When the church addresses the needs of people within its sphere of influence, it establishes a positive presence, gaining credibility among them. Its sacrificial service in the world enhances communication of the gospel, validating its message.
The church's character is an integral part of its message as it proclaims and exemplifies the good news. The gospel of love, forgiveness, holiness, and peace is seen by others to be credible when it is shared by believers who serve the needy, forgive sinners, stand for justice, and make peace in the world. The message and messenger are interrelated, with the full impact of the gospel being felt by words and deeds, and in many cases more by deeds than words, for our lives are letters "known and read by everybody," (2 Cor 3:2). Credibility wanes when others perceive incongruities between the message of the church and its behavior, between what it proclaims and what it does.
The church becomes a credible witness as its attitudes, words, and actions are conformed to those of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter said, "Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us," (1 Pet. 2:12). The evangelistic impact of the church is dependent upon its corporate testimony, proving itself as a credible witness to the world.