“He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2
10:02am is a special time for me. I’ve set an alarm on my cell phone to go off at 10:02am every morning and it has done so for the last 4 years or so. I never have it on silent or vibrate, as a result it has gone off at times when I wish it wouldn’t … but, I have decided to let it go off, and explain if someone asks. Many times, the people around me also set their alarms at 10:02am or pm, reminded to PRAY.
Why? About 4 years ago I was attending the C2C Multiply Church Planting Conference with a number of EMMC pastors and leaders. In the morning of the first day, we suddenly started hearing alarms going off throughout the church auditorium. Many of the 700 in attendance began looking around and wondering what was going on! The leader noticed and stopped, then explained that leaders and church planters of C2C had begun to pray Luke 10:2 at 10:02AM or PM or both. Knowing that we live in a time were the harvest fields are ripe, but the workers are few, and Jesus told us to ASK the Lord of the harvest to send workers into his harvest field, they decided to PRAY. That morning, many more of us set our alarms to remind us to pray for workers for his harvest fields.
Maybe as you read this, you too will join me and set a prayer reminder:
the harvest is plentiful, we see the opportunities around us, we know you are at work, in us around us and through us. Father today, send workers into your harvest field. Open my eyes and ears to the people around me, may I be a confirmation and encouragement for someone to go! Create in me a surrendered heart to do your will as a worker in your harvest field.
(Doesn’t have to be exact, but you get the picture).
Be prepared for your eyes to open in new ways, and for you to see God at work in people around you. You may even find yourself wondering, do they not see what I see? In todays world there is a lot of “white noise”; distractions, options vying for our attention. So much so, that sometimes the convictions of the Holy Spirit are just dismissed or excused away- I’m not gifted enough, smart enough, old enough… Again, you get the picture. Maybe you have some excuses yourself. I know I have.
As you flip through this issue of The Recorder, you will see a number of contributors who have shared their story of serving in worship through music. As you read the stories, take note of when they started, how they were encouraged or given opportunities. In all cases someone was teaching them, mentoring them, encouraging them. All of them started at a young age, some needed a push. Its very likely that they didn’t always hit the right notes, but all of them have served for a lifetime.
I love the way Allen Schellenberg starts his story; “What an amazing journey God has given me serving Him in music ministry. Looking back, I can see the many ways how God led me, His guiding. My prayer, in writing this story, is that it will inspire someone else to give his/her talents to God for his service. I would never trade these opportunities given me for anything. May God bless and encourage you as you trust Him to lead you." (Read the full article on page 10)
This comes from a shy guy who had to be coaxed out of his comfort to share his gift. Most of the contributors have served for over 40 years. None professed to be exceptionally talented, but they were given opportunities to learn and to grow and through the years have ministered and helped others develop their gifts to serve in the harvest fields.
At our June EMMC General Council Meetings, we had a time of sharing, where the Council members shared about what was happening in their regions and their churches. At the end of the sharing time I asked if they knew how many pastoral openings had just been identified. The guesses came in. Four? Five? No. There were … 10. Out of 27 EMMC churches we had openings for 10 pastoral positions! That is in addition to the leaders needed in other areas of the church (hospitality, worship, teaching, care, missions etc.) Where will they come from, who will fill these positions? The harvest is ripe, is it not?
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We have been saved “by grace through faith”. What a gift! Verse 10 says that a gift comes with responsibility. We are His workmanship, and He has planned things for each and every one of us take part and to do.
Paul goes on, Ephesians 4:11-13
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
These verses remind us that our work is the development of God’s people under our care. This is a high calling in God’s kingdom, the responsibility to equip others to serve in ministry. Our convictions as the EMMC conference is to be obedient to the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, the calling to make disciples; for leadership development and discipleship to be part of our DNA.
Discipleship and development of leaders are two sides of the same coin. One side is character and the other side is competency. Often when we think of Jesus’ day-to-day ministry, we think of Him in front of crowds. But if you look at the life of Christ throughout the Gospels, we find He spent more time discipling and developing the 12 disciples than speaking in front of crowds. Jesus gave us the ultimate discipleship model. Are we willing to allocate our time to build up others the way Jesus did?
“The Harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few… send workers …”
Will you join me in prayer at 10:02? Do you see the opportunities, the urgency? May that urgency grow to a conviction, becoming part of our culture, where we implement the constructs that will unlock the potential for our churches to be centres for developing leaders.
We must develop, not just do. We must make disciples, not just be disciples. We must not just be the audience.
Let’s set our alarms!
This article was originally published in The EMMC Recorder Vol 59, No. 4