Kevin Palau grew up in Oregon (USA), but got to travel quite a bit with his father, evangelist Luis Palau. Kevin joined the Palau team in 1985 and began directing the operation of the ministry in the 1990s. He lives in Beaverton, Oregon, with his wife, Michelle, and their three children.
What is your main focus in ministry and why you are passionate about it?
Our main focus in ministry is developing Gospel Movements in cities around the world. We’ve always been about evangelism, and we continue to be about evangelism. That will never change. Our passion is the gospel, but how we do it has to keep adapting. We’ve always had a heart to mobilize the Body of Christ to reach their cities, and we still would say an evangelistic festival is the best way to jump-start a movement.
Portland (our hometown) is a perfect example. Six years after the launch of a major evangelistic campaign that incorporated a long-term commitment to word-and-deed mobilization, we have seen tremendous fruit: 20,000 volunteers from 400 churches are serving consistently and proclaiming the good news across the city year after year.
We define “Gospel Movement” as a united, sustainable effort by churches and cultural leaders to transform their city by meeting critical needs and sharing the love and message of Jesus Christ. The change in Portland has been incredible. We’ve seen churches grow, new churches planted, and the gospel begin to flourish.
What does evangelism mean to you?
Evangelism is the primary calling of the Church; it’s the Great Commission. We are part of THE Gospel Movement Jesus started. Even as we serve and love the community, we make no apology for believing that the best service we could ever give anyone is to introduce him or her to Jesus Christ because that changes his or her life from the inside out. If we love Jesus Christ and want to be obedient, then it’s not just one little extra side thing we do. It’s the heart of what we do. So evangelism really is just a reflection of the life of Christ in us.
Tell a story of how you shared your faith in Christ and saw God woo an individual/s one step closer to himself.
I would say my relationship with Portland Mayor Sam Adams—the first openly gay mayor of a top-40 city in the country—is a prime example. A small group of pastors and I met with him in 2008 to ask what we could do to help the city, and we began to collaborate on the Season of Service.
Through that process, we developed a close relationship, and at a time of crisis in his life, my dad and I were there to share the good news very clearly with him. I think he would say that nobody served him better during his four years as mayor of Portland than the evangelical community. He’s certainly closer to a clear understanding of who Christ is and what it means to follow him.
What is your favorite quote/scripture?
I’ve never had just one “life verse.” Currently, I’m struck by the description of the early Church in Acts 2:42-47. I long to see the collective Church all around the world living and yielding fruit in this way.
How can people learn more about you and your ministry?
You can learn more about the Luis Palau Association by visiting the website >> Another resource very near and dear to my heart is GospelMovements.org >> —a place to connect and learn more about initiating or joining a Gospel Movement in your city.
ABOUT THE WORLD
What is the biggest issue the Church in your part of the world faces today and why?
In a place like Portland, where traditional approaches are clearly not winning the day, we must find effective ways to meet our goal of seeing people come to Christ. So it’s really all about the gospel—how willing we are to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of the gospel in other people’s lives and in our city. These church-driven, city-focused efforts are bringing churches and individuals together and giving Christians the opportunity to share Christ in a deliberate, yet loving way.
What is the biggest issue the Global Church is facing today and why?
The Church is always in need of recapturing a biblical vision for the gospel in how we live and act toward the community, in unity with other believers, and in terms of having a bold passion to share the good news. The only way that the world is going to see Christ in action is through a unified body. I think the issue of competitiveness (that internal focus) keeps people from Christ.
What is your hope for the Global Church in the next ten years?
I would love to see at least 50 U.S. cities and 50 international cities model a genuine Gospel Movement—not a human program, but a genuine spirit-led unity in the body for the sake of loving unconditionally and proclaiming the gospel together.