There are many different factors that can delay your harvest from happening in the present tense. There are different kinds of harvests that we can pray for and believe for. For our consideration in this article, we shall limit the meaning of harvest to the in gathering of persons into the Divine Kingdom out from captivity by forces of darkness.
This author has been writing diligently for the last several years to elaborate upon significant factors that help usher in this particular harvest. These writings will be placed together in a packaged format called: HELPS FOR THE HARVEST. That package will be first in a CD text format. Then, it will be an audio format. Later, it will be presented in a self-published book. Even later, it may be made available in Christian stores around the U.S.A. and in several nations. We will see what the Spirit of the Lord accomplishes for us in that regard.
Of course then, we can not elaborate on every factor about accelerating this harvest in this one article as the Holy Spirit has dealt with me concerning it. However, there are some striking applications to present from our chosen narrative text for this article, which is Luke
5:1-11. It is for that reason that this author has chosen to provide an expository explanation of what he feels that Jesus was communication that day through HIS actions and HIS words as seen in that said text.
Before presenting such, this author wants to clearly communicate to you that he does not consider himself to the foremost expert on evangelism. Neither does he consider himself to be the greatest soul winner of all time. Neither does he consider himself to be the greatest coach in relationship to evangelism training of others for personal evangelism encounters. However, this author is grateful to God for the effectiveness in sharing the gospel in many social situations through the years. He is also grateful to God for being able to stay active even today in sharing gospel concepts to others. Furthermore, this author is grateful to for the obvious success that he has had in providing evangelism training workshops that have freed Christ disciples to more effectively share their faith on a daily basis in their work situations and in their neighborhood situations. What is shared for the people is not a style of
"confrontational evangelism". Rather, a style of evangelism that is shared could be called "Spirit-led Friendship Evangelism".
There are recorded comments from individuals that have been helped in such a way as to be able to consistently share Biblical concepts. There are recorded comments from Pastors who were thrilled to see their people grow in the confidence of this grace. These comments can be made available to you upon request..contingent upon the number of requests at one time and our financial ability to send them all out.
Therefore, this author does feel qualified to "start a good conversation" about what it takes to set the atmosphere for massive numbers of persons coming into the Divine Kingdom. Someone else may then enter into the conversation and provide additional tools for evangelism that I may not have yet considered or tried. That's okay. That would be a delight to this author, who wants to keep grasping any additional tools for the harvest that Pastors can be directed to. Nevertheless, let us get this helpful conversation based on the Luke 5:1-11 narrative started as it is about a most important concern for these last days that we live in.
In this said narrative, Jesus was using a miracle performed by HIM in a natural situation (the great catch of fish) to make a point to these fishermen about what HE could do in developing them to become what He called "fishermen of men" in spiritual concerns. Luke 5:9 indicates that all of these fishermen "were ASTONISHED" at the catch of the fish which they had taken". (This author has inserted the capitalization of one word herein by this author to emphasize a particular emotional response from these fishermen.) Therefore, Jesus pointed to a future harvest through these men that would be ASTONISHING. It would not be as the small in gatherings of persons that we have been experiencing at various seasons at most points of church history.
That which Jesus declared HE could do in developing these men; Jesus Christ did, indeed, demonstrate (through the power of the Holy Spirit) that HIS claim to make them fishermen of men to the measure of multitudes of persons like the multitudes of fish that day was valid. The history of the Book of Acts and from other writings validates HIS claim that HE made that day to them, as in Luke 5:10 compared to Luke 5:9.
Let us look at the evidence found in the Book of Acts from the beginning onward. On the Day of Pentecost, the Acts chapter 2 account tells us that 3000 persons were brought into repentance and submission unto the Lord Jesus Christ, as in Acts 2:41. After that, this Christ fellowship continued to grow on a daily basis, as in Acts 2:47. Growth on a dailyu basis extended to a one year term means that there would be, at least, 365 persons gathered unto HIM. That would be only one person per day. There could be far more that. That would be the very least amount.
