Jesus commands us to "pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest..."
This is not an option if we are followers of Christ. It is a direct command of Christ and one that has enormous implications on world evangelization.
When we first began our church planting back in the year 2000, the Lord led us to Luke 10. This is where Jesus sends out the 70. In the first nine verses are a series of instructions (commands) that Jesus gives the seventy.
The first instruction in what is a series of steps and instructions to the disciples is to PRAY FOR WORKERS. When we first decided to follow the ten2b virus in Luke 10 we soon realized that to do it Jesus way would mean that we could no longer "recruit" laborers in the way we had originally envisioned. Jesus way of "recruiting" is through prayer. So we began to pray in March of the year 2000. As a team, we prayed throughout March, April, May, June, and July with no one coming forth in response to our praying.
It was a difficult time where we highly questioned whether or not we were accurately interpreting this literal command of Christ. If it was applicable for us today, where were the laborers? Just as we were about to give up on this approach to finding workers to train, the Lord opened a door. I was walking out of an office one day when a pastor tapped me on the back and said something like, "I hear you guys are willing to come and help train our people in evangelism and church planting. Could you come to our church and train our people?"
I could barely contain my excitement, but remained "cool" and took out my blank agenda and checked to see if we had any open "available dates." It didn't take long to agree on a date and time for the training!
When we arrived at the church with our big box of training materials we had worked on for months, we were disappointed to say the least. Instead of a church full of excited, young, intelligent, eager church planters like we had imagined, there were only a handful of not-so-promising individuals. Present were several elderly ladies, one blind woman, another woman who had physically lost her voice and could only whisper, a 2-month old Christian, and a man whose house had burned to the ground and was there aparently looking for a hand out. Not one of those present fit our profile for starting a church planting movement as we had dreamed and prayed for!
To say the least we were disappointed. But since the commitment had been made with the church, and we had no other invitations, we could do no other than present our church planting materials to this unpromising group. I remember thinking to myself what a cruel joke God had played on us. There we had prayed for months on end and this was the answer to our prayer!?!?
But God works in mysterious ways. It was more a lesson for us as a team than it was anything else. To make a long story short, within eight weeks that unpromising group of believers had begun SIX NEW WORKS!!! Today seven years later, four of those still are active NT churches!
The lesson God had for us is that if we take His Word seriously and attempt to do things His way, He will work! It has nothing to do with what man sees on the outside, it has everything to do with prayer and believing God honors His Word. I truly believe God very much wants to answer the 10:2b prayer if we will just pray it!
Is God still working in this way seven years later? You bet.
Yesterday I received a phone call from the northern part of Ecuador from a man I had never heard of, nor knew from Adam. He introduced himself and said he wanted to start planting churches in his area of the country. Could I train him? I said, "sure, when can you come?" He said he could catch a bus and travel all night and be here in TEN HOURS! I told him to come on, again not really expecting him to show up. Guess what? He indeed showed up today and we spent several hours training him and showing him how to use our COSECHA church planting materials. He left fired up and ready to conquer the world! After eating a meal with us, we said goodbye and he left to catch a bus back home.
That is the way God is working in today's world. It is extremely humbling to be part of something that is way beyond our control. I have learned to pray daily 10:2b. Will you begin to pray this prayer too? I challenge you to take seriously this command of Christ. It is one he wants to answer if we will but ask Him.