Summary: A message about where the work of ministry is to take place.
Dakota Community Church
June 14, 2009
The Field & the Force
Read John 4:1-42 for context
"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, ’Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
Jesus is ministering in a place they don’t think He should be.
He is ministering to a woman.
He is ministering to a woman of extremely low moral character.
He reveals who He is to her! “I who speak to you am He.”
She leaves her agenda (the water jar) and brings the village to meet Jesus
The disciples had gone into town to buy food; they told no one that Jesus was there!
This morning I want to talk about the ripe field and the work force that is supposed to work it.
I think we have mixed things up in recent years and come to believe that the Church is the field and the work force is the ministry office holders.
In truth the world is the field and the work force is everyone who believes in Jesus for eternal life.
1. When the Church is the field
When the church is the field it is seen as the place people come to do the work of God.
A farmer does his work in the field so if the church is the field then it is the place where church work takes place.
You bring them in and I lead them to Christ.
You bring them in sick and I pray for them.
You give money as your main contribution to ministry, I do the actual ministering.
This leads to several things:
We need to get people who need God into the church in order to reach them.
We need easily accessible highly visible facilities.
We need good PR men in charge and good marketing gimmicks in order to compete with all the other options people have on Sunday mornings.
Church life becomes all about getting them in and keeping them in.
This becomes harder and harder because people get bored and want something new so before long they are on to the next fad.
When the church is the field the pastor must become the superstar and if he falls or retires or dies the only hope for the community is a new star.
What we wind up with is a lot of one man shows that collapse when the leader falls or a new brighter star lands on the scene. We have all seen it happen many times.
This system only works short term because it is not the way God intends the church to function!
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
2. When the Church is the (labor) force
What if instead of asking God to give us the city of Winnipeg we asked Him to give us to the city of Winnipeg.
When the church becomes the force – the world becomes the field.
The people change - they become the ministers!
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
The meetings change – they become about glorifying God.