Further evidence of ASTONISHING growth in new conversions is seen. After the miracle supernaturally provided for the man lame from birth followed by that man's leaping bounds into the Temple seen by many persons knowing of the certainty of this man's life time handicap, there was a great number of persons gathered together at Solomon's porch where Peter and John were with this man just healed of immobility. Seeing the multitude of persons gathered around them, Peter opened his mouth to provide a strong presentation for the claims of Jesus the Nazarene as the divinely designated Messiah and Savior for HIS people. Before Peter and John could bring a conclusion to their thoughts, the company of religious leaders (the priests, the captain of the temple, and Sadducees) "laid
hands upon them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening", as in Acts 4:3. These arresting action did not keep everyone from believing what Peter taught them as "the many of those who heard the word believed" to the number of five thousand men, as in Acts 4:4. Let us review the possible numbers so far. Three thousand on the Day of Pentecost followed by at least the daily additions plus five thousand after this said incident. That would equal to at least 8000 persons.
By the way, we can see from these scriptural references cited in this last paragraph that dramatic healing played a significant part in the growth of new conversions to the Divine Kingdom of God. The general history record about this found in the Holy Writ is found in Mark 16:20. which reads: "Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere. The Lord worked with them and confirmed His word by the signs that accompanied it"(the preaching of the word). In Acts 9:40-42, there is an account of Peter speaking life instructions to Dorcas, who had died. As a result, this resurrection from the dead was noised abroad all over Joppa and many people came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 5:12 indicates that there were many miraculous signs and wonders performed by the Holy Spirit through the apostles among the people in Solomon's Colonnade. As a result,more and more men and women believed in the Lord to be added to the number of increasing converts, as in Acts 5:14. Verses 15 to 16 speak of how this resulted in many more sick be placed in a position where Peter's shadow could fall upon them when he walked by them on the streets. They were healed as his shadow fell upon them. The result of all this that happened filled the Sadducees with great jealousy; therefore, we know there was much said about it.
Acts 6:7 reads: "So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith." Despite the violent and stern opposition of the religious leaders of Israel against the Body of Christ, it continued to grow rapidly and those newly converted soon became strong disciples.
Even among the priesthood, there were many converted to the Lord Jesus Christ despite everything the priesthood tried to do against these people.
These scriptural references certainly confirm that Jesus was very capable in developing these fishermen to be fishermen of multitudes of people in a relatively short period of time. The number of converts to the faith in Jerusalem alone in those first few years were, at least, twenty five thousand in number according to reports from historians. There were many who visited Jerusalem and went back to their homelands as new disciples not counted in the historical counts.
Why does this not happen with us today? We are not as closely connected with Jesus, the Lord of the harvest, as they. However, the Holy Spirit keeps working with us to teach us more about what Jesus taught HIS disciples about being fishermen of men. The Holy Spirit is working with the true church belonging to HIM to put us into the position for a great harvest of souls just before the wrapping of all things in Christ Jesus.
Now back to the narrative text. Luke 5:3 indicates that Simon allowed Jesus to use his boat as a platform for teaching the people. This brings up the principle of giving. Jesus makes sure that every act of giving is rewarded when given with the right kind of attitude. Jesus said that even a cup of cold water given to one of HIS disciples would not go without being rewarded. Pastors, you would do well to give as much special attention to a segment of teaching about the principles of giving as you would devote preparation time for any general message from the Word of God. You would be doing your people a great favor by doing so. Either you or someone that is a capable workman of the Word needs to teach the people just before receiving the tithes and offering from them. Many Pastors
have experienced tremendous finances poured in beyond the congregation's ability to give after they have faithfully taught on the giving principle.
Place great emphasis upon this in your ministry. If you are not sure that you are aware of all that you need to teach them on this great subject, you can visit a Christian book store that can direct you to books and resources that are available for this. Most Christian book stores today have on-line services that are able to tap into all book and magazine publishing companies that serve the Divine Kingdom.
Furthermore, it stands to logic that if money is important to the furtherance of the gospel message and Divine Kingdom interests; Pastors should be aware of some practical advice to give to people about how to obtain jobs best befitting them and how to go about establishing their own businesses. Information about these matters can obtained through contacting your local Chamber of Commerce offices who know of government and business agencies that would be of help to you. A few hours of your time investment could make you much more beneficial to your people. In addition, it would serve Pastors well to visit the Mayor and/or City Manager in their town with a spoken desire to be of help through the instrumentality of prayer for them concerning their duties and ask for advice about these matters of being of help to the people.
This will unlock resources not only about the areas just mentioned in this paragraph; but, also, it could be of help to you in the area of having access to clothes and food for the poor plus assistance with their utility bills in their times of crisis.
