Church planting Simple Church

15 reasons why we don’t see harvest


Here are some reasons why we may not see the kind of harvest we long for:

  1. We are so involved with other believers we do not have time for friendship with those who do not yet know Jesus.
  2. We are fearful of being "contaminated" by too much contact with the world. 
  3. Lack of the "apostolic mission" part of simple church DNA.
  4. Lack of prayer for the harvest.
  5. Lack of training.
  6. We do not "go and make disciples."
  7. We are fishing in the wrong place, or to change metaphors, we are seeking to reap a harvest where either the fields are not yet ripe or little/no seed has been sown.
  8. We invite people to come to our church.
  9. When someone becomes a Christian, we extract them from their community to join ours.
  10. We fail to work through a "person of peace."
  11. We are not preaching the gospel of the kingdom
  12. Lack of the supernatural.
  13. Sequentialism
  14. We do not train the new believer to pass on his story and what he is learning to his friends.
  15. We scatter rather than gather.

 Some of these topics will be covered more fully in future posts. 

Can you think of any other reasons why  we are not seeing harvest? Let us know!

22 replies on “15 reasons why we don’t see harvest”

We longer see a field ripe for harvest, we see a development opportunity. Churches have become more involved in teaching self-improvement than salvation from sins, which despite being more popular, isnt the message Christ commisioned us to preach. We’re too busy fixing people up to look like Christians to teach the truth of the gospel any more.

Felicity, Thank you for this series! Two more:
* A belief that the teachings and ministry practices of
Christ and the apostles are not very relevant for
our situations.
* Reluctance to try or adopt apostolic practices used
today in Asia or elsewhere, if they feel counter-
intuitive or unfamiliar to us. Even if they are being
used very fruitfully elsewhere.

Great thoughts Bruce and Jo!
Sequentialism is the idea that you focus on things in a linear fashion. “When we function well as a community, then we will reach out to our neighbors.” David Garrison talks about it in his book Church Planting Movements. In reality, it can all be done at the same time.

Many peoples lives have little to no margin and it is always filled with some kind of activity…myself included 🙁

The seed is of poor condition: We don’t preach repentance, or worse, we ourselfes don’t repent…

Another way of describing sequentialism is that
it views certain things as happening in as certain
order: [1] prayer [2] proclamation [3] salvation
[4] identifying with a group of disciples [5] disciple- ship [6] ministry training.
In many places, as Felicity noted, they are actually
being done in various orders, and simultaneously.
If we are always looking for opportunities to do any
or all of them at any time, great opportunities will
arise, and we will be amazed.

We cannot leave out one of the obvious and that is related to our materialism….what we are giving our lives to. (this is pretty general)
I believe one of the greatest hindrances to what we are talking about is the Sunday morning service. People are just happy to attend meetings and give their lives over to church work.
Within the house church one of the biggest problems is that it is very rare that you have everybody on the same page. When you mention the harvest people come against you. Some are there for community, some just the meeting, some just to sit. You cannot seem to get enough momentum for equipping, for training, encouragement. People just haven`t got the time or interest.
Busy-ness. We know this will need a lot of prayer but people rarely have time to pray. It seems very few have made the transformation from church lifestyle to kingdom lifestyle. The busyness of our lives has to have as its foundation “the kingdom“
It is easy to find people who will meet in a house. It is harder to find people who are interested in the harvest.
This next quote was written in 1973 by Elton Trueblood referring to the church of the Saviour….though it doesn`t seem related, it is
When so many Christians have an edifice complex, it is shocking that they have no proper church building. The church is not centralized in one place, but is in the homes and offices and coffee shops and arts and crafts center and retreat farm. The church is where the members are carrying on their ministry. They do not need a pipe organ, a sanctuary or altars. All who think Christianity is centered in Shrines, cathedrals or buildings are bound to resent the emphasis of this church. (Elton Trueblood speaking of the Church of the Saviour in Washington DC. 1973)
We need to start being brutally honest about the cost involved in this missional lifestyle.

A couple of you have enquired about # 15. Luke 11:23 says, “He who does not gather with me scatters.” I think this applies for example to mass evangelism. We hold a “crusade,” and many respond. But because they are not followed up well or gathered for discipleship, there is very little remaining fruit a year later (typically about 1%). The effect is more like an inoculation. I will blog more about this soon.

Top Reason: We have a small vision of who Jesus Christ is. We tend to look so intently at the “things” of Him (gifts, evangelism, ministry, church multiplication, scholarship, receiving blessings, etc.) that we lose the main goal: “The surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus [our] Lord”. (Phillipians 3:7-11)

-Too busy with our own lives and not understanding that “seek first the Kingdom” means just that.
-Teaching new believers a lot of good stuff, but failing to teach and obey the commands of Christ as He told us to do in Matt.28:20.

I reluctantly add another factor:
Could it be that we are not really that passionate about Jesus the King and His Kingdom and have not counted the cost of being his disciple who makes disciples?

It’s less about Jesus and the Kingdom then about our “church” organization and about ourselves. That could apply to house church-fascination as well, I think. We’re called to love God, love others and make disciples. Speaking of legacy churches, what does the institution of “church” as we know it — all the expense, bureaucracy, politics, etc. — add to those three things or how does it aid in their accomplishment? A pastor friend in another city told me excitedly the other day that his church just closed on buying 37 acres for a new building. I don’t know the cost, but the land purchase, construction and future maintenance must add up to millions. And the new people who will come to that church, statistics show, by and large will not be new believers, but people from other churches. “God is in it,” he told me. How, I wondered. Why would he think that?

Guy and Peter, you are so right!
Dan, I agree with you about the three things we’re called to do. And your story about the church buying land for a building is enough to make one weep. I love your final couple of questions.

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