Lack of Harvesters Leads to Rotten Fruit
Recently Reina*, a BEYOND field worker, was approached by a foreign worker from another organization. “I want you to let me know if you have any local workers in your network who would partner with me for an unengaged, unreached people group (UUPG). I’m only looking for godly people who are highly mature, thoroughly tested, and impervious to temptation; those who know suffering and can take it.” Interestingly, he did not offer to come alongside and develop those who might feel called to that particular UUPG.
Reina’s playful side wanted to respond, “So, what you are looking for is a ready-made disciple like the Apostle Paul?” “Thankfully,” she says, “grace and mercy in the nudging of the Holy Spirit’s conviction prevented that response.”
Reina reflects, “In Matthew 9:37-38, Jesus admonishes the 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.’
“Many times the fruit goes rotten for lack of harvesters among unreached people groups (UPGs). In Western cultures, instant gratification is generally the norm. Fast food drive-thru is the main course for millions. Our Western culture craves the satisfaction of every longing, every impulse. And we want it all instantaneously, not later; certainly not through a process.
“This is far from the process of developing disciple makers we see in Disciple Making Movements (DMM). When starting from scratch, we often feel worn out from pouring into others’ lives. But that is what we do as disciples of the Lord Jesus: we make reproducing disciples. We follow the patterns Jesus laid out, as we select others into whom we pour patterns of discipleship. God led Barnabas and Paul to disciple faithful, available, teachable people.
“In the DMM process, we often start with a lump of clay. That pretty much sums up the condition of our hearts before God molds us into Christ-like displays, obedience-based followers, and worship-thirsty disciple makers. He intends to be made famous through us, his desired vessels of honor, for His honor.
“Much to the dismay of many Western missionaries, discipleship of an oikos (a household/relational group) and indigenous leaders is a long and messy process. There are no ready-made, pre-trained disciple makers among UPGs.
“That is one of the main reasons these groups remain unreached. Few disciple makers are going to them. Even near-culture Christians often have areas of bondage in their lives which need the redemptive power of Christ – so they can walk in freedom and become vessels of honor. Isn’t that true of each of us?
“We cannot shy away from the process of disciple making with those whom God is raising up among near-culture laborers and alongside indigenous persons of peace (Luke 10:6) and their respective oikos.
“Making disciples through Discovery Bible Study helps reduce harmful dependency. I love that reality. I love that from the start, as we partner with the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, we can invite others to engage with the Father and effectively share with others in this way. Through this process, God’s Spirit multiplies obedient worshipers and servants of Jesus, to the glory of His Name.”
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