Another principle is found in this Luke 5:1-11 narrative text.
When the great catch of fish was manifested, the men in Simon's boat called out for their partners in their boat to come alongside them and help them harvest this phenomenal catch which caused both boats to be so full that began to be lowered into the water. Therefore, they had to bring the nets full of fish onto the shore as quickly as possible to keep their boats from sinking. This is verified by Luke 5:6-7. The principle that is found here is the power of unity. What would you think if one of your Pastor friends explained to you that his church is full in several multiple services and that he needs to transfer some of his people over to your church. You might faint while he is talking to you.
How many boats could Jesus have filled with an astonishing catch of fish? The answer is that we do not know. We do not know because HE simply filled the only boats that were available at the time, which were two. See first phrase of Luke 5:2. If there were ten boats, HE could have filled ten boats with fish. No one Pastor and his congregation can service the entire city or town with the benefits of the gospel; however, Pastors and their congregations that team together with each other can certainly provide an atmosphere wherein the entire city can be substantially impacted with the claims of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are many ministry projects that Pastors can work together to accomplish to the glory of God. An Evangelical newspaper sponsored by several churches and business companies owned by Christians could have an powerful impact upon a large community. It could be easily distributed to access by thousands with volunteers from many churches. It could present a clear and simple salvation message plus instructions about how to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It could also provide some instructions for new converts to faith. Once a large enough number of churches and companies committed to it on a monthly basis, it would easily flourish and blossom to be what people would look forward to reading. It could be passed out to people on the streets as part of the street outreach ministry especially if it had the plan of salvation in it.
Another area of ministry projects that Pastors can combine their resources together for a great impact upon a community is community park concerts with church sports tournaments. A crowd naturally draws a greater crowd of people wanting to know what is going on in the park. Information about the goodness of the Lord and the plan of salvation could be passed out to people coming to see what is going on.
In my visits to churches to minister to Pastors in hopes of directing them to tools for the harvest, I have heard and seen some great preaching by Pastors that are obscure to the general public and their congregations are small. The worship team of the congregation is simply outstanding. If they have a hindrance to growth, it is simply that too few people know about what they have going on within their four walls. Having a media outlet for their preaching and worship ministries would be a great boost for their church; however, they do not have the finances to make a long term financial contract with radio or television ministries to get the preferred time for exposure. What is the possible solution for them?
Team up with another minister that has purchased the right slots and is willing to share some of his or her time for a smaller financial pay. In other words, another minister may have purchased an entire week of broadcasting time at a certain preferred time and a Pastor with less financial resources could use fifteen to twenty minutes only once per week. I am presently doing this with a Pastor friend and it is working well for both of us. He uses five minutes as that is his choice and I use some 24 minutes of the remainder of the time on only one night per week. In other words, get your foot into the door no matter how small the crack even if it is for only a five minute or less broadcast time and with the help of others, it may grow into a bigger opportunity once people hear you after a period of time has passed.
Pastors could be on a television or radio interview format once a year and pay a portion of the cost of the program expenses then be enabled
to purchase a DVD of the program for a small cost of $25.00 that could be used for promotional purposes.
With the Billy Graham crusades for several years, we saw the power of Pastors and volunteers combining resources with the Billy Graham ministry team to make huge impacts upon cities with mass evangelism events.
We need to be praying for that same kind of impact to be raised up again.
It will take long hours of work by some people to make it happen in the cities of the U.S.A. and willingness for Pastors to work together.
There are great potentials for the harvest of souls beyond what we could ask, think, or imagine (Ephesians 3:20); if, we will intensity our love for the Lord Jesus Christ and work together these principles. Jesus told HIS original disciples that if you have MY love operating in you toward one another, then the world will know that My Father has sent Me and that I have sent you to them, as in John 13:34-35 & 17:23. The same applies for us today as ministerial leaders.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help us through the power of the Holy Spirit to expand our vision of expectation about the harvest of persons that can be brought into YOUR Divine Kingdom in this hour. Teach us how to better cooperate with each other and make that tremendous impact upon our communities and our cities. This we pray in the name of Jesus.
Evangelist, credentialed with World Ministry Fellowship International. Evangelist Fowler lives inCarrollton, Texas with his wife, Karen.