Published 10:00 am Thursday, June 23, 2022
By Shannon Marshall
I saw an old IH hat the other day. IH stood for International Harvester farm equipment. These International Harvesters are all about gone. They have been replaced by a lot of other things in the farm world. Jesus is the International Harvester in the church. Jesus said in Luke 10: 2, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” We live in a time where we like to do little work but get big results. We don’t like to plant, water, work, grow, hoe, but we want a big harvest.
Years ago, there was the church growth movement, which basically said, if your church is growing you are winning and if your church is declining you are losing. Winning fueled pride in the growth movement. Losing brought discouragement and depression. In verse 2, Jesus said, “His harvest.” Satan is working hard to bring down churches. It can be discouraging, but the work depends on God. Paul said, “don’t grow weary in well doing.” We like to celebrate results, but the one time in the Bible results were celebrated, Jesus said, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10: 20). Every year in the SBC 900 churches close and 1200 open. Ninety percent of the churches that close are surrounded by growing communities. God deserves the glory from your church. Satan desires to rob God of glory. But God wants to claim your church for His glory. Here are three quick helps for the church.
First, rely on Jesus. Don’t rely on programs or personalities. An over reliance on programs can lead to more dependance on ourselves rather than Jesus.
Second, don’t resent people. Love people like Jesus does. Sometimes the neighborhood likes you, sometimes it doesn’t. Jesus sent the seventy-two into hostile territory. It is hostile territory as we are sent, “I send you out as lambs among wolves.” (vs 3).
Third, be the church. Don’t be in conflict about being the church. Your church address is no accident. Let the community see the glory of God through your church.