Hardships are included in the end-times package. Assuming that Jesus is coming soon, we should be prepared for hardship. Last week in Mozambique, DOVE members were locked in police cells because of gathering in homes at a time when “meetings” are banned due to COVID-19. They counted it pure joy!
Another thing we can expect in the last days is an abundant harvest. John the revelator describes: “Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice … ‘Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.’” (Rev 14: 14-15).
Looking at the church (and myself), I see us being more like “Martha” than “Mary” (Jn 13). Always busy. Programs and activities. Committees and strategic plans. Buildings and budgets. The pandemic, in some ways, pushed the pause button on much of that. But remember, anything that will truly bear fruit will flow out of relationship with the Father, out of being “Mary” rather than “Martha.”
When it is said and done, do we really want to go back to ‘business as usual?’ Or do we need to break old methods and embrace new ones? Jesus explained that new wine cannot be contained in old wineskins. If we are going to handle this end-time harvest, we might need to do church differently.
DOVE International’s Director, Larry Kreider, teaches that the “older” a church, the less likely it is to evangelize effectively, reach the lost, or multiply. If a church is more than ten years old, it statistically grows 1% per year. From four to seven years of age, a church grows 14% per year. But in the first three years, a church grows an average of 33% per year.
Maybe you are already in a young, growing, vibrant church or ministry. Alleluia! From my vantage point, I feel that we need to re-think many things and focus on the harvest. It is one of our end-time promises. Are we ready?