There are few verse I seem to pray as often as Matthew 9v38. Lord, the harvest field here is so plentiful but we are so short of workers please send us labourers to help us plant, water and harvest. Though I’m beginning to struggle with my praying this for a couple of reasons.
Reason 1 is that God doesn’t seem to be answering, we haven’t been deluged with a flood of applications to join us as ministry trainees, though we are grateful for one who joined us in September. We haven’t been inundated with believers moving to Doncaster and wanting to join us, in fact the transfer growth seems to go to two others churches, which I get are more attractive options. And recently God has taken away rather than send workers. So I’ve been left pondering am I praying wrong?
Reason 2 church feels small and fragile but we average about 30-35 on any given Sunday. Maybe the reason it feels small and fragile is that we were 50 a year ago, but people have moved away. How big is big enough? My hunch is I would always see the need for more people, the ministries we could do, the extra person needed in this ministry or that ministry. Maybe the problem is my outlook. God has graciously given us gifted people who are serving, is my prayer in some way an ungratefulness for what God has generously given. Let’s be honest that anyone comes week by week is a sign of God’s grace and has everything to do with his mercy and movement by the Spirit and not any natural giftedness on my part.
Reason 3 is that prayer, in itself a good prayer, subconsciously stopping me and therefore us as a church from really going out into the harvest field. Does it convey a sense of inadequacy? A sense that we’re not ready yet? A lack of faith in God’s desire and equipping and empowering for mission? I wonder if I tend to see barriers, we don’t have somewhere to do ministry, we don’t have enough people, we don’t have enough money, we don’t have a women’s worker… I could go on. It’s a subtly creeping ministry entitlement, wanting what others have, instead of saying how has God who has called us to reach this area, empowered us to do so?