The Cloister, The Harvest, and Where the Laborers Are (Part 2)


Yesterday I wrote about how the church (predominantly in the West) has been cloistered.

I see this regularly in our attitude toward the unbelieving world.  Most of the church believes either consciously or unconsciously that unbelievers don’t want to follow Jesus. Don’t believe me? Ask someone to go share the Gospel with you on the street. The responses will be telling. Our cloistered attitudes tell us the world has no interest in following Jesus.

But this perception of the harvest comes more from our experiences than from Jesus. Jesus told his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.“Jesus never seemed to have a hard time finding people so broken they didn’t need healing. Jesus never had a problem finding people who were outcasts that needed love. He never had a hard time finding those marginalized by society and telling them God has a better Kingdom, a better family where they would be welcomed.

In fact, from Jesus’ perspective, the problem wasn’t the harvest. He actually saw so much untapped potential for harvest that he told them the problem wasn’t with the harvest—it was with the laborers! They didn’t have enough laborers to accommodate the harvest that was coming.

This is a massive perspective change for the church today. Rarely do we spend time praying and raising up laborers for the harvest because we don’t really believe the harvest is that great.

Oh if we only had Jesus’ eyes.

Friends there is a sea of humanity, not just across the seas, but across our fences and streets and cities that have no answers. The John 3:16 sign held up at a professional sporting event wasn’t enough to reach them, nor was the chick tract they found in the bathroom at Walmart. But a living, breathing expression of the gospel that has a testimony of transformation is something they’ve never seen.  And while I agree with the church that the world at large doesn’t want traditional religion like they’ve seen, they do want the Kingdom of God. They do want Jesus.

And if you begin to touch this realm just a little, you begin to understand how big the harvest is. One year our house church began to serve food at a local park and play sports with the kids in our neighborhood. Word got out and quickly our house church was filled with people from the neighborhood that had barely ever darkened a church.  One of the lessons we learned from that season was that there was no shortage of people who had interest in what we were doing.

The problem with that season was we didn’t have enough laborers. The needs they brought to the table were overwhelming. The amount of discipleship each person needed was more than we were used to. We weren’t ready for the harvest that came in. I think most churches are in the same spot.

One of the lessons I took away from that season is it’s not the harvest that’s in short supply. It’s the laborers.

Photo Credit: Wheat Field by Dennis Behm



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About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

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