Perhaps you remember as I do, participating in “show and tell” as a child in elementary school. In case you’re not familiar with show and tell, it’s an informative presentation involving the demonstration of an object. While the class may not always need the demonstration of the object to understand the information presented, together, they communicate much more effectively.
Jesus used show and tell as a means of sharing the gospel with those He encountered. He demonstrated the Father’s love and preached the message of salvation. He was always showing and telling, healing and preaching.
1 John 3:18-19 says, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him;”
The Scriptures emphasize the importance of using actions and deeds when sharing the gospel. It doesn’t say stop using words altogether when sharing the gospel. But it does say stop “just” using words. In other words, show and tell the love of God. One of God’s frustrations with His people is that we sometimes honor Him with our lips, but our hearts are often far from Him.
I witnessed a show and tell of the gospel in an effective way on a recent Saturday in Bowling Green when Rich Pond Baptist Church assisted Christ Fellowship Church in conducting a dental clinic. The Kentucky Baptist Convention partnered to provide training, dental supplies and use of the North American Mission Board’s mobile dental unit. Brent Fields, Minister of Missions and Outreach at Rich Pond shared that “this opportunity to meet physical needs served as a bridge for sharing the gospel”.
Preparation for the clinic began months in advance with training, enlistment of professionals and canvassing of the neighborhood. On the day of the clinic, over 35 volunteers worked together to shepherd almost 100 refugees through registration and dental screening, cleaning and pulling teeth, filling cavities and ending pain. While waiting to be treated, patients heard volunteers share stories of salvation and life transformation. All day long it was a show and tell of the gospel.
The churches intentionally targeted a refugee population from Africa because of their desire to develop an on-going ministry to their new to Bowling Green friends. Brent shared that he overheard one volunteer tell a patient from the Congo, “we do this because Christ loves us … and He loves you too!” Every person coming to the clinic was part of a show and tell as they were shown love in a practical way and told about the gospel of Christ. Brent also commented that “the dental clinic provided professionals an opportunity to use their skills to demonstrate the love of Christ”.
Churches of any size can show and tell the gospel in their own community and a dental clinic is not the only way to do it. Other ways to show and tell include after school ministries with children, pregnancy care, small group ministry to recovering addicts or ex-offenders, food and clothing distributing, foster parenting or adoption, rent or utility assistance, parenting courses, home repair, ESL classes, tutoring, etc. There is no limit to the many ways we can show and tell about the love of Christ.
We must open our mouths to fully express the gospel, but using only words doesn’t fully demonstrate His love. Live the gospel and share the gospel. Words and deeds. Lips and life. Walk and talk. Show and tell!