One day as he looked out over a crowd of the lost Jesus made the comment that “The Harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37) highlighting the need for more proclaimers of the gospel. Jesus made it crystal clear that it is the purpose of those whom God has saved, the members of the ‘church’, to be those workers, to “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19,20).
It seems however that, while the vast majority of church members have heard those words of Jesus multiple times in sermons or Bible studies, the ‘workers’, those who will leave their comfortable church base and go onto the ‘Frontline’ of God’s local mission are still few. ‘Frontliners’ are those who will penetrate the mosaic of the ‘lost’ tribes that constitute today’s society with the message of the gospel. The great evangelist D.L. Moody summed up a fundamental reason for missional failure with these words-
“How many are there in the church today, who have been members for fifteen or twenty years, but have never done a solitary thing for Jesus Christ? They cannot lay their hands upon one solitary soul who has been blessed through their influence; they cannot point today to one single person who has ever been lifted up by them.”
The reality is that the vast majority of today’s church members have never “lifted anyone up” that is won anyone for Christ, but rather just consume what church offers for themselves and their families. The fact is that
• Sitting in comfortable church services wins no-one for Jesus Christ
• Sitting in comfortable church services and expecting the lost to just walk in, almost never wins anyone for Jesus anymore
• Sitting in comfortable church services and trying to run things (Outreach activities) to get them into church, has not been winning any significant numbers of the lost for Jesus for now decades.
That is why the ‘Newcomer’ percentage in congregations, those who haven’t joined a congregation from some church elsewhere, is in single digits and falling.
So I want to encourage those at the coalface, I’ll call them the ‘Frontliners’ those at the frontline of mission, those who start new groups (missional communities) in the local area where they actually engage with the lost on a regular basis, the people who will never come into our Sunday service, those whom Jesus was so deeply concerned about that he died for them.
‘Frontliners’ be encouraged, even though ‘Frontine’ mission can be hard, for your missional communities in the harvest field of the lost have a vastly higher ‘Newcomer’ percentage, well over 50% and often even higher, than anything achieved by standard congregations (single digits and falling). This fact is well documented by grounded research carried out into the thousands of missional communities established in the UK in the last 15 years or so.
Praise God for, but also encourage the ‘Frontliners’!
Better still become one! It’s not rocket science and anyone can do it.
How? See the next post!