Learning to "Leave the Pew and Step Outside"
Jesus commanded us to make disciples of every nation, baptizing people in his name. As I sat in the pews of Calvary Chapel, listening to former National Football League quarterback and current servant of the Lord, Vince Evans, and community pastor Colleen Marks of Whittier Area Community Church, I felt the conviction in my heart to “Leave the Pew and Step Outside.”
Colleen Marks and Vince Evans led a workshop titled “The Church Has Left the Building: Leave the Pew and Step Outside,” with the purpose of teaching on how to be what they called 'a church without walls.
Marks started the workshop with her story. Born and raised in Whittier, Marks would always see her father serve the community. One defining moment in her life, at a tender age of 6, was when her father invited a homeless man over to stay at their family’s house. Being surrounded by her father’s love for the community, Marks felt a deep passion to reach out and serve her community. Fast-forward many years, and Marks is now the community pastor of a church in her hometown, faithfully serving the Lord and loving her neighbors as Jesus has said in Matthew 22:37-40.
Marks’ main point was to convict us through the Holy Spirit and Scripture to be people that listen, reach out, and respond to our communities. She gave the example of Jesus in Mark 1:41, where Jesus healed the leper, listened, reached out and responded to the request.
After Marks was done speaking, she asked Vince Evans, former quarterback for the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Raiders, questions about his life in a Q-and-A session. Evans’ life narrative glorified God, but it was his heart of outreach that made a difference.
As a child, Evans loved football and wanted to play for the University of Southern California and eventually professionally. With confidence, $50 and a suitcase full of clothes, Evans flew out to California and played for a year at Los Angeles City College where he was offered a spot on the Trojan team during the state championship game.
After a successful college career where he won the MVP of the Rose Bowl, Evans was drafted into the NFL, where he played for 17 years. Beyond all of the accolades, the most monumental event of his football career came in 1979, when he got a staph infection. While in the hospital for 30 days, Evans worried about his life, pondering its direction and purpose. Growing up in church, Vince knew about Jesus, but never truly had a personal relationship with him until one day, while he sat in the hospital bed, a televangelist came on the television set.
“Jesus died for your sins.” Those five words forever changed the life of a man who would go on to do great things for the Lord. Evans broke down in tears, knowing he was born again, ready to do God’s will.
While he played for the Raiders, one of his teammates watched his lifestyle, noticing the change. Through the brutalities of training camp and other difficult situations that would arise, Evans would trust the Lord and set the Christ-like example with no knowledge people were watching him. Eventually his teammate walked up to him and asked for Evans to baptize him. Evans humbly agreed, and God brought 17 more of his teammates to be baptized on that day, many of whom are serving in ministry today.
After his playing career, Evans continued to make a difference in Whittier and Compton, serving the homeless and all those in need, living out the Great Commission of Jesus.
I sat in those pews of Calvary Chapel, and my heart was stirring. Listening to Colleen Marks and her heart of passion and purity, and Vince Evans, whose very own life is a narrative for God’s glory, I felt encouraged and convicted to make a difference by serving in our local community of La Mirada or even our neighboring cities.
For all those who didn’t have the privilege of attending this seminar, I encourage you to check it out when it is posted online.