Submitting to God and Watching Him Move.
Jeff Van Beaver | President & Founder of Acts 1:8 Ministry
In 2002, my Pastor challenged me to read a book called Conspiracy of Kindness. As chairman of my church's evangelism board, I was intrigued by the book's simplistic evangelism method of Christian Kindness. The beauty of this evangelism method is that it allows people to share their faith in simple, non-threatening ways.
Inspired by the book and with my Pastor's approval, my church initiated its very first evangelism event from our parking lot. The free car wash and soda giveaway allowed us to share God's love in a practical way with people in our community. While caring for people, we were able to share the love of Christ through prayer and connect them to our church. More events rolled out and, with them, the most common question of why someone would do these things with nothing in return emerged over and over.
Our evangelism soon caught the attention of the local media. Phones rang and excitement spread as other local churches joined in, unleashing a growing intensity to share God's love.
For nearly 20 years, I had been pressed with the idea of starting a ministry. I prayed for direction and asked God to prepare me. As I watched the way God moved through these outreach events, God's calling to start a ministry based on Christian Kindness was revealed to me. I invited a group of friends from my church to meet. We met at a local restaurant with no agenda; our sole objective was to talk about starting a Christian Kindness ministry. Our Bibles were the only tools we brought to the meeting.
Not long after this, I was woken in the middle of the night by a powerful vision. God was telling me, without question, that He wanted me to give away the tool supply company that I owned and operated for six years. But how could God expect me to forfeit my business? After all, it wasn't just a company; it was the trusty six-figure livelihood that supported my family! I questioned the idea and asked myself how I would explain to my wife that God was calling me to walk away from our business.
As I questioned God's calling, I was convicted with the realization that I had become increasingly focused on material things. The question soon changed from "How could I?" to "How could I not?". I could not refuse God's calling. For nearly a week I struggled with this, having not the slightest clue of how or when this would transpire, only knowing that it would.
There was an eight month overlap as I transitioned out of my company and into full-time ministry. My wife and I ran the ministry out of our home for the first two years. The skills of the group from the original meeting were perfectly aligned with the ministry's needs; leaning heavily towards legal support and product development.
We have trained thousands of Christians in all 50 states and in 80+ countries, touching hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide with God's love through Christian Kindness. Christians in the United States and western countries share God's love by doing things such as giving away flowers for Valentine's Day and free gas on holiday weekends. Christians in third world countries have a much more humbling approach; giving away the most basic things of life: food, water, shelter and medical resources.
I continue to thank God for His leading and His faithfulness in making all of this possible. The staff and volunteers of Acts 1:8 Ministry® continue to be driven by the massive opportunity to spread God's love . . . to the ends of the earth!