A summary and discussion questions are below:
Samuel Moffet’s article, “Evangelism: The Leading Partner”, addressed the tension between the tasks of evangelism and of meeting physical needs. It points out that in the New Testament, evangelism is the announcement of Christ’s kingdom that included an invitation to enter that kingdom by faith and with repentance. However, the proclamation of the kingdom never was so narrow that it isolated the needs of the poor. For Moffet, faith and works are in partnership and the leading partner driving focus in missions is evangelism.
Another issue to explore when seeking people in need is that strategy matters. In fact, some methods of helping people that may initially meet a need could actually cause long-term damage in the community. Samuel Voorhies’ article gave perspective by separating help from within and without, as well as focused on immediate needs and their underlying causes. Christian transformational development is helping local leadership and resources meet a community’s basic physical and spiritual needs in the name of Christ.
Questions for Discussion and Reflection:
- Do you agree with Moffett’s suggestion that evangelism is the “leading partner” in developing ministry strategy and priorities?
- In what way could meeting someone’s physical needs be harmful in the long run?
- Why is it important to bring in the community to solve local needs when large relief agencies from the outside are often more efficient?