By guest blogger Mark Foster
Recently Bob wrote a blog entry about the devotional book Jesus Calling. I use that book as well and have for more than a year now. What was especially compelling for me is that the words Sarah Young shares match the experience of the way God has been speaking to me for a long time.
Part of a series inspired by Peter Drucker, an important mentor of mine
When I was first planting a church, I found that I was getting tired and discouraged every two weeks. Some planters have a weekly cycle and some a monthly schedule, but mine seemed to be a lunar cycle. But for whatever reason, I’d start feeling really worn out every two weeks. I prayed the psalms, crying out to God, asking for his help, praying for perspective. I was on the lookout for unconfessed sin. I tried counting my blessings. Nothing. I wasn’t getting anywhere.
As we pray for the development of leaders, our motivation should reflect that of Jesus: the harvest fields themselves. We need to allow our heart to break for the harvest.
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Matthew 9:35-38
God did not create us to walk through the Christian life alone. We were made to function as part of a team. We each have blind spots. We each need support. Any ministry endeavor will only be as strong as the team that supports it. A team of intercessors should be the first building block of any new ministry.
Recruit your team of intercessors similarly to the way you would recruit a team of financial supporters. Ask individuals who share your vision and are willing to make a solid commitment to support that vision in regular, focused prayer for a limited period of time, like one year.
Too many people go about serving without listening first. They dive in doing what they think needs to be done without really knowing if they’re hitting a point of real need or not and without knowing if what they’re doing is truly effective. As Carl George has said, “Help is not help unless it is perceived to be helpful.”
Listening—indispensable for true ministry—is both a practice and a skill. It is a practice in the sense that you must intentionally set about doing it. It is a skill in the sense that you can continually study its dynamics and learn to do it better. How do we practice listening and hone our skills?
Luke 10:2b: “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Excerpt from Neil Cole’s excellent book Organic Leadership:
As I mentioned in Organic Church, I have actually set my mobile phone alarm to go off at 10:02 every morning to remind me of this verse in Luke so that I can remember to beg for workers. In fact I spread the passage wherever I go. We call this the 10:2b virus, based on the reference in Luke 10:2b, which commands us to beg for workers for the harvest. God ahead and put the book down at this point, get out your cell phone or PDA, and program the alarm to go off at 10:02. Join the movement. Spread the virus.