Randy Siever is a real evangelist. The old school kind that’s led hundreds of people into a personal relationship with Jesus over the past 30 years (or more). I was lucky enough to run into him at a seminar Dave Richards and I were presenting in Nashville a number of years ago on something we called Doable Evangelism.
Unlike Randy (but more like most of you) I’d not led hundreds of people to Jesus – for me it was more like dozens, which still places me in the upper echelons of evangelistic stats since most Christians have not only never led a person to Christ – they’ve hardly ever mentioned Jesus to a non Christian. They’re what I call Cowards for Jesus.
However upon reflection, I realized that I had more in common with Cowards for Jesus than I did with guys like Randy. Besides there were more of them (like 90% more) than there were guys like Randy ( we figure his group represented less than 5%). Our measuring stick in Doable Evangelism wasn’t how many came forward but how many left church to go find them. We got this idea from the bible where Jesus said “Go make disciples” . We’re still looking for the passage where he said to invite them to church. It must be there somewhere.
For some reason Randy decided to join our little movement. He asked me where he could get the how to do Doable Evangelism book and I told him if he wanted that he would have to write it – which he did. He and I proceeded to co present DE Seminars for a few years. I loved watching people’s eyes light up when Randy started speaking. It was evident that people loved him. I asked him to take over leading which he did for the past seven years.
A couple of years ago Randy was approached by Mary Schaller of Q Place an evangelism ministry to see if he was interested in giving them permission to use DE’s secret sauce which we called the Art of Noticing. Q Place took The Art of Noticing and added several other practices they call the arts of spiritual conversations and are now rolling out a very innovative and comprehensive program to churches all over America. It is a very exciting movement. Find out more here.
Randy essentially gave away his unique niche in the evangelism conversation. I knew at that point that DE itself would be coming to an end. Q Place is a much larger organization with a wider network and funding to support their leadership team. Randy and I are more like a couple of pirates who came upon some buried treasure took it back and showed it to other people who spotted gold.
Jesus said “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” (KJV version which of course is the bible Paul used). Jesus also said “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” It’s clear from these passages that Jesus doesn’t need another famous person in heaven to join him.
I was listening to an interview the movie director David O Russell did with Terri Groves on the NPR show Fresh Air. Terri asked David to talk about what inspired the characters in his new movie American Hustle. “I’m interested in the fragility of identity” he responded. I think Jesus was interested in the same issue. In the passages above he dares us to find out what would happen if we don’t try and think of ourselves first. He challenges us to risk letting go of controlling our own destiny and partnering with him to see what he might come up with in its place. He invites us to explore internal security instead of external security.
Randy just sent out an email saying he was turning the lights off on Doable Evangelism. I’m not sad. I’m proud. I love when leaders act like Jesus. I love watching leaders who aren’t afraid to cannibalize their own “ministry” so that more people can be touched by the life of Jesus. I love when leaders like Randy decide to actually trust Jesus with their future instead of trying to hang onto something that has served it’s purpose. I love leaders who act like Randy. They inspire me to keep going to keep following in the footsteps of Jesus.
I am simply incapable of paying another human being a higher compliment than that.