Say what you want about the next generation, but be sure what you say includes something about Oklahoma’s GO Students.
This summer, more than 200 GO Students from 96 churches served as short-term missionaries overseas. Every Oklahoma Baptist would do well to implement the evangelism strategy utilized by GO Students. The GO Student evangelism strategy is not restricted to the foreign mission field. The best part of the strategy is the realization that being a missionary starts at home. Agricultural terms found in Matthew 13 help to define the seasonal process for seeing the lost come to faith in Christ.
The first step is to prepare the soil of the lost person’s heart plowing. The plowing season is equivalent to praying for the lost. Before a farmer plants a seed, the soil must first be prepared. Understanding that God is capable of calling anyone to Himself at anytime, the plowing process is a reminder that God is inviting us to join Him in preparing the soil. As we pray for hard hearts of lost people to be softened, the Holy Spirit often goes to work in the life of the one we are praying to know Him.
Once the soil is ready, the seed can be planted. The sowing season is a time of planting the gospel seed into the lives of those we meet and love. Of course, it is God’s responsibility to work in the person’s heart, but our role is to plant the gospel seed when given the opportunity. The sowing process cannot be rushed. God works according to His plan in the person’s life. Our job is not to sell or compel, but tell the person about salvation found only in Christ.
Not all seed falls on fertile soil. But there will be some that comes to full growth. Once the lost soul comes to faith in Christ, the harvest must be reaped. Scripture reminds us that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. We must be about our Father’s business. We must reap at the right time, and according to His timing, not our own. Remaining sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and operating with the eyes and ears of Christ assures that we are most effective. We never know where people are in their journey to salvation. Many are ripe for the picking. Others are too green and not quite ready to accept Him. Nonetheless, we must be ready to do our part. We must be willing to plow, sow and reap in season.
The Lord saves the lost, but he gives them to us to teach. It is our responsibility to make disciples. We must teach them how to become strong, viable branches that reproduce and grow much fruit. Vintaging is the final season. Discipleship takes time and commitment. Maturity can’t be rushed. We have not fulfilled our responsibility as commanded by Christ if we fail to nurture the new seedling to fullness in Christ.
Jesus said in Matthew 9:62, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” As the fields are cultivated and the gospel seeds are broadcast, the harvest is certain to come, and new disciples will surely be made in His name.