Relational Evangelism Gets Recovery

With some of our men at the annual retreat

After serving in a more traditional church setting for a several years we’ve come to really understand the concept of relational evangelism in the ministry we have in the recovery community. A few weeks ago, someone new in this area of ministry made some well-meaning comments that caused me to write these thoughts in a letter to them.

My perspective has changed quite a bit since being in this ministry. The men are continually reshaping my spiritual formation. I would guarantee you more is done on the dock and in the warehouse to lead men to Christ than ever done inside a chapel. When we’re having a meal with them, walking through the warehouse or working along side them in a store we become a living testimony. We have an opportunity to live out what they hear us spout out. 

Two years ago Henry had to terminate the employment of our, then, intake counselor. The man took it well in Henry’s office. However, he later came back and cornered Henry in the day room, calling him all kinds of expletives, displaying extreme anger and using threatening words and tones. This was right before lunch where men were beginning to gather. This employee had quite an audience. The men even began to encircle Henry as a sort of barrier. Henry’s demeanor never changed. His voice never raised. His tone was calm and his words kind. That did more to show people Christ than anything I’ve ever said to them in Celebrate Recovery.

The amazing opportunity we have in the ARC is to live our lives out with each other. It doesn’t allow us to hide behind a pulpit on Sunday or a bible in a mid-week class. It is the most relational ministry the Army has and it’s the relationships we build outside of a specific room that allows us to more understand God’s grace, mercy and love.

Sorry. I don’t mean to sound like I’m preaching to you. I know you know this. I can get quite passionate about things and this is one of them – this wonderful ministry we’re privileged to share and learn on a daily basis about God’s redemptive story.

We don’t need to be freed up for anything except to be here among our men more. The congregation never knew when we were away at officer’s councils because we were always back on Sunday. The men know it, feel it and miss us. To be gone during the week is a big deal to them. 

My intentions were to convey the passion I have for this work. I hope that is what’s always conveyed as I blog about living in graceland.

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