“Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”
A couple of weeks ago, I had the immense privilege to visit with the churches and leaders of Every Nation Europe. The objective of the short trip was to visit the two South African families planting a brand new church in Utrecht, a first for Every Nation to plant in Netherlands, followed by a 5-day summit with Evangelists from across Europe, gathering together in Paris.
Throughout our time in Europe these words of Jesus above, were ringing loud and clear… seeing a “white harvest” ready for the picking. I want to share 3 thoughts from my trip with you.
- Reaching the harvest field is a family affair
Our visit to the families in Utrecht was deeply encouraging and convicting – Being with two families, each with two young kids (both families with little ones on the hips of the mommies), who boldly said “YES” to reaching Europe. They have counted the cost to leave their homeland, their families, their ‘familiar’, their biltong and Woolies, and move to a space they now have to call home with a people they don’t know. What struck me is that even though they counted the cost, they considered it pure joy to be in a foreign nation having to share the gospel, with a completely agnostic community. Seeing their kids having to be immersed in the new culture, language and lifestyle made me realise that reaching the harvest fields is a family affair. Everyone has the joy of participation, everyone has the pain of letting go, but the very fact that a family unit unify around a collective vision of reaching the lost, is wonderful to behold. I was thinking about our own families here in Somerset West who have said “YES” in the same way to reach this community, or maybe moved here from their “familiar” to impact the ready fields of harvest here, and realise again that the value of family is meant to be fully part of the mission, not separate from it. I am praying for more families to say “YES” to also reach the far corners of the world where the family unit will be a powerful model of the Gospel message, to see the unbelieving and unaware becoming aware of a Heavenly Father who loves them, and sent His very own Son – His mission is clearly a family affair!
2. There’s a young generation of modern, westerners who have never heard the
Growing up in South Africa has caused most of us to have heard the gospel at least once, but perhaps multiple times through our forming years. Be it at school, attending the christening of a cousin or simply through the Christian culture around is… we don’t have the excuse that we have never heard. I have fallen victim myself to think that people who have never heard the Gospel are usually found under trees in desolated forests or far east in the nations where Christianity is forbidden. But, on this trip it became real… walking on an International campus in the heart of Paris, sharing the message of Jesus to first-time hearers, the realisation hit me like the south-easter blowing this week. There’s a whole generation of youth, who have never heard, and might never hear, unless the global church awakens to share the good news with them… and it is a global audience. The team had conversations with people from probably 20 different nations, and the sentiment was the same. People have never heard. Myself and a co-leader spent close to two hours chatting to a brilliant, bright young guy from Brazil who never heard the Gospel explained in the proper way, although growing up in the “christian” culture that Brazil is. All I could take from this is that we have MUCH to give, far more than we often credit ourselves. We are generally well versed in sharing the good news of Jesus, and we should deeply consider if we are willing to take it to this generation across the world who needs to hear, maybe once, what we have heard maybe a 100 times.
3. The church of South Africa is blessed, and needs to be a blessing
“South Africa reaching Europe? But why? That sounds expensive.”
This is often the sentiment I have come across in sharing that we should consider reaching the continent fo Europe more strategically and regularly. The wisdom of the world teaches that budgets, economy and foreign exchange rates makes this a silly idea.
But, let’s quickly be reminded that according to Matthew 6:33-34, there’s another economy to operate in.
This past trip in Europe has opened my eyes to a whole new reality” Although the Euro is strong, the bank accounts of the gospel preaching, Jesus-centered churches are not.” (I say this with grace and without any disrespect to my European counterparts). What I am getting to, is that we here in South Africa, especially a place like the Helderberg, is massively blessed with the means to be a blessing to places like Europe. We have the means to send teams, we have the means to visit the leaders on the ground, we have the means to partner with the churches there, both financially and in resources… and we should. The numbers game turns around quickly when you look at church membership and not foreign exchange rates. A very successful church with healthy leadership and 10years of public ministry in a medium size city of Europe, could easily still only be 80 members strong. We are not blessed only with the possible financial means (I really believe we are), but also with the numbers to reach into Europe. We should be often encouraged by the words of Jesus, that we have “freely received, therefore freely give”. Let’s consider more regularly how we can touch this ‘dark” continent that was once before the bearers of the Gospel light to the rest of the world.
Let’s never neglect to pray for Europe… and ask that the Lord will send more labourers into this white and ready field of harvest.