Following the call of Jesus to the broken and abandoned places of the world, today’s guest — Craig Greenfield, and his wife Nay — moved into a wooden shack in a Cambodian slum in early 2000 and began to minister to children orphaned by AIDS, establishing a ministry to help Cambodian communities care for their own orphans, eventually reaching hundreds of children. That ministry sparked the Alongsiders movement that is spreading through the non-Western world today.
Today’s episode is an intriguing exploration into what it means to live and model the upside down Kingdom of Jesus.
As Craig shares about his experiences living in Vancouver’s east side and the slums of Cambodia, he challenges each of us to consider what it could look like to live out the Gospel with radical hospitality. Craig’s passion for the poor causes us to think about overlap, and how we, in our affluent culture, can find better ways to build bridges between our lives and those who are marginalized.
“This idea that Jesus brings this upside down Kingdom that rises up from the bottom instead of top down change. He comes to turn everything upside down. The things that our society holds dear are the things that are no longer important and are pushed aside. And the things that our society rejects — the poor, the marginalized — are suddenly central and important.” —Craig Greenfield
- “What the police could not do, my kids were able to do … it’s just a beautiful picture, for me, of the upside down Kingdom of Jesus, where those who are the weakest and most vulnerable are often the very ones that God uses to bring about transformation.” —Craig Greenfield
- “As Christians we really need to recapture this idea that the Gospel is about the Kingdom of God and what that looks like here on earth as it is in heaven.” —Craig Greenfield
- “In a way, society teaches us to isolate ourselves — move into a better suburb. If you think about it and unpack what that actually means, it usually means moving to a more affluent suburb if possible … away from the poor. I’m not preaching that everybody needs to move into the downtown east side … but what we do need to do is look for ways to be less isolated and look for places of overlap. And it might be something as simple as taking the bus sometimes instead of always being in our car.” —Craig Greenfield
- “We all practice hospitality. What I’m asking us to do and what I think Jesus asks us to do is just broaden the boundaries of hospitality. You don’t have to go crazy and invite 40 homeless people into your home night one, but maybe there’s a refugee family who moved in down the street and you could invite them over for dinner sometime. That’s radical hospitality as well.” —Craig Greenfield
- “I realized that I needed to do more thinking and praying and grappling with, “What is the Gospel?” … And that kind of led me on a years-long quest to figure out, what did Jesus mean when He said: “I have come to bring Good News to the poor, and blessed are the poor?” As a white guy coming from an affluent background, that’s been a lifelong exploration of what all that means.” —Craig Greenfield
Social entrepreneur, global missions leader, practitioner amongst the poor, author and teacher, Craig Greenfield is passionate about communicating and living out God’s heart for the world’s most vulnerable.
Craig is the Founder and Director of Alongsiders International, a discipleship movement that mobilizes and equips thousands of young Christians in 16 countries in Asia and Africa to walk alongside those who walk alone – by discipling vulnerable children in their own communities.
A storyteller and inspirational speaker, Craig’s passion is to amplify the voice of the poor, communicating God’s heart for the marginalized in churches, conferences, and colleges around the world. Craig is happily married to Nay, a Cambodian-New Zealander and they have two young children: Jayden and Micah.
“I found that if I pray for God to move a mountain, I must be prepared to wake up next to a shovel.” —Craig Greenfield, Subversive Jesus
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Luke 4:18
- Poverty Inc. Documentary
- Craig’s Blog
- Craig’s books — Living Mission, The Alongsiders Story, The Urban Halo, Subversive Jesus
- Craig’s social media: Facebook & Twitter
- Alongsiders International
- The Enneagram Institute
To weigh in on the conversation … to ask a question … to offer insight … to share a story … or to suggest an upcoming guest for the Confronting Normal Podcast, please email Cindy or Renae below. They would love to hear from you!