Becoming missional: We reap what we sow

I'm reminded of a story about D.L. Moody. Someone once criticized him for the way he brought everyone to the front to respond to the Gospel.

"Well, how do you do it?" Moody asked.

The man had no answer because he wasn't leading anyone to the Lord.

Moody's response: "I prefer the way I do it badly to the way you don't do it at all."

There's much I don't like about the way the Gospel is preached in this country–for example, televangelism. But can I criticize if I am doing nothing myself?

John wesley small

Another story, this time about John Wesley.

John Wesley was an intinerant evangelist traveling widely in order to preach the Gospel. One day, someone challenged him that he should only speak to people about the Lord when he sensed God prompting him. He tried it for one week. During that time he spoke to virtually no one because he never sensed the Lords' prompting. At the end of the week he concluded this didn't work and went back to speaking to everyone he met.

I speak to myself: we have lost the art of abundant Gospel sowing. 

 

Photo credit: Pete Reed (Creative Commons)

The principle of sowing and reaping applies. The harvest we reap is directly proportional to the amount of seed we sow. (Obviously other factors such as quality of soil, water etc. need to be taken into account). In general, we reap little because we sow little. Are we trying to harvest in fields where little or no seed has been sown?

The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptists have produced a wonderful video called Like a Mighty Wave. It can be downloaded from their video resource section  It examines the ten common practices of movements where many people are finding Christ and many new churches are starting. One of these practices is abundant Gospel sowing.

What does it look like for us to sow abundantly in a way that fits our simple/organic principles? If we cannot do it here in our own culture, how do we expect to do it on the mission field?

Abundant Gospel Sowing

Love

Photo credit: david a lea (Creative Commons)

When I was a new Christian, the group of believers I was part of participated in many forms of evangelism. We were trained by some of the best organizations in the Christian world. We went door-to-door, we distributed tracts, we told people about the Four Spiritual Laws, we witnessed to our friends. And we saw fruit. We sowed abundantly and we reaped accordingly. Certainly some of those whose lives were touched are still going on with the Lord. Our lives were centered on mission.

We have lost the skill of sowing abundantly.

We were motivated by things like the story in the last post tthat tells how most Christians are "making daisy chains" rather than caring about the lost. My question; is this a good motivation for mission? provoked an instinctive response from most of the people who responded.They recognized that the message most people will receive through the story, despite the truths being portrayed is this: "Many people are going to hell. You are not doing enough about it. You are not good enough; you are guilty."

Guilt is not the motivation that Jesus wants us to have.

So how do we gain a heart to sow abundantly while not being motivated by guilt and obligation? I think part of the answer lies in these verses in 2 Corinthians 5 which I have abbreviated to clarify the message.

Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others.  Christ’s love controls us.  He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

 God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 

What motivates us for mission? Mission originates in the heart of God: For God so loved the world that he gavie his son. As we draw closer to God and get to know his heart, his love for others will motivate us.