What is an empty field? There are empty fields all over this globe. The largest concentration of empty fields are found in countries where there is no gospel witness at all, these stretch across North Africa and into Asia. It is commonly called the 10-40 window; start at 10 degrees north latitude and go up to 40 degrees north latitude. An empty field is defined as a field that does not have seed being sown in it. Houston is hardly an empty field. There are plenty of opportunities for someone to go to a church that shares the word of God if they want to. However, if everyone in Houston, along the 290 corridor through the Cypress area, went to church on a given Sunday it would make up about 12% – 14% of the population. Although it may not be able to be classified an empty field, there is still great need for gospel sowing. Is there any insight into entering an empty field?
Jesus tells us at least 4 ways in Luke 10:1-11:
- Go 2×2- There is power in accountability. Two are better than one almost every time. If one is struggling the other one is there to pick them up. There are many who are convinced that reaching out like this requires actually going 2×2, that is, don’t go unless you can go with another person. I am not convinced that Jesus requires this but will not diminish the blessing of 2×2. I think it could be done 2×2 but I also believe there might be a sense of accountability that you know that the other person is living on mission simultaneously. There is nothing more empowering than to know you have a partner in the outreach. When we visit NYC, we go 2×2, that is mandatory. But sometimes it is a logistical barrier to do this (i.e. work, neighborhoods, out to eat, etc.). Question: Do you think it would empower you more or less to go 2×2?
- Pray- Prayer is the Work of the ministry. Jesus makes it clear to Ask the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers to the harvest field (Lk. 10:2). Prayer is powerful because it forces us to stop and depend on God’s enabling, direction, empowerment, and mind. Outreach is the last activity we want to do in our own strength. It would be like having a brand new Ferrari that has not gas. It looks nice in the driveway but a Volkswagen Beetle would be able to get you to work better. Prayer is the power behind the work. It is powerful. The power of prayer should not be underestimated. James declares, “…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (James 5:17-18). God most definitely listens to prayers, answers prayers, and moves in response to prayers.
- Go- The Great Commission does not focus on going but on Making Disciples, however, we make disciples by going and not staying. Discipleship will never happen if we stay. In the Bible the word Go means Go. It is the opposite of Stay. It is the present tense of Went or Gone. Just sitting around and not getting involved is like a group of firemen at a five alarm fire washing the truck instead of fighting the fire. Paul says we have a spiritual resource of feet that are ready to share the gospel (Eph. 6:15). Somehow, these beautiful feet of ours, have been given a compulsion, a readiness to share the gospel of peace. It is a noun. We have them. Not to go is more work than going that is when one actually goes it seems like all is right in their world. Make no mistake, GOING or NOT GOING is an act of obedience or disobedience. Imagine a fully armed soldier. He has his sword, his shield, his helmet, his breastplate and his belt…but his feet are completely bare. All of the other armor would be worthless without shoes. A shoeless soldier could run into real trouble in the heat of battle. Unless he is fighting on a well manicured battle field, he is going to encounter some rocks, sticks, and rough terrain that will compromise his ability to keep his footing. In short, shoes allow us to step freely and without fear while we turn our full attention to the battle at hand. Until we see living and reaching out for God as a battle, not against people, but against our own selves and powerful spiritual forces, we won’t quite know why to really pray or the true motivation for Going.
- Look for the Person of Peace- Who is this Person of Peace? When we unlock the meaning behind the Person of Peace it will completely change the way we live on a mission of outreach with God. Many have written on this lately. In summary the Person of Peace is someone that receives you and you receive them. One writer says, “They like you and you like them.” Wow! Here are some ways to consider who a Person of Peace is: They Welcome and Receive You (they are really in the process of receiving the LORD that shines through you). They Serve You. You Intentionally Invest in them (the best idea here is pre-evangelism or showing they belong before they believe). They are a Gatekeeper to a Network of other Relationships where the Gospel can Go. Consider these questions in determining if a Person of Peace is around you right now. Who are you called to love intentionally? Who comes to mind in response to, “They like you and you like them”? Who is your heart best shaped to reach for Jesus? Who is already responding positively to you? What is Jesus saying to you as you pray about this?