“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. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”
This passage has often been applied to the need for more pastors and missionaries. Rightly so. But what about you and me today? Is this just for the professional ministry worker who might respond to God’s calling, or is there a calling for us today in relation to our neighbor?
I am blessed to be part of a “simple church” model, called Generation Church, located throughout the southeast Phoenix valley. By “simple church,” we mean no dedicated facility, paid staff, budgets, or committees. Rather we gather in multiple home-based groups with each group being served by two or three elders.
Our ministry decisions are made by the elders discussing, praying, and presenting plans to the church for their own prayerful support and engagement. Our offerings are invitations to support the ministries of the CLB and to engage local opportunities by giving our time, talent, and treasures to the needs right around us. I have never experienced more growth and joy in ministry than I have in these last few years of serving in Generation Church.
Our simplicity has freed us to devote greater focus to worship, discipleship, and evangelism. Generation Church’s 80+ members are, in turn, freed to give more time sharing their faith outside the walls of our worship gatherings. This is where I see Matthew 9:38 come alive.
One of the most recent stories is from one of our Generation Church couples, Chris and Blanca Krosky. I received the following text message from Chris back in February:
Really cool encounter with a coworker. Shared the gospel and prayed with him yesterday. He called me today, saying he and his wife are so eager and excited to join us in church in a couple of weeks. They went out late last night to find a Bible, and he said he prayed for the first time after reading a Bible he found that his grandparents had given him. Blanca and I will have them over for dinner in two weeks. Praise the Lord!
Yes, indeed—praise the Lord! Praise the Lord for the ordinary members of our churches who, by faith, embrace our Lord’s calling to enter his harvest field. The couple with whom the Kroskys shared Christ has joined one of our simple church gatherings and are now being discipled.
Meanwhile, our fellow gospel co-laborers Chris and Blanca have recently moved to Franklin, Tennessee, where Chris accepted a position with Ramsey Solutions. We have already begun to wonder and pray if the Lord might be planting yet another simple church in this southern Nashville suburb. This is the nimble, simple way the gospel is spread as the Lord scatters his Church around the world.
Rev. Phil Heiser serves the Church of the Lutheran Brethren as Associate for Ministry Support.