In America, we seem to have a shortage of pastors and those we do have are over-worked and often burnt-out. On the other hand, we have fickle parishioners and a dwindling church attendance. Most churches now only have a Sunday morning service. The Sunday evening service is nearly non-existent. Even Wednesday night services are disappearing. Are we shriveling into non-existence? What is to be done? I think that the American Church is sitting on top of a proverbial oil well. The pastors and leaders that the American Church is needing and looking for are already in the pews, but now they need a pulpit! Consider this statement from John’s vision in Revelation: …the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain and purchased for God with Your blood from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” Revelation 5: 8-10 (emphasis added). The reason that we are struggling to fill the pulpit as well as the pews is because God didn’t create us to be spectators but “a kingdom and priests to our God”. The pastors and evangelists and worship leaders that we need are sitting right in front of us. The reason many of them are fickle is the fact that they have nothing to do when they come to church other than watch. They need work to do. Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few, so pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out laborers into His harvest. We should take Jesus’ cue and send out our parishioners to become pastors and teachers and worship leaders, etc. This doesn’t mean that
they have to go to seminary or even a long training. There are many capable, well-read, Bible readers in our pews who are fully capable with the power of the Holy Spirit to begin the work. In many places around the world, people with much less experience in the Lord and much shorter acquaintance with the Bible and absolutely no seminary training, have already planted multiple churches and made dozens and dozens of disciples in traditionally hard-to-reach or "un-reached" areas. We the people of God ARE ALREADY equipped! We only now need the courage and freedom to step out and do the work. My challenge today for the official church organizations is to cut their people loose. Find those who have a vision to do ministry and give them the space to do it without being domineered or controlled. Trust the Holy Spirit in them to do the good work. If you don’t have a Sunday evening or Wednesday evening service, allow one or two or more of your parishioners to start one. Maybe your current crop of parishioners won't attend those meetings but a completely new crowd will! And this is what we want, isn't it? And if you who are reading this are a parishioner with a vision for ministry, ask your pastor for the space and the blessing to do the work. If he blesses you, wonderful! And if he does not, don’t let that discourage or dissuade you. Simply, respectfully and graciously, find another place to do the work. God calls and commissions you, not man. And the harvest is still plentiful. The problem is still that the laborers are few. Jesus has already commissioned you and that is more than enough. Now go make disciples!