Maybe we’ve even said it ourselves at one time or another.
How wrong we are!
Now don’t get me wrong. It is great to have a place that we can come, gather together for worship, prayer, teaching, and exhortation. The Bible tells us to do that, and to do it with even more frequency as we see the end times approaching.
120 of Jesus’ followers had done that at Pentecost when the Holy Sprit fell upon them accompanied by audible and visible signs and the church was born! When Peter and John were released after being threatened by the Sanhedrin they came to the place where other believers were gathered together – they recounted the persecution and the threats, and the entire group prayed, and when they prayed, the place where they were was shaken.
When Herod had slain James with the sword, he had Peter arrested and he was scheduled for execution as well. When God sent an angel to deliver Peter in the most remarkable jailbreak ever, he immediately headed for John Mark’s mother’s home, where he knew the believers were assembled in an attitude of prayer for his safety.
However, we need to awaken to the fact that “the meetin’ house” is not what it is ALL about. It is not a place for the “holy huddle” to remain. It is not “the church”, we are! It is simply a place for preparation for the work that Jesus has given us to do.
Our focus must be outside the walls.
We are located in cities, towns, rural areas, and in countries all around the globe – and that is where Christ has placed us, and that’s exactly where he sends us.
Consider His words in Matthew 9: 35-38 “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Notice Jesus went… He never traveled more than a few day’s foot journey from where He was born or grew up. He calls us to go outside the walls of the church. He calls us to go intentionally, but He also calls us to make disciples “as we are going” about our daily lives as well. He calls us to labor. His plan is for us to “reach, baptize, and teach”. Jesus saw the crowds like helpless sheep. Harassed by Satan. Beaten down by him and unable to help themselves. He compassionately told His disciples, and us, that laborers are needed!
Oh! That we would see others the way Jesus sees them! Oswald Chambers has said: “We talk about the second coming of Christ, but half the world has never heard of His first coming!” Millions walk in darkness around the world, but also around the corner from us. May God burden our hearts to accomplish His Great Commission.
The Master Plan of Evangelism has two aspects. There is the geographic plan as shown in Acts 1:8 (starting in our home town first and reaching around the globe). The other aspect is the mathematical component. 2 Timothy 2:2, making disciples and creating “faithful” individuals who will be able to replicate themselves, and on and on, multiplying the number of believers as we go.
In the coming year we are going to be exploring how we ALL can be more involved in disciple making. Yes, we will encourage and support international missions. Yes we will financially support North American mission work and church planting activities. We will take part in Disaster Relief, and some will make mission trips in North America and to Asia. But we will also focus on How we may reverse the “Great Omission” of forgetting the many lost people in our own area. We’ll explore various methods, using situations every one of us are already prepared for with our own unique gifts and talents.
I’m praying the Lord of the Harvest that He will send laborers. Right here among us. The harvest is great. The laborers are few. The time is short. Judgment is final and eternity is forever!