Ripe for Harvest
--Pastor Jamey Nichols
There’s a passage in John 4 about Jesus telling his disciples to, “Open your eyes and look at the fields. They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages. Even now he harvests a crop for eternal life.” In the context of the story we can easily see Jesus’ point, and it is this: There are people right now out in the world who need to hear about His glorious salvation and forgiveness of sin. It’s a matter of harvesting their souls. Can you see them? They’re literally everywhere. Some are ripe for harvest, others are nearly ripe and some have a long way to go. Whatever their stage of readiness, they’re out there and we need to help cultivate even as we harvest. Enter our youth outreach effort.
It’s been a long time coming since we first sat in the sanctuary of the former Traditional Congregational Church. I’ll never forget those meetings because the place was at capacity with all of you, eager to consider ways that we might allow the restoration of our two congregations to bring glory to God in Stanton. It’s a special moment when the gathered church is brainstorming the most effective ways to answer the invitation to join God in his work. It’s a priceless moment when the gathered church prays together imploring God to reveal himself. And that is what we did. After the second meeting it was absolutely clear that the consensus of FCC was that we should reach out to the students in our community with what has become our church’s newest, and biggest (!) outreach endeavor perhaps ever. We are blessed to have Cody Romatz and Mitch Nichols joining our team as the dynamic duo to lead our church’s charge towards touching lives for time and for eternity. The question we should all be asking ourselves is, “How can I help?”
Well, thank you, I’m glad you asked. First, we will need to support the effort financially. The cost to have the boys here is well within reach if each family does what they can to give a little extra. Helping the church meet our recently approved budget is always an easy place to start. Another easy answer involves helping with routine things in our ministry. It may seem strange to say, but volunteering to greet or work in the nursery absolutely helps our student outreach. It may not seem to at first glance, but think about it. When all our regular positions here are filled, the “machine” of FCC is able to function. It’s that “machine” that supports everything else we do. When parts of the machine are missing (no nursery, no Sunday School, no greeters) the machine doesn’t run well. When all positions are filled, the machine runs like . . . well, like a well-oiled machine. If that machine died, we’d close the doors and all of our mission efforts as well as our presence in this community would simply go away.
More specific ways to help involve supporting Cody & Mitch directly. These young men are going to need a prayer team. Just as I need your prayers for personal godliness, I need your prayers for ministry effectiveness. Mitch & Cody are no different. They’re godly young men, but they aren’t perfect. They need prayer support to continue on their path. They also need prayers for the work they will do. For now, it’s general things such as clarity on strategy, effectiveness building relationships, strength for the work here as well as with their schooling. As the ministry unfolds, it will be clearer how the prayer needs will be specific. They will also need a volunteer force. They may need people to help mentor, to help chaperone, to help set up, cook food, clean up after events. Just like we currently support our Teen Ministry with the Hoskins, we’ll need to be available to help with outreach events when they happen.
We are persuaded that this is the path to follow. We have followed it faithfully for quite some time and now we are finally ready to start down it. We believe that God wants to do something—or, at least we believe He is asking us to try. Either way, this is His invitation to us and we need to RSVP to Heaven’s invite. That means showing up eager, ready, and willing to do whatever we can. After all, the work of the harvest is always a big job and big jobs need all hands on deck. It will make the work easier and draw us together as God’s people. Keep asking the Lord of the Harvest to send workers into His fields and also mention that you, yourself, are just as willing to go. “Lord, send me.”