesus until they’ve been heard themselves. Intelligent caring conversation opens the door to evangelism with unbelievers like nothing I’ve seen. It’s not the church’s task to give people whatever they want or even need. But the fastest way to build a bridge to the unchurced is to express interest in them and show that you understand the problems they are facing.

Felt needs, whether real or imaginary, are a starting point for expressing love to people.

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