Remember, I want you to bless at least one member of your church and one person who is not a Christian. This means the blessing ricochets around your church, as members are affirming, gifting, and performing acts of kindness for each other. It also means church members are propelled outward to bless unbelievers in these ways. Just watch how unleashing a culture of blessing —words of affirmation, acts of kindness, gift giving —binds people to each other. It has the effect of strengthening the Christian community while launching its members more deeply into the lives of outsiders.

Even more than that, the simple act of blessing can have huge evangelistic impact as well. In his book Discover Your Mission Now, Dave Ferguson recounts reading a doctoral thesis entitled Blessers Versus Converters. The researcher had looked at two teams of short-term missionaries that visited Thailand with distinctly different missional strategies. The team referred to as the “blessers” went with the intention of simply blessing people. They saw their mission as being to bless whomever came their way in whatever practical ways they could. The “converters,” on the other hand, went with the sole intention of converting people and evangelizing everyone they encountered.

The research found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the blessers had far greater social impact. That makes sense. When short-term missionaries go with the intention of contributing to the social good of their context, their social impact will be high. But Ferguson points out a second finding:

Secondly, and here is what was so surprising, they discovered that the “blessers” also had almost 50 times as many conversions than the “converters”! The “blessers” were 50 times more successful at helping people find their way back to God![8]

This would surely be because of the point made earlier: When we live unexpected lives (which clearly includes blessing strangers), we find ourselves being questioned by others. Then we have the best opportunity for sharing the hope of Christ within us. — Michael Frost, Surprise the World: The Five Habits of Highly Missional People (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2016).

I have written a study for this book. It is available as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.