One of my favorite things to do on a day off is to play in my garden. I’m not a “green thumb” but something about being out in the yard with my hands in the soil is very relaxing. God often speaks to me about spiritual things while I am gardening. As I fertilize, weed, and water, my mind drifts to my passion to see disciples multiply among unreached peoples. One key principle stands out. If we want to reap a great harvest, we must sow many seeds of the gospel. We need to practice what is called “abundant gospel sowing.”
The principle of abundant gospel sowing is simple, biblical and natural. If you want to reap a great harvest in a city, region or people group, you must sow many, many gospel seeds. When thousands of people hear the message of good news, hundreds will respond. If tens of thousands hear, thousands will respond. You can not expect to reap a great harvest of souls without finding ways to multiply evangelistic efforts. It is a foundational principle of Disciple Making Movements. Sow much, reap much. Sow little, reap little.
This begs the question. How much evangelism is currently happening in your region and how can you radically increase that?
A Wise and Foolish Farmer
Imagine with me for a moment. There was a farmer working in his field. He bought five seeds and went out to plant them. Carefully he dug holes, put the seeds in, and patted down the soil. Then he watered carefully, giving just the right amount of water.
The next day he again watered, and the next. After a week, when none of his five seeds had sprouted, he became discouraged. “What am I doing wrong?” he wondered.
“Maybe I am a bad farmer,” he thought. “Or maybe my seed was no good.”
Discouraged, he sat down on a bench and stared at the dirt where he had planted his seeds. His hopes and dreams of harvest seemed impossible.
Along comes a friend who is also a farmer. “What are you doing?” he asks.
“I am frustrated with farming!” declared the first farmer. “I wanted to see a big harvest, and I worked hard to plant my seeds. But none of them have come up. I think there is something wrong with my seed, or maybe with me. Am I a bad farmer?” he asked his friend.
“Show me where you planted the seeds,” his friend instructed.
The first farmer showed him the five seeds. He explained about his careful watering process each day.
His friend said to him, “You aren’t a bad farmer, and there is probably nothing wrong with your seeds. I know what the problem is here! You didn’t plant enough seeds! If you want to reap a great harvest, you can’t only plant 5 seeds, you have to plant thousands of seeds. Fill the whole field with seeds. In each hole, place 3 seeds not one. Then, you will see many plants come up, and as you care for those, many will bear fruit.”
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”2 Cor. 9:6 ESV
Choose a Simple Evangelism Method
The above scripture is talking about giving, but the same is true with our evangelism. Like the first farmer, we hope to see a great harvest of souls in our region. But we don’t always put in the effort to increase the number of people who are hearing the gospel message. This doesn’t make a lot of sense in the natural, nor does it make sense in disciple-making.
The most effective way to multiply evangelism in your area is not through mass crusades. I don’t suggest doing things like random tract distribution either. The best way to increase abundant gospel sowing is to train as many people as possible with simple personal evangelism tools. Then get them to train others.
I suggest you start with two things. Testimony and one other simple, reproducible, evangelism tool. Train every believer,
You want to develop a DNA in the movement where ever follower of Jesus actively shares their faith. Every disciple must take seriously Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8. Jesus told his disciples that they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
We have a mandate to be His witnesses. That starts with learning to share our testimony. Train every believer to confidently share how they came to know Jesus, and what He has done in their lives.
Sharing Your Testimony
Ying Kai, the creator of T4T, trains his trainers to share their testimony in three parts.
BEFORE- I met Jesus. What was my life like?
HOW- I met Jesus. Who shared with me and how did I respond?
AFTER- I met Jesus. What was different about my life?
Start by writing out your testimony using this outline. Then practice sharing it with a friend or teammate a few times. Try to keep it within three to four minutes. Get their feedback.
Remember to keep it simple and natural. Avