There is a growing reality that causes me great concern. I’m scanning the horizon looking for the billowing dust of reinforcements charging toward the spiritual battle, but all I see are wisps from the few. Where are the supply of recruits enlisted for world conquest?
Where are the pastors and ministers to shepherd Christ’s bride during these most desperate of days?
Where are the missionaries to carry the gospel to faraway lands?
Increasingly, too many of our pulpits stand vacant rather than filled by a God-called man filled with biblical authority proclaiming Jesus’ all-sufficient death, burial and resurrection on behalf of sinful humanity.
The dearth of “called-out ones” causes me great concern, and it isn’t just me. More and more I’m getting calls from pastor search committees frustrated from not finding quality candidates. Associational Mission Strategists (DOMs) have regularly shared with me the prayer concern of pastorless churches. This isn’t just in Tennessee. Last week at the annual SBC State Executives meeting, the leaders of both the International and North American Mission Boards reported the biggest challenge their respective organizations face is missionary and church planter “dry pipelines.”
In other words, the reinforcements are sparse.
That’s the problem and it’s easily identifiable. However, what I value most are friends who offer viable and permanent solutions. Jesus is that faithful friend, and He anticipated this issue.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:36-37).
Notice three significant points in that passage. He understands the problem: people need shepherds. He offers a strategic solution: pray for pastors, ministers and missionaries. He guarantees a favorable outcome: the Lord will send the laborers.
Talk about simple strategy. We pray; He provides.
Ronnie Floyd, SBC Executive Committee CEO and President, shared with our state executives group quotes from J.L. Scarborough’s book, “Recruits for World Conquest.” Scarborough started the first evangelism department at any of our Southern Baptist seminaries and occupied the “Chair of Fire” at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for 34 years. Like Jesus, Scarborough recognized the need and the solution.
- “God calls men into salvation and into special service.”
- “A divine calling is a spiritual necessity to successful work in the Kingdom of Grace, either in preaching or in missions.”
- Christ’s command was “pray that He may thrust laborers into the harvest. … He must do the calling.”
- “There is a human side to a divine call. God calls and man calls out.”
- “The preacher who is God’s agent in calling out and training one God-called preacher or missionary will double his ministry.”
- “Will we do our part in calling out and training those He has called?”
So, there is the challenge put to us. Will we do our part in calling out and training those God has called? Will we pray, earnestly and desperately pray, that God will send the workers? I embrace the challenge, and I am committed to doing my part by laboring in prayer that God will flood us with new recruits for world conquest.
Who will join me?
It is a joy to be on this journey with you.