Some Christians are skilled at proclamation, while others specialize in social engagement. But the only way to really get the job of evangelism done, and give people something real to hope for, is to find that sweet spot of bold declaration and clear demonstration of the good news. In his new book, Hope Unleashed: Serving God through Words and Actions (David C Cook, August 2009), Andy Hawthorne inspires Christians to serve others through acts of kindness without compromising the gospel message.
“The famous words of Francis of Assisi are being bandied around everywhere: ‘Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words,’” writes Hawthorne. “The only problem is, I don’t really feel that this quote from the great man describes the heart of what we should be doing at all. A much better way of describing evangelism to me would be: ‘Preach the gospel at all times with your actions and with your words.’”
As a young man committed to bringing the Christian message to youth in his hometown of Manchester, England, Andy Hawthorne was shocked when a missions partner told him he shouldn’t just preach the gospel but also engage in community projects. What did washing someone’s car have to do with the gospel? But Hawthorne enacted the idea and today his mission organization, Message Trust, has been praised internationally as bringing hope and change to the roughest, poorest neighborhoods of Manchester.
“It’s right that you can’t get a ten-ton truck across a one-ton bridge, and that if we try and bring our great juggernaut of gospel proclamation into the community without any bridge maintenance, it’s all going to collapse,” Hawthorne says. “However, it’s equally true that if we build a beautiful, highly polished bridge of kindness, service, and generosity, and yet never bring the truck across the bridge, we haven’t got the job done either. For me, the secret to success in any ministry is to genuinely combine the two.”
Written in a warm, passionate, nonreligious style, Hope Unleashed is filled with practical ideas and strategies for Christian missions based on word and deed. While sharing inspiring stories from his own experiences in ministry, Andy draws principles from Scripture that will both inform our actions and keep us mindful of the need to “give a reason for the hope that is within us.”
Andy Hawthorne is a British evangelist, author, and founder of the Message Trust, an award-winning Christian mission organization dedicated to bringing the gospel message to the poorest neighborhoods of Hawthorne’s hometown of Manchester, England. A popular speaker at Christian conferences, Hawthorne is also a regular contributor to Youthwork and Christianity magazines. He is the author of Diary of a Dangerous Vision and The Smile of God.
Hope Unleashed is available from Christianbook.com and Amazon.com
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