Repent and Turn Ministries

Learn how to share your faith...Simply...Effectively...Biblically                                                  

The Serving Style

Biblical Example:  Tabita (Dorcas) in Acts 9

Theme Verse:  Matthew 5:16 (NLT)
In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly father.


  • Patient
  • Others-centered
  • Sees needs and finds joy in meeting them
  • Shows love through action more than words
  • Attaches value to even menial tasks


  • Remember that although "words are no substitute for actions," "actions are no substitute for words" either!  In Romans 10:14 Paul says that we must verbally tell people about Christ.  You can do this in many ways as you point to him as the central motivation for your acts of service. 
  • Don't underestimate the value of your service.  It is your style that will reach the hardest-to-reach people.  Acts of loving service are hard to resist and difficult to argue with. 
  • Be discerning as to how much you can do realistically, without depriving yourself or your family of needed care and attention. 

Suggestions for Using and Developing This Style

  • Find creative ways to communicate the spiritual motivation behind the service you offer.  It could be through a word, a card, or an invitation.
  • Seek God daily for opportunities to serve others for eternal purposes.  He will open your eyes to areas you might have missed.  Be ready to follow his leadings, even if they seem a bit out of the ordinary. 
  • Be careful not to impose your service on others.  Pray for wisdom so you will know where to invest your efforts in ways that will be strategic for the kingdom of God.
  • Team up with friends who have other styles that may be better matched to the personality of the person you hope to reach. 

Tabitha's Service Approach

The Bible says in Acts 9:36 that Tabitha (also called Dorcas) was "always doing good and helping the poor."  She was well-known for her loving acts of service which she performed in the name of Christ.  Specifically, she made robes and articles of clothing for widows and other needy people to her town. 

She was, in effect, a quiet practitioner of what we're calling the service approach to evangelism.  It would have been very hard for people to observe her activity and not get a glimpse of the love of Christ that inspired her.  In fact, her work was so important that when she died a premature death, God sent Peter to raise her from the dead and put her back into service. 

People who take this approach find it relatively easy to serve others.  It's how God made them.  They naturally notice needs others don't see, and they find joy in meeting them, even if they don't get a lot of credit for it.  Often more quiet types, these people enjoy expressing compassion though tangible forms of action.

Though this style tends to get less press than the others, and it often takes a much longer period of time before producing spiritual results, it's one of the most important of all the evangelistic approaches (according this the author of this book, "Becoming a Contagious Christian").  That's because service-style evangelists touch people nobody else can reach. 

You may not have the knowledge of Paul or the courage of Peter and the Samaritan woman.  But you're a whiz at making meals or fixing cars.  I hope you can see how those things, and so many others like them, can be done in a way that points people to God. 

This information is adapted from the book and Participant's Guide, "Becoming A Contagious Christian", by Lee Strobel, Mark Mittelberg and Bill Hybels