Ministry to strangers, like all addictions …

This entry is part 41 of 118 in the series Diagnosis, Dialogue, Decision: A DMin Project

The stranger focus is widespread within the church today. Christians prefer to share the gospel with strangers. The greater the cross-cultural gulf, the greater the adventure and attraction to minister to strangers. The culture even practices random acts of kindness to strangers. It is a good thing, for example, to bus suburbanites into the inner city to work with the homeless; the relational answer to the problem of the homeless, however uncomfortable and unrealistic it might be, is all those empty bedrooms in suburbia.

            Ministry to strangers, like all addictions, has its own high; at the root it is a means of avoiding long-term intimacy with people. This violates all biblical commands to love one another (1 Corinthians 13, John 13:33-34, 1 John 4:7-8, Matthew 22:35-40). Ministry to strangers allows hypocrisy; pseudo-holiness can impress strangers, but persons who know us immediately notice our lack of holiness, wholeness and a better life because of Christ. John Wesley purged his Societies so that an improving quality of life that resulted from holiness was a clear, consistent witness to the oikos of each individual Methodist.[1] When the Methodists stopped walking to work to listen to the five a.m. evangelistic preaching, those with whom they had influence stopped and also listened. Hypocrisy destroys local influence, but ministry to strangers allows hypocrisy to remain unaddressed.





[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]David Garrison refers to the lack of a healthy, holy contrast as “unsavory salt” and deadly to the spreading of the church. David Garrison, “Seven Deadly Sins: How To Kill A Church Planting Movement” in Mission Frontiers, November-December 2004, 14.

Series Navigation<< Wesley resolved not to preach where he could not include everyone in class meetings for spiritual communityThere were no strangers in Wesley’s Methodism. >>
This entry was posted in Ch 1 The Problem. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.