When it comes to ministry carried out by the local church, the most important element is the people outside of it. While churches are careful and intentional in ministering to those who are in the local body, there must be an equal concern in reaching those not in the body of Christ. The key to reaching those outside the body is to communicate to them that they are loved and they matter. In their new book, “How to Pick Up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness” Todd and Erin Stevens have written about the importance of showing people the love of God instead of only telling them of God’s love.
Todd Stevens is the pastor of Friendship Community Church in Nashville, TN. His wife Erin is the founder of Nashville Strip Church, a ministry that reaches out to the employees of strip clubs (hence the name of the book). The premise of this book can be summed up in two words: be kind. Using the ministry of Friendship Community and their own personal generosity as a backdrop in kindness, the Stevens give numerous examples of how serving people with no expectation of return best demonstrate the love of God. Examples of lives changed are given throughout the book. Woven throughout the book is the ministry that Erin started after being led to reach out to the women in the local strip clubs. The Stevens not only highlight the importance of a servant lifestyle, they also deal with topics such as having a good reputation in the community, sacrificial service, being a generous giver, and praying for those you are attempting to reach.
“How to Pick Up a Stripper” is a good book. It is written in an easy-flowing conversational tone and is a very easy read. The Stevens do a good job of mixing personal stories and biblical admonition. The major problem with the book is that we have heard this before. As a pastor, I see nothing new in the overall message of the book. We know that we should be serving people. We know that we have been commanded to do so. The examples of service projects and ideas for outreach the authors gave include, but are not limited to gas buy-downs, block parties, easter egg hunts, and moms night outs are ideas already being employed, although maybe not as successfully as Friendship Community , by many other churches. “How to Pick Up a Stripper” gets lost in the crowd of other “serve your community” books.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Blogger Review 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: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”