Last week, we introduced you to Four Fields, our ministry strategy built upon The Parable of the Growing Seed. Today we’re discussing the first field to help you consider an entry strategy for your ministry.
Field 1: Entry
For a seed to be planted, grown, and harvested, there must be a point of origin. A sower does not simply keep the seed to himself and hope for growth in nothingness. He searches and finds a place to plant the seed. He needs an empty field to enter and scatter the seed.
The same principle is true when it comes to growth within the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ disciples must enter new fields.
Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Entering new fields, homes, towns, and other places is the first step in expanding His Kingdom. An example of Jesus and His disciples doing this is found in Luke 10:1-11. With specific details, Jesus tells His disciples what to do and what not to do as they went out “two by two” and entered new homes and towns.
The new “fields” they entered were not random, but carefully selected by Jesus. They were places that needed to be plowed, fertilized, cleared of debris, and cleansed of other factors that may stunt the seed’s future growth. The places Jesus sent His disciples were prepared for a harvest long before they ever arrived. People’s hearts were tilled to receive the seed.
As they went out, the disciples’ searched for “homes of peace” where people were receptive to their message. Once they found these homes, they had instructions to stay and continue sharing about the Kingdom of God. In doing so, the disciples’ weren’t seeking to become insiders, but were searching for insiders within the community who desired to reach their own immediate families or social circles.
God’s heart is for entire households to come to know Him, because households are gateways into entire communities.
Similarly, Paul and other disciples also encountered men and women receptive of the gospel in new places. Their interactions often resulted in entire households believing and being baptized.
People such as Lydia, Cornelius, and the Philippian jailer were “people of peace,” and were gatekeepers to their own communities. Oikos, a Greek word for family or household is used throughout the New Testament to refer to family, friends, and neighbors. In these situations, more households and communities were accessed through these new believer’s oikos. God’s desire for multiplication in His kingdom was furthered through a person’s “sphere of influence.”
How do we enter new fields today?
1. Pray in fervency for a deep burden for lostness and an awareness of where the Spirit is already at work.
Our hearts must align with the Father’s heart regarding lostness. As we rest in the confidence that God has already prepared His harvest, we can pray for open eyes and surrendered hearts to see points of entry.
2. Consider your own oikos.
We can first start with our immediate “spheres of influence” in considering new fields. Where do we live? Where do we work? Where do we play? We can think about those around us who are far from God. They may be in our household, our neighborhood, at our workplace, or at the places we frequent.
3. Support and join in with other believers who are seeking to enter new fields.
Jesus sent out the disciples in pairs. Paul always had someone with him. The Spirit may already be working in someone’s oikos, and we may play a crucial role in assisting them. The church is the vehicle for gospel multiplication. We can work side by side with our brothers and sisters.
4. Keep praying.
As we seek guidance in identifying new places to enter to scatter the seed, we must continually pray that He leads us along the way to the people of peace within the harvest.
God prepares the harvest and He sends us into empty fields. But, how does the sower scatter the seed? What is the seed? We’ll talk about that next week.
About Four Fields
Four Fields is East-West’s ministry model that includes entering new ministry fields, sharing the gospel, discipling new believers, gathering as church, and developing leaders to continue this ongoing cycle. Based on The Parable of the Growing Seed in Mark 4:26-29, we believe this strategy is seen in the ministry of Jesus and his disciples and is ultimately fueled by the Holy Spirit.