Continuing our study of Luke 10.
I tried without success to find out the average cost of starting a church in this country. If my memory serves me right, it's in the region of $350,000 by the time you include buildings and the training and salary for a pastor. (If anyone has an accurate figure, I would be interested to know.) Then there's all the paraphernalia surrounding a church plant: a marketing strategy, the new worship team, Sunday school and so on…
Contrast this with Luke 10:4, remembering that this passage in Luke 10 is Jesus' pattern for reaching out to communities of people.
"Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road."
Why would Jesus tell us not to take anything with us? Surely we need some money and other resources to reach out to a new community?
There are a couple of reasons why not. First, if we take nothing with us, where is our dependence? It has to be on the Lord to provide for us. Where is that provision going to come from? Out of the harvest!
This is a huge paradigm shift for those of us who have been involved in traditional church life. All the resources for any new work are going to be in the harvest. The premises will come from the harvest. New leadership will come from the harvest. The workers for any new area are probably not even believers yet.
If you ask our Indian friends why you don't take things with you, they will add another reason too. You don't take anything extra with you because you don't plan to stay! Again, that's because the workers for the harvest are in the harvest. You do not move to a new area to lead a church, but you will mentor the new worker from the harvest who will lead the church.
Why do you not stop to greet anyone on the way? We are looking for a specific person, and Jesus tells us later in the passage how we will recognize that person. Again our Indian friends have a different perspective. They say that if they talk to the wrong person, they stand a good chance of being beaten up! It's best to let Jesus reveal the right person.