From prayer for the harvest to the harvest itself: Steven Sabens

Since he moved to Richmond, Michigan, Steven Sabens has been looking for a way to make a direct impact on his community for Christ. For the last two years, he’s prayed about reaching the people around him. “I wanted to start a church here,” he said, “but I didn’t know how.”

No stranger to ministry work, Steven has done a police department chaplain program and a homeless rescue ministry in Alaska. He’s also spent two years as an associate pastor at Royal Oak Church in Michigan. 

But his desire to bring the gospel to his immediate neighborhood kept growing with time, and he kept praying for a way to begin. Then in January he discovered that some people from a nearby church had started a discipleship outpost--a direct, relational sharing of faith with people open to the gospel--right in Richmond. He contacted the church, met with Anthony Ferriell from Field USA, and decided to get involved.

Steven started attending the Wednesday night discipleship group, and when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, he went to the food distributions that Crossroads Community Church held. “It allowed me to connect with Richmond in a way I’ve never connected with Richmond,” he said. “It created a love to continue reaching Richmond.”

After observing the studies and outreach happening, Steven was convinced he’d found an answer to his prayers about reaching his community personally. One key difference at the outposts compared to a more traditional church-based ministry is the relational approach. Steven believes it’s crucial to take time to sit down and talk about hard topics with people who are new to scripture and faith. He said he’s even been told “‘I can’t get this inside the church; I need to sit down and talk with somebody.’’’

What he hears is a clear call for relationship-based teaching: “What he is saying is ‘I need to be discipled.’ And here we are, discipling somebody.”

Of course, discipling the first persons of peace is only the beginning. The vision for the ministry is to ultimately see it become self-replicating. Steven hopes for a ripple effect of disciples making more disciples in the community, reaching second and third generations of Christians: “More people need to give it a try--sharing your faith and living your life in harmony with your faith. It’s a beautiful thing when we allow ourselves to let our community see our faith in action and natural.”


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