After we read Acts 13:13-16, you may ask: “What does this passage have to do with medical missions?”
A New Testament Pattern for Evangelism
by Dr. Chuck Hurlburt, MD
Paul and Barnabas took advantage of their position, of their background, of their abilities, and of their education to gain an audience so they could share the Gospel. The lesson is that every Christian should use whatever God has given them—their talents, their training, their background, whatever—to gain an audience with others to share the Gospel. That’s good biblical strategy for evangelism. God doesn’t give us talents and abilities and privileges just to bless us. He gives them to us so we can use them to serve Him. And that’s exactly what Grace Dental and Medical Missions does. We have something to offer people: medical and dental services. Those services are especially needed in places like Benin and they are wanted. So the biblical principle is to use that situation to share the Gospel. That’s exactly what we do. In order to receive the medical treatment they want, people have to wait in line and while they wait, they listen to the Gospel which is usually given in their language by national pastors or missionaries. It’s a simple strategy and it’s very effective.
Most of the people we saw at medical clinics in Benin were probably Muslim. Now, if you’d gone into a Dendi village and said, “Were going to have an evangelistic service and all are welcome,” I don’t think you’d have a good attendance. But if you offered medical services, they would come. The other place we saw that was with the Fulani tribe in Benin; they are standoffish, keeping to themselves; they don’t even mix with the other tribes nearby. The missionary in Benin, Collin Ovenell, said that they have had a struggle to reach the Dendi people because they view the missionaries as outsiders. But yet, if we offered medical or dental services they would come to us and heard about the One who died to save them. The last time we were there they came for the services offered and we use the opportunity to introduce them to Jesus Christ. Just like Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13. And that’s the strategy of Grace Dental and Medical Missions—I think it’s a good one.
What were the results of Paul’s sermon as noted in Acts 13:42-49? This is what happens when an ambassador serves dependent on God’s grace. Did you catch what happened at the end of this passage? Paul and Barnabas were bold—God was glorified, people were saved, the Word of the Lord spread. That’s what happens when we serve dependent on God’s grace.
I want to challenge each one of you to use whatever God has given you— not just your talents and your abilities—but your situations in life: your associations, your occupation, the contacts that you have with people. Use them as an opportunity for an audience to share the Gospel. I believe that’s the biblical pattern for missions and the standard for Christian evangelist individually.
(Dr. Hurlburt was the featured speaker at the GDMMissions 2016 Annual Banquet. This article is taken from his comments and was published in Sowing by Grace.)