04 September 2014

Lately I've been reading about "picking up strippers... and... serving people just as they are."

That's a pretty a astonishing statement.

That's because that was the topic of the latest book I picked to review.

And since I know you are already thinking the question... 

I'll go ahead and answer it.


I ABSOLUTELY picked this book because I was intrigued by the outrageous title... the provocative line drawing of high heeled shoes on the cover... the splash of scarlet on an otherwise gray scale cover.

After all, books with stripper in the title are not often on the shelves at your local Christian bookstore - be those virtual shelves or real (and heavy) wooden ones.

I was intrigued. Wouldn't you have been?

How to Pick up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness, by Todd and Erin Stevens, was challenging, refreshing and just downright fun to read. In fact, I read several chapters aloud to my husband as we were traveling last weekend. Todd pastors Friendship Community Church in Nashville, TN, and a key focus of their church is servant evangelism. Basically, what that means is that meeting needs, serving others, and spreading kindness - no strings attached - is evangelistic in nature when the goal is sharing God's love to others. This approach recognizes that spiritual growth (which most followers of Jesus recognize as a process after salvation) is also a process prior to salvation and our goal should always be encouraging people to move one step closer to knowing Jesus. One of their goals, as a church is to "aim love outward... to love [their] community in such a way that if [they] closed the doors tomorrow and ceased to exist as a church, then even the people who had never visited us on a Sunday would miss us terribly... [which] will only happen if [they] demonstrate love for [others] at a level they have never before experienced and would have never expected."

One of the outworkings of that philosophy (and the inspiration for the title of the book) led to Erin Stevens (Todd's wife) deciding to serve - extravagantly - those who worked at one of the strip clubs in town. Servant evangelism isn't their only push, however, in their desire to meet people where they are. They also encourage what they've labeled as kindness evangelism and Good Samaritan outreach. The ultimate goal is always to connect with people in a relevant way and to encourage them to make even the tiniest steps towards knowing God.

Hands down, this is one of the best books I've read on community outreach and serving those all around us. I don't know if I say that because it resonates with a direction I've been compelled to move in recent months or if it has challenged me even more to actively be a servant evangelist, but either way, I highly recommend this book. 

Let me know if you are interested in reading this one!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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