Ministry leaders are the busiest people I know. I am certain of this because I am one. Over the course of my thirty year journey in ministry I have been involved in church planting, graduate school training, counseling, constructing buildings, raising money and doing lots and lots of marketing and promotional stuff. Perhaps the biggest challenge in full-time ministry for me has actually been deciding where to target my energies. "Saving the world" is a pretty big job.
Jesus simply focused on people. Cities. Towns. Individuals. When he opened his eyes every day he saw the lost— seas of lost people, lost people everywhere! He saw that they were sincerely seeking to make themselves right, happy and whole, but that they were clueless as to how to really do it. Lost people, he said, are sheep without a shepherd. They typically follow the other sheep and hope for the best. Satan destroys them by the thousands each day. The busy churchmen of Christ’s day were blind to them, but Jesus saw them. He walked around connecting with people everywhere he went looking for opportunities to bring them into right relationship with his Father. That was his central purpose in life and ministry. "The Son of Man came to find lost people and save them.” Luke 19.10 ERV
So don’t think about the choir, the youth retreat or keeping the donors happy. Just focus on lost people. Everybody in the church, focus on the lost. Pastors, elders and teachers, focus on the lost. Children’s leaders, focus on the lost. Youth workers, focus on the lost. Ushers and parking-lot attendants, focus on the lost. Man in the pew, grandmothers, and baby Christian, focus on the lost.
Evangelize the lost and disciple them to maturity. We have no other purpose as a church.
If we need buildings, equipment, magazines and radio stations (and we do), God will provide them. We will want to gather and worship, pray and soak up the rich word of God, but, remember, we were never called to build the church. Jesus said that he would do that. We were called to take up the only unfinished ministry of Jesus: seeking and saving the lost. Do this and you will be happy, blessed and living under the smile of the Father. Let’s bring God’s lost children back home to Him. He cares about little else in these last days. It will take effort and sacrifice, the biggest of which is to daily step out of the comfortable don’t-bother-me-I-have-enough-to-do-already life we have settled into. We can change our lifestyle if we want to.
Most believers who have been saved for over ten years are utterly barren evangelistically. Worse yet, they will never bear fruit again. Why? They have settled comfortably into their church world, surrounded by God’s wonderful children, spoiled by their shepherds and incapable of opening the Bible and explaining salvation accurately to a lost person. They have come to see the body of Christ as a divided house: those who are called and those who are not. Pastors and evangelists, for example, are said to be called to do the reaching out to people sort of things. The rest of us are not. So, believers by the millions attend church regularly, then invest the remainder of their earthly lives engaged in other loves: work, sports, food, family, hobbies. Many of them may feel guilty about it (I know because I did for many years until I entered the harvest myself,) but precious few will ever leave their comfort zones.
In evangelism God has only one problem and it’s not the harvest. God’s only trouble in reaching the lost is the ratio of harvest workers to receptive people. Jesus said to his inwardly focused, sometimes-exclusivist disciples, “Wake up! Open your eyes, and look at this harvest! It is already ripe and ready-to be reached!”
This is an excerpt from I Want to Bear Fruit! It is a different kind of personal evangelism book that will show you how you can reach out to others without pressuring them or embarrassing yourselves. Bear Fruit is available in print and electronic versions on Amazon, or on CreateSpace by clicking here.
You can contact Chuck Quinley and also listen to his podcast, Thread, by visiting Quinley.com. Chuck and his team run the innovative Medialight Institute which trains emerging leaders from all over the world to become media missionaries. Visit medialightasia.com for more information.