"Christ Method alone will bring true success in reaching the people. The Savior Mingled among men as one who desired their good. He showed sympathy for them, Ministered to their needs and won their confidence. Then He bade them, follow me." - Ministry of Healing, pg. 143
We have often done it backwards. We are used to having the itinerate evangelist and his itinerate team come into town and right away through flyers and handbills, true & false "Bible Study Lessons," mailers, bill boards, news paper adds, and radio spots begin the evangelistic process by telling the community to "follow me" to the corner of Martin Luther King Blvd. and 4th St. to "The Big Green Tent."
Once the "Bible Study Lesson" graduates and other non-members get to the tent, we check their blood pressure, and provide information on substance abuse and obesity and diabetes, heart disease, vegetarianism, and things of the like. The Community Service department gives items away, mainly lots of things nobody else wants. Basically, it is after we have told them to "follow me" that we make efforts to minister to their needs.
It is only after they take their stand for baptism or are actually baptized that we (the church, apart from the Bible Workers) really begin to "mingle" with them. We assign them "spiritual guardians" or attach them to a small group, and welcome them into "fellowship." In essence, we often begin the "mingling" part with full intentionality, at the end. Before this pint, while they were still "in the world," drinking and smoking, cursing and carousing, eating pork chops and drinking Coke and coffee, rarely would anyone in the church have invited them home for dinner, or have taken the time to visit them in their homes.
By reversing the order, we have turned what was intended to be an ongoing corporate process, engaged by a whole army of believers, into merely a seasonal event engaged by a handful of evangelistic mercenaries. Note that when Jesus says, "follow me" He essentially means, go where I am going, believe as I believe as I believe, do as I do. Essential to His success in getting people to respond to His call to follow, is the timing of that call in relation to the two elements in the process that precede the call; mingling, and ministering.