The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
This past week I met with members of the personnel committee at our church for an annual review. In this review there is usually a good discussion of my ministry during the previous twelve months where we talk about ways in which the Lord was faithful both in and through my ministry to the flock here at First Presbyterian. Often times His faithfulness is most evident in and through my weakness, but that should come as a surprise to no one (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
We also spent a good bit of time talking about the future. We talked about ways in which we as a church can be more faithful to our call to be worshipers of Christ in the common pursuit of glorifying God in all that we think, do, and speak. One of the specific questions asked of me was, “How do we help more of our congregation to actively participate in ministries of discipleship, service, and evangelism within our church, in the community of Lake Wales, and to the ends of the world?”. I must be honest, my typical response would have been focused on strategy. I would have extolled the virtues of personal invitations to members asking them to be involved. I would have suggested we have food at the events in which we want people to be a part. Food is always a draw. But my response was different this time from what it would have previously been.
This time I answered with Luke 10:2 in mind. In fact, this time I answered with Luke 10:2 itself. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. It was no coincidence that I had the verse at the tip of my tongue. I had been studying it all week for my August 28 sermon. Neither was it a coincidence that the question was asked of me when it was.
In the church it is often said that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. I do not think that figure holds at First Presbyterian but there is always the question of the work that is to be done. I do not mean the work that we want done in the church or our community. I mean the work of the harvest. The work of discipling, serving, and evangelizing the world. But the workers are few for this harvest. The Lord himself said so. But he also said to pray that he, the Lord of the harvest, would send even more workers for this plentiful harvest.
So I have been praying. I have been praying that God would raise up someone to come alongside of John Dubois to help teach a Bible study to some of the soccer ministry attendees. I have been praying for God to raise up others who would mingle with the soccer players on Thursday nights (7:30-10:00 pm), building relationships, and looking for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ. I have also been praying that the Lord would work in your hearts and mine to gives us eyes to see the harvest that is present before us in our neighborhoods, in the workplace, and in our community. May he raise us up to be his workers here in these his fields of harvest. I am also praying that God would place the call in the lives of some, if not many, within our body to go to the ends of the world proclaiming the Gospel. Maybe there is a future church planter in our midst. Maybe there is a medical-missionary-to-be in our pews. Maybe there is… well you fill in the blank. Just so you know I have been praying this prayer with many of you in mind. My list is long and I am calling you by name to the Lord when I pray.
So, now you know it. My secret strategy for our church’s future is really no secret at all. It is prayer. Will you pray with me?