Sung Kwon, National Executive Director North American Division Adventist Community Services

One afternoon while I was standing on a river bank, I saw a huge box floating downstream with the river’s current. Then I saw a tiny fish going upstream against the current. Two objects crossing each other’s paths. One going down, the other going up. What was the difference? It was LIFE! 

The box was very impressive looking, well decorated with all kinds of designs but it did not have life, which is why it was going downstream with the flow.

However, the fish, tiny as far as its size or capacity was concerned, was so small it wasn’t even good enough for Sushi – “Tuno” I mean, but it was going upstream because of its life. Its life was its mission.

The mission of the church is outreach. Outreach is not just an activity of the church; it is the mission of the church.

However, in its institutional preoccupation, some of the churches have abandoned their real identity and reason for existence. They developed a very inward-looking passive culture. “Come and get it!”

Their message to people outside the church is to become like us, believe like us, dress like us, eat like us, act like us, like what we like and dislike what we don’t like. But look at Jesus’ evangelism strategy: instead of “Come and get it,” it was “Go Get ’em!” 

Jesus went to places where the people were. Therefore we need churches where people are. Mostly, people are not coming to us; we have to go to them.

There are times that we as Christians in the church are great about speaking the truth without Love. We have the truth and know that people desperately need the truth, but the challenge is that people cannot hear it from us because we have not earned the privilege and trust to share it.

This will require shifting our efforts from just growing churches into transforming communities. Are we making any impact on the communities where our institutions are located? 

Consider our churches, schools, and hospitals: Are the communities a better place to live because of our existence? The challenge is not about our ability to do this; it is about our pride and our lack of concern for people that God cares about. 

Ellen G. White said, “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’” (Ministry of Healing, p. 143)

If I paraphrase the above statement, it says Jesus mingled with people, identified their needs, met their needs, and developed a trust relationship. 

ped a trust relationship. Through the trust relationship He built a bridge, and then He said to the people, “Follow Me.”

In Jesus’ eyes, it is more important to BE a good neighbor than to know WHO your neighbor is. Let us proclaim the Good News and demonstrate the love of God.

Sung Kwon, National Executive Director North American Division Adventist Community Services