Saturday, January 12, 2008

Relational Outreach

Several years ago I was playing golf in Malaysia with my friends Vincent Teo and Caleb Chan from Singapore. Caleb brought a Pastor from South Africa to the course. (It is a global village!) After playing we sat down in the club house for lunch and I asked the South African Pastor what God was doing in his city.

He immediately launched into a long and exciting story about mobilizing his city's churches to reach out with kindness and preach the gospel through servant evangelism. Congregations from every type and denomination both Black and White joined together to take love and action to the people.

The same kind of thing was happening with some regularly in Singapore after I taught Servant Evangelism to the Faith Community Baptist Church Cell Group leaders and Pastors. The Pastors in that Island of four million souls had begun a very aggressive SE program that brought thousands into the fold and deeply touched that tiny nation state with God's love.

I said to the Pastor, "When did you meet Steve Sjogren and learn about SE?" He looked at me in a puzzled fashion and said, "Who did you say?"

I replied, "Steve Sjogren. He is the originator of SE. He is Pastor of the Vineyard Church in my home town. Maybe you read his web about Servant Evangelism."

"I never heard of that fellow. Someone from Singapore brought the notion to us at a Cell Church Conference and we loved it. We have been doing it ever since."

SE has spread all around the world through "Viral Marketing" or word of mouth. God inspired Steve to start this thing and now it has become like Kleenex, the common name of a great idea. Steve gave his idea freely to thousands and God is using us to touch millions.

Jesus' best method of changing the world is not getting together in huge stadia but multiplying the good news personally through evangelism and discipleship. "Go into all the world and make disciples, teaching them to DO everything I have taught you to do." MT 28

Evangelism is always personal. It is always the result of a relationship and SE is a way of promoting caring relationships where people are touched by kindness and love.

The Pastors in South Africa learned SE from someone from Singapore who probably learned it from me and I learned it from Steve. That is God's plan of Viral Marketing and it has changed the world from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria to Cincinnati to Singapore to Malaysia to South Africa.

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