“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Pray the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Jesus directly asked us to pray that more leaders would be sent out into their networks to reap a spiritual harvest.  Yet, I find most pastors seldom pray for leaders to go into the harvest. Instead they spend hours trying to find people who will volunteer to serve in some church capacity.

When was the last time you prayed for leaders to emerge in your church who are willing to go out into their networks and share the Good News?

So, what is it that makes a pastor pray for leaders of the harvest instead of spending time taking care of the church? The answer is simple. Just look at the text. Prior to Jesus’ statement he was going through the country preaching and healing because “he had compassion on them.”

The primary thing that separates the thriving pastor from the not-so-thriving pastor is their understanding of the difference between compassion and caring.

There’s a thin line between compassion and caring. Pastors in thriving churches tend to have so much compassion for the lost that their hearts are broken;  whereas pastors in dying churches tend to have a desire to care for the people period.

I’ve found that pastors who care for church people as opposed to having compassion for the lost usually have a deep seated need to be needed.  I’ve also found that these pastors avoid controversy with all costs. As a result, their prayers are mostly for the survival of the institution rather than the salvation of people and the creation.

Finally, Jesus wasn’t behind a desk or the four walls of the temple. He was out among the people who were the harvest. Pastor, no one ever comes to Christ in your office.  If you spend more than a couple of hours a day in your office the odds are your church isn’t growing. If you want to be lead more by compassion than caring, get out of your office and into the harvest and see what happens.

If you need help with ideas how to make compassion and outreach more a part of your church go to the Hitchhikers Guide to Evangelism website.

Bill Easum