Q&A Interview with Joel Vestal on the Vision of ServLife for the Future

That you might better understand ServLife and our vision,  ServLife founder, Joel Vestal, answers the following questions:  Why does ServLife exist when so many other organizations are out there?  Does ServLife take money from the government?  Is ServLife a sending organization?  What is the future vision of ServLife? How would you summarize in one sentence the vision of ServLife.

Why does ServLife exist when so many other mission organizations are out there?

Jesus said the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few (Luke 10:2) He also said to keep our eyes on the fields for they are ripe for harvest. (John 4:35) When we look at the “fields of the nations today, it’s heartbreaking. Infant mortality, ethnic divide, poverty and hunger, the worship of false idols¦the list is endless. But we’re given these moments to bring about change. Despite the AIDS pandemic and human suffering, despite civil wars and crippling disease, Jesus Christ is building his church in the world.
This is especially true in the non-western hemispheres of our globe. So knowing this, ServLife exists to help end human suffering while sharing the enormous need to spread the gospel to the nations. Other organizations exist to accomplish the end of poverty and/or to share the gospel. We celebrate their noble aspirations and accomplishments, too, as we serve in global regions that are often neglected and look for gaps that remain unfilled by existing mission groups and step in to bring about change.

Is ServLife a sending organization?

Yes. Our God is a sending God. He sent Jesus into the world and Jesus sends his church into relationships, communities and nations to expand God’s kingdom through our works and words. Jesus said to his disciples, “as the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21) ServLife’s indigenous approach to sending might be different than the traditional mission-sending organization. For example, we help send people from India to other parts of India to minister. We help send Asians to other regions of Asia. We help those in the States to go to other regions on our globe to minister hope and healing as well always working with those present in the community. The bottom line is simple: ServLife exists to help send individuals around the world to demonstrate and proclaim the love of Jesus Christ.

Does ServLife take money from the government?

No. We trust and look to God through His people to finance our efforts. I recently received a phone call from a leader of a faith-based office in Washington D.C. This generous person asked me if ServLife would be interested in receiving a three million dollar grant. The government organization was looking at smaller, grass-roots mission organizations in addition to the larger ones that typically receive grants. Although the offer wouldn’t have worked out (because the four countries they had selected for grant apportionment were not those where we work), it presented the issue of whether we would do this in the future. And while there are a spectrum of views and opinions amid the Christian community about accepting government money, I do not support it. I wholly believe God’s people possess the resources to accomplish God’s purposes in the world. It’s that simple. Once government money steps in, restrictions are imposed on how faith will be demonstrated through the organization’s programs. So it’s my prayer that God will use the work of ServLife to stir His people to be generous and cheerful givers of their resources. And this not only applies to our mission, but to other groups advancing the kingdom of God.

How would you briefly summarize the objectives and work of ServLife?

Here’s our mission statement which sums up what we’re all about in one sentence:

ServLife seeks to build global community by creating mission communities (teams) among the most marginalized and oppressed regions of the world to rescue and care for at-risk children, end hunger and train/multiply the indigenous church to advance the whole gospel to the whole person.

What is the future vision of ServLife?

The vision for of ServLife is growth, and we believe this will continue to happen on many levels. And from growth, we expect global changes that offer lasting impact. But let me explain this further: We determine our vision by both values and some degree of metrical indicators. Where we’re extra careful, though, is ensuring that we don’t measure results (and future plans) by merely assessing numbers. Growth is sometimes like the seed that Jesus said must fall to ground and die. But beneath the earth covering the seed, life-change and authentic growth is fermenting. And when it’s least expected, the seed becomes a powerful, fruit-bearing plant.

God’s timing is often peculiar to the human mind. Knowing this, we don’t arbitrate time limits on goals we know He has set for us. Our objective remains the continuation of global impact in regions of the world where God has us working. For instance, in India we have started 43 of the hopefully 1000 churches we’re aiming to plant. Each of these will be self-sustaining. We currently care for 47 orphans; the future goal is to do the same for a total of 500. And we’re making plans to develop our international staff to include missionary teams that work together to accomplish global projects that fulfill our mission.

We’ve re-classified the work of ServLife into three categories: rescuing children at risk, ending hunger through micro-enterprise and multiplying the indigenous church through training and sending. My prayer is for ServLife to become both a conduit and catalyst that launches people into God’s global redemptive purposes. With this in mind, we’re working to create an infrastructure that remains both nimble, yet encompassing, enough to take on organizational efforts that ultimately lead to changed lives and sustainable development. A small glass of water holds six ounces, a Nalgene water bottle holds thirty-four. The goal of ServLife is to stretch our organizational capacity so that we can multiply the work that began in 1992. With all my heart, I want to see people offer their lives, gifts, ambitions and vocations to the expansion of God’s global kingdom. In parts of the world so often forgotten, so desperately in need of hope and relief, my prayer is for a never-ending stream of workers to flow in and eradicate injustice, end hunger and multiply the church for God’s glory and renown.

“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” Amos 5:24

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