By Robby Christmas - Pastor of Family Church in the Farms
Picture yourself leading a training… you’ve had some good time on the white board, trainees have gotten lots of reps, lunch has been enjoyed, and now… it’s time – you announce that everyone will be “going out into the harvest” to put into practice what we’ve learned. There are a lot of uncertainties, but one thing you can be sure of – there are very different reactions to your enthusiastic pronouncement about harvest time. Consider…
“Yes! This is going to be awesome! Wait… what’s the harvest?”
“Oh no! I didn’t know we were actually going to do something with this.”
“Please don’t make me talk to anyone.”
“Put me in coach… I’m ready!”
A lot of people struggle with harvest time. Many legacy church leaders struggle to get any kind of regular harvest time into the rhythms of their church. Yet most movement leaders consistently affirm the importance of regular harvest time in order to get any sort of traction toward movement.
I remember my first time going out. Troy Cooper met me at my place of employment and we just walked up the street and started knocking on doors until someone finally answered. And thus began my sort of love/hate relationship with harvest time. But as I’ve continued to practice and lead… I’ve come to these conclusions,regular time in practicing evangelism in the harvest…
1. Builds confidence for new Gospel sharers
2. Helps identify those with APE gifting (Apostle-Prophet-Evangelist)
3. Gives stories for vision casting
4. You may find a house of peace!
Someone can get lots of training, know the tools inside and out, even have a heart for the lost… and still not be confident to take opportunities to share. Why? Because they’ve only ever gotten reps on the practice field, and they need to get on the game field. Practice reps are important, but harvest reps build confidence to actually put the tools into practice consistently. Once a new trainee gets through sharing the Gospel with a stranger, realizes they’re still alive, and they didn’t turn their hearer into the antichrist… they realize it’s not as scary and impossible as it once felt. But this doesn’t happen on the whiteboard, it happens in the harvest.
Have you ever had a first timer who seemed indifferent (at best) about going into the harvest, but at the end wondered why it took them so long to get out there? Something clicks for APEs when they get out there and they’re ready for the next one. Only through practicing their new skill in a real live setting do they realize that they have a knack for this. This also usually isn’t discovered on the whiteboard, but in the harvest.
Stories for Vision Casting
Most people just assume (as I did) that there’s no fruit to be found going door to door sharing the Gospel with people. Many are surprised to hear that not only are people open to the conversation, some have been waiting for someone to come care for them! These experiences are great for those who are there to actually see the reaction and hear the gratitude expressed, but the value of the experience doesn’t have to stop there. These stories are fuel for vision casting! Tell these stories to people with a heart for the lost and a willingness to learn and you may find them at your next training.
House of Peace
In addition to all these benefits… you may actually find what you were looking for – a house of peace! It’s exciting to see people gain confidence, discover their gifting, and spread good stories of fruitful conversation, but the main reason for going on a House of Peace search, is to find a house of peace. And God is leading seed sowers to these houses, in response to prayer and obedience, for His glory, all the time! So stay focused on the people you are caring for, and keep your eyes open to what God is doing in them.
How might God lead you and your team to engage in the Harvest? Is it increased frequency? A fresh anticipation, or attitude adjustment? Is it capitalizing on some of these benefits? Pray and ask God to give you clarity on how He wants to use you and your team in the harvest, and how He wants to use the harvest in you and your team.
Robby Christmas, Campus Pastor, Family Church in the Farms, Jupiter, FL.
Originally from Virginia, Robby moved to South Florida 3 years ago to be part of the church planting efforts at Family Church in West Palm Beach. Robby earned his M.Div from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has been a student pastor, groups pastor, church planter, church planting catalyst, and campus pastor. He and his wife, Joanna, have three children and live in Jupiter Farms, FL. Facebook | Twitter