Across the years, church ministry has become more multifaceted and complicated. We are endeavoring to find more ways to provide for the needs of members and in some cases connect with those outside the church. I find no fault in creative methods of pre-evangelism and, in fact, applaud every effort by the church to reach beyond the walls to draw the lost into relationships with Christians.
We must admit, however, that we often mistake the method for the work of harvest. Relationship evangelism sounds good. Designing entry points for the lost to encounter a Christian environment and Christian people is a good thing. Yet, I am convinced we have been lulled to sleep, thinking these things produce the harvest of souls for the Savior.
There are some vital and biblical steps between method, encounter, environment and harvest of lost souls. The harvest will not come without a clear presentation of the Gospel with an appeal for a commitment. In short, the sowing of seed as addressed by Jesus in Matthew 13 refers to the declaration of the Gospel. People are not saved by an act of osmosis. They are saved when they embrace the clear claims of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by grace through faith.
My appeal is simple. We cannot ignore the responsibility of Christians to speak the Gospel regularly. It is not enough to rub shoulders with the lost and hope they get it. It is not enough to invite them to church and hope they hear it. We must love them enough to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit in speaking the Good News into their lives and calling for a response.
By the way, sometimes that presentation of the Gospel is done in snippets. Sometimes we have the privilege of sitting in a home and sharing the full Gospel without interruption. Often, people must hear the Gospel multiple times before the Holy Spirit drops the scales from their eyes, and they respond to His drawing them to faith.
In the end, our job is to be Gospel tellers. It is the Holy Spirit’s task to call and convert. But it is clear God uses us as the means to scatter the seed of the Gospel. He brings the harvest and gives the increase.
But do not fail to see the clear promise found in Psalm 126 and Matthew 13. The Psalmist said when you sow in tears (idea of the Hebrew is never stop sowing) you will come again bringing in the sheaves (harvest). You sow-He will give the increase. Jesus made it even more dramatic. He said we will reap 30, 60 and 100 fold.
Guess Oklahoma Baptists better start sowing, because the harvest has been very sparse. The more we sow, the more we reap. Start slinging the seed, my friends. I will join you.