This last week the challenge was given. It was a confronting challenge to give to us materialistic rich westerners. We were looking at taking the gospel to the city of Adelaide. So many people do not know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and we were being reminded that this might actually cost us. Mat 9:35-38 reminded us that the harvest was plentiful. That was 2000 years ago and today we live in unprecedented times when it comes to the size of world population (and the population of Adelaide for that matter). The harvest is indeed plentiful. And the workers are still few!
Ever stopped and done some thinking why? At the EFAC gathering three suggestions were made and we were reminded that each of the solutions might actually cost us.
Firstly, had we as pastors failed to train them? It says in Ephesians 4:11ff that this is one of our key roles. As your pastor I wondered how well I am encouraging you to grow that gospel heart that sees every part of life as a possible opportunity to give a reason for the hope you have. I wondered how well I have trained you to naturally share your faith when opportunities arise. I wondered how many of you have shared the gospel with those around us in the last month. When was it you last had a non-Christian person over for a meal and tried to raise Christian conversations? Do you want some help in knowing what to say? Why not speak to me and we can prepare your mind for action.
Secondly, are the workers few because we are not providing financially for people to be trained, sent, and fed? Have we been slow to provide money towards gospel ministry? Do we support other causes with our money instead of those that will result in the gospel being shared? How else do you want to be spending your money? We as a parish certainly need to give more money generously and with a cheerful heart if we are going to keep our children’s and youth ministries going (see notices section). As a parent this is where I want my money to be spent. Having someone working in our church full time to help me nurture, teach, train and equip my children as they seek to serve God all their lives (notice they are not there to do the job instead of me as a parent). Can I urge those of us who want our children to grow up knowing loving and serving God to think hard about where else we would want our money spent and to give accordingly?
And finally, are the workers few because we were not setting aside ‘time for us to be trained to serve’. For some this will be reading or doing a short training course and for others it might well involve a complete career change as we seek to serve God in a full time basis. Even as a church we need to be thinking about those whom we might put extra training into as they prepare for a life of ministry ahead.