Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. ~ Philippians 2:4 ESV.
The Lord God has told us what is right and what he demands: “See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God.” ~ Micah 6:8 CEV.
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. ~ James 1:27 NLT.
Do what is right and fair. The Lord loves that more than sacrifices. ~ Proverbs 21:3 ERV.
Ellen G. White
"They knew not that the explanation lay in the very words they had uttered as a scornful charge, “This man receiveth sinners.” The souls who came to Jesus felt in His presence that even for them there was escape from the pit of sin. The Pharisees had only scorn and condemnation for them; but Christ greeted them as children of God, estranged indeed from the Father’s house, but not forgotten by the Father’s heart. And their very misery and sin made them only the more the objects of His compassion. The farther they had wandered from Him, the more earnest the longing and the greater the sacrifice for their rescue." ~ Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 186
"Upon your faithfulness in this work not only the well-being of others but your own eternal destiny depends. Christ is seeking to uplift all who will be lifted to companionship with Himself, that we may be one with Him as He is one with the Father. He permits us to come in contact with suffering and calamity in order to call us out of our selfishness; He seeks to develop in us the attributes of His character—compassion, tenderness, and love. By accepting this work of ministry we place ourselves in His school, to be fitted for the courts of God. By rejecting it, we reject His instruction, and choose eternal separation from His presence." ~ Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 388.
"There are those who would think it lowering to their dignity to minister to suffering humanity. Many look with indifference and contempt upon those who have laid the temple of the soul in ruins. Others neglect the poor from a different motive. They are working, as they believe, in the cause of Christ, seeking to build up some worthy enterprise. They feel that they are doing a great work, and they cannot stop to notice the wants of the needy and distressed. In advancing their supposedly great work they may even oppress the poor. They may place them in hard and trying circumstances, deprive them of their rights, or neglect their needs. Yet they feel that all this is justifiable because they are, as they think, advancing the cause of Christ." ~ Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 382.
"The qualities which it is essential for all to possess are those which marked the completeness of Christ’s character,—His love, His patience, His unselfishness, and His goodness. These attributes are gained by doing kindly actions with a kindly heart.... Christians love those around them as precious souls for whom Christ has died. There is no such thing as a loveless Christian; for “God is love.” ... “This is my commandment, That ye love one another as I have loved you.” This is the fruit that is to be given back to God." ~ Manuscript 133-1899,September 20, 1899, par. 22.
"Let not the youth be ignored; let them share in the labor and responsibility. Let them feel that they have a part to act in helping and blessing others. Even the children should be taught to do little errands of love and mercy for those less fortunate than themselves." ~ Testimonies for the Church Vol. 6, p. 435.
- Stanley, Andy. (2012). Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
- “People are far more interested in what works than what’s true. I hate to burst your bubble, but virtually nobody in your church is on a truth quest. Including your spouse. They are on happiness quests. As long as you are dishing out the truth with no here’s the difference it will make tacked on the end, you will be perceived as irrelevant by most of the people in your church, student ministry, or home Bible study. You may be spot-on theologically, like the teachers of the law in Jesus’ day, but you will not be perceived as one who teaches with authority. Worse, nobody is going to want to listen to you” (p. 114).
- Keck, David. (2014). Healthy Churches, Faithful Pastors: Covenant Expectations for Striving Together. London, UK: Rowman and Littlefield.
- Healthy, meaning-filled churches have identities and roles in their communities. They have a sense that they are sharing in something larger than themselves--indeed, that they are responsible stewards of their own corner of the kingdom of God. Through their experience of working hard together on challenging tasks, they come to know the power of God. Whether they have a formal mission statement or not, every member of a healthy congregation trusts that they have a common purpose that brings out the best in them (p. 17).
- Lewis, Robert and Wilkins, Rob. (2003). The Church of Irresistible Influence. Grand Rapids, MI: ZondeRvan Publishing House.
- “We do not, as many think, live an age that despises belief. Rather, it is an age that wants to believe, desperately so. Deeply disillusioned by the failure of human reason and logic, it is open to outside – and even supernatural—explanations… But it trusts nothing except what it can see and, more importantly, experience.” (p. 40-41).
- “I saw that more preaching is not the answer to today’s spiritual hunger. Neither is the writing of more books, the hosting of more conferences, better technology or special effects... the world is tired of the church impersonally talking down and chewing it up. What the world waits to see is whether what we have is better than what they have.” (p. 45-46).
- “The church we believe should be a force of irresistible influence in its community. By building bridges of real spiritual integrity between itself and an increasingly skeptical society, we possess the power and authority to be a catalyst for change and an engine of influence.” (p. 56).
- “The true measures of a church are not ‘how many’ but ‘how loving’, not ‘how relevant’ but ‘how real.’” (p. 72).
- People want purpose, meaning, and fulfillment in their serving. Anything less will feel like Israel’s “forced labor” in Egypt: empty and oppressive (p. 102)
- So in every church, regardless of size and resources, there are two very practical ways to build a bridge of irresistible influence, two ways to effectively connect the church to the community, two ways to be salt and light. One way is by equipping your congregation to directly influence your community through the lifestyles they pursue and the good works they effectively initiate. . . The other way to irresistible influence is by developing the life and leadership skills of a young bridge builder. . . . Despite all that today’s churches are consumed with (or consumed by), finding and training young godly leaders is of supreme importance. The future of the evangelical church rests in how well we do. (p. 186)
- Cole, Neil. (2005). Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
- Church attendance, however, is not the barometer for how Christianity is doing. Ultimately, transformation is the product of the Gospel. It is not enough to fill our churches we must transform our world. Society and culture should change if the church has been truly effective… The measure of the church’s influence is found in society--on the streets, not in the pews. We are not alone in this ecclesiastical descent. All around the world whenever the church follows the Western institutional pattern, its influence is on the decline (p. xxiii)
- As the world looks at our churches in the West,it sees only what people have done, and is not impressed. We scheme, “What can we do to make our churches more appealing to the people in our community?” This is, once again, the wrong question. Once the world begins to see Jesus in our midst, many more people will be attracted to our churches. A better question is, “Where is Jesus at work in our midst?” Where do we see lives changing, and communities transforming simply by the power of the Gospel? Where do we see fathers restored to a life of holiness and responsibility? Where do we see daughters reconciling with fathers? Where do we see addicts who no longer live under the bindage of chemical dependency? Where are wealthy businessmen making restitution for past crimes that went unnoticed? These are the questions that lead you to the presence of God’s kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven (p. 52-53).