As I’ve mentioned in previous blog entries, a tension often arises between meeting practical needs and making disciples. We are called to serve others and love them, no strings attached. Whether people respond to Jesus or not, we love and serve them no differently. And yet never sharing the gospel at all isn’t very loving either—that ignores the spiritual needs and strips the church of its core.
Yet I’ve found very few organizations that are able to balance compassion, service and justice on the one side without neglecting evangelism, disciple-making and church planting on the other side… or vice versa. The needs are so great that eventually you’ll go one direction or the other. It’s hard to keep the balance.
That’s why I’ve come to believe that—in most cases—it’s best to have two distinct organizations: one to focus on each of those ends. On the service side not everyone has to be a believer, allowing for people to build redemptive relationships. Then the church planting side allows for focused spiritual development and exploration. For the integrity of both, it’s good to have them be separated. For unity, it’s best to have them be organized under one umbrella. One team—two distinct entities in a symbiotic relationship.