I had a conversation with my pastor a few weeks ago. He gave me some advice about evangelism that was timely- you have to sow much seed in order to bring in a harvest. I have spent months focusing on 2 families through home Bible studies over the course of seven months. The first family was tempted by Satan to find offense, so they said they couldn’t have Bible study anymore. The second family fell on very difficult times and I have not been able to reach them in spite of trying every week for over a month. Stoney ground, thorny ground…
Having spent so much time sowing much on such narrow ground, my frustration is that now it seems we are back to square 1 in our efforts to plant a church. The Lord called us out of the church we were in at the time and moved us for the express purpose of planting a church, so it is frustrating to feel like we are starting over after nearly a year of work. There is a reason I focused so intently on a few people. It felt like I was being more intentional by investing heavily in a few people with the plan of branching out based on their contacts in the community. I was casting a hook instead of casting a net. But church planting requires both.
Thankfully God has expanded my vision. Planting a church is very important to me. But the ministry we have in Jackson has manifested itself in other ways that let me know we have been casting a net. We are working in the pro-life movement in Madison County through Tennessee Right To Life. We have been able to connect our mother church and our district organization to the important challenges the pro-life movement faces in 2014. We also minister weekly at our local soup kitchen and are beginning to see lives change. These people are impoverished and indigent in some cases, so there is constant turn over. I have been guilty of despising the day of small things in the past, but I don’t want to grieve the Holy Ghost by belittling this important ministry.
We could not have ministered effectively while in our previous situation. Jackson is the community of our calling and we are working the field, fishing the sea. The Lord knows the plans He has for each of us and is never slack concerning His promises, but He is faithful at all times. He knows the road ahead and guides the footsteps of the righteous. And that is what has comforted me the most. So we will continue to cast hooks and nets.
Have you ever felt frustrated because you thought you should be farther along than you are? Have you, or are you, blinded to the small ways that your ministry is progressing? Let me know in the comments; I’d love to hear from you!