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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Harvest is Plentiful; Workers Are Few

Growing up in church and now being a pastor in a church for over 10 years I have heard, memorized, study and preached many verses of the bible. One verse has been sticking out to me a lot more recently, however:

"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few."

These words of Jesus I have known my entire life. I have seen the verse used for mission trips, for projects, to get volunteers to sign up for church events,etc. I have always known it to be true and have always used it to motivate myself & followers of Jesus to be about the work of the Kingdom.

However, I have never "felt" it to be more true than I have since moving to Chicago. God has brought me to the fields and has shown me the harvest. He has given me more homosexual friends than ever before. He has given me more friends who do not even have Jesus on their radar than ever before. He has given me a new city that needs people to engage it with God's love. He has given us favor with our local school. He has given us favor with some of our community development groups. He has given us favor with the local park district. Yes, I see the harvest. I see it everyday. When you are in the bubble of American Christianity, where all we do is surround ourselves with other Christians, christian schools, christian music and shop only at "Christian" stores, we began to lose sight of the harvest. We began to think the world really is ok & become numb to the hurt around us. We become oblivious to the injustices taking place. We become disinterested in the lost and just think, "if we can only get them to church." That way, they can hear a message from a Pastor, hear songs, and I really don't have to do anything but invite them and I've done my part. This gets us off the hook from investing in people's lives, loving people, and actually rolling up our sleeves and working the fields.

BUT when you let that bubble burst and your eyes are opened to a whole new world, you realize that there is a harvest and that the workers really are few.

What would it look like if churches began releasing their people into the harvest? What would it look like if instead of churches spending 90% of their energy getting people to come to church, they spent 100% of their energy sending people into the harvest? What if instead of 20% of church members being actually active in the ministry of the church, 100% of the body was active? What would our churches look like? What would our cities look like as we released a movement of Christ's love in the city?

This begs the question: what role are our churches really playing in the cities we live in? What if, instead of the church seeing the city as a resource, the city viewed the church as a resource? How cool would that be that as churches we were having such an impact on our city that they were coming to us to help rebuild, develop, and make the city better. AND doing it all in the name & love of Jesus. Wow, I get excited just thinking about all we could do as churches!

This is the vision of our church. I have experienced the harvest too much now to turn my back on it. Some of the harvest is ripe, and some of it still needs to seeded, and some of it still needs to be watered. But WE NEED workers. Ashley & I are about as stretched as we can be and be productive in the fields. We have set up a framework with DNA & a vision to be about the ministry of reconciliation in the city of Chicago, but we need workers to come and join in what God is doing here. To put it frankly: we need workers. I pray for God to give us co-laborers every day. To bring us people from Texas that feel called, or people from the Chi-town area, or people from Africa (or wherever He brings) that would be willing to sacrifice the comfort of the American Christian bubble and be about the harvest in Chicago.

BUT more importantly, I pray that Christians would sacrifice the comfort of the American Christian bubble for the harvest wherever God has called them. Whether that be in dallas, nyc, la, chicago, shanghai, bethlehem, or bronte (tx)!

Don't get me wrong I would love for people to come and join us and I'm continuing to pray for that because we need it, but God's ministry of reconciliation is bigger than what we are doing. For my eyes have seen the harvest, and unfortunately, my eyes don't see many workers. Will you open your eyes, sacrifice, & work?

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