Tuesday, August 5, 2014

intentional not random

The title caught my attention, the rest of the book held it. How to Pick up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness by Todd and Erin Stevens (Thomas Nelson, 2014) is a delightful read.  Todd pokes fun at himself throughout the book and in doing so points out how many Christians, on a regular basis, miss opportunities to model the message of love that Jesus left for all His disciples – not just Peter and Friends.

The Stevens serve at Friendship Community Church in Nashville, and Erin, after prayer and fasting felt a call to minister to Strippers in the area. This book chronicles their journey of ministering and showing love to people that often get ignored by the church because they function outside the realm of respectability. But the ministry works, and Pastors Stevens share their successes here.

This is a book about outreach, about evangelism, about sharing the gospel. Friendship Church does things a little differently than many other churches, but their intentional (NOT random) acts of kindness have made a lasting impact on many people in their areas of influence. Stevens gives lots of examples of acts of kindness: buying gas, buying lunch, doing laundry, washing windshields – and reminds the reader that the acts are done with no strings attached. This is just a way of demonstrating Jesus’ love.

A lot of what is in this book is common sense, something that many people seem to have only in limited amounts. Stevens talks about things we probably know, but often forget- things like meet people where they are, serve and love like Jesus did, and as Christians we’re called to love everyone, even that bunch of (________)s that we wish would disappear into thin air. But I need to be reminded from time to time of things that I already know.

The last chapter (other than the one that the reader is supposed to write) covers prayer. I was confused: why wasn't this at the front of the book? But as I thought about it, it makes sense to provide knowledge of what and who to pray for when starting out on a new journey.

Is this book a great theological treatise? Probably not so much. Is it enjoyable and entertaining? Yes. Is it informative and instructional? Definitely.

Somebody had to think outside the box to get the idea of heading to a strip club for outreach and evangelism. That’s good….mankind hasn't yet created a box big enough to contain God.  When we learn to love like Jesus, we find that the box isn't big enough for love either.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review. 

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