It’s harvest time!
When I originally wrote this, it was in mid-August, during the dog days of summer. I remember that when I was growing up as a little boy, in August we always made our annual trek out east from Calgary, where I grew up, to Saskatchewan—the bread basket of Canada. My grandparents and uncles farmed—and still do farm—a ridiculously large amount of land out there—tens of thousands of acres—and every summer, right about now, I would have the privilege of spending time out there. It was exciting. It was busy.
It was harvest time! The crops were ripening quickly, and as long as the sun kept shining, the whirring of the swather blades and the impressive row of combines following them were imminent.
Jesus says in John 4:35: “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” Additionally, He says in Luke 10:2: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Folks, we need more evangelists in this world we live in. Jesus lived in an agriculturally-based culture, not unlike the culture in which my family grew up. So when he wanted to make an allusion to some spiritual truth, He often used images of farming.
Jesus is telling us today that our world is literally filled with people who are ready and waiting to hear about Him, more than eager to repent and believe in Jesus and be saved! But He’s also telling us that there are so many of these people that there simply aren’t enough workers out there to bring them all to Christ. These workers have a special name. They are called evangelists.
Many of you reading this blog right now feel called to full-time ministry. And when you think of full-time ministry, many of you think of being a pastor. I know, because I’ve been there. That’s because, by and large, the only real paradigm for full-time ministry that the Body of Christ has given us—at least in the Western world—is that of a pastor. In other words, for decades, even centuries, if someone has felt called into full-time ministry, they naturally think of being a pastor.
Today, I want you to consider being an evangelist. Our world has so many more pastors than evangelists. Not sure if this is true? Try this little test: Ask yourself how many pastors you know. Now ask yourself how many full-time evangelists you know. You see? We need more evangelists.
I see this issue from a unique perspective. For almost 30 years, I’ve been in full-time ministry. For more than a decade, I was a pastor—and I loved it! Then the Holy Spirit called me into full-time evangelism, which is what I’ve been doing for almost 20 years now. But I remember when God transitioned my calling. The first thing I asked Him was, “But what does a full-time evangelist look like?”
You see, there was and is no popular paradigm for an evangelist. Thankfully, the Lord gave me an example—one of the very few—in Reinhard Bonnke. I remember sitting in the front row of a Leader’s Conference in Nigeria, in a packed house of about 5000 men of God. Reinhard was preaching. He said that there are so many unreached, unsaved people in the vast regions of North Africa, Asia and the Middle East, that even if he did a huge Crusade every week for years, he would not be able to even scratch the surface of reaching those souls for Jesus, and rescuing them from Hell and for Heaven. He said that what really needed to happen was for each of us 5000 in attendance to take up his mantle of evangelism, and run with the Gospel to the least-reached places of the planet—winning the lost to Christ! The only answer to reaching the unreached—bringing in the vast harvest of souls—was to multiply exponentially the number of evangelists on the front lines of soulwinning today.
If you’re looking for a paradigm for full-time evangelism; if you’re asking God the same question I asked Him years ago: “But what does a full-time evangelist look like?” then look no further than me and my family. We’re here to walk you through it!
At this point, 3 of my 4 adult sons have all joined me in our work of global evangelism among the least-reached people of the planet. My other son is a pastor at a dynamic church committed to evangelism. For those of us in our family who are married, our wives have joined us on our evangelistic exploits. We are a family of evangelists. And we are here to help you see what a full-time evangelist is and does. If you feel called to full-time ministry today, don’t simply assume that God wants you to be a pastor. Now, if He calls you to pastor, then pastor, but your default doesn’t need to be pastoring. We have lots of pastors. Lots and lots and lots of pastors! What we need now—today—is the same thing that Jesus said the world of His day needed. We need more evangelists to bring in the harvest, because it is so very ripe.
At our Leaders’ Conferences, I teach this: The evangelist catches the fish. Then he brings the net to shore and hands the fish over to the pastors to sort them, clean them and prepare them adequately for the Wedding Banquet of the Lamb. When evangelists and pastors work together in this way, the Great Commission is accomplished at a greatly accelerated rate. Evangelists are specially gifted by the Holy Spirit to win souls. Pastors are specially gifted to make disciples. We need each other to get the job done quickly in these last, great days of harvest.
Is God calling you to full-time ministry? If He is, don’t think that automatically means you’re supposed to become a pastor. Consider becoming a full-time evangelist. Jesus says our world needs more—so many more—front-line soulwinners. Literally billions of precious people are ripe for harvest in Muslim North Africa, Buddhist China and Hindu India. But right now—this instant—they are dying, without even once hearing about Jesus—without even being given a chance to be saved and escape an eternity in Hell—because there simply aren’t enough evangelists in our world to bring them in. Will you join our ranks today? It’s harvest time—take my hand, and let’s go bring it in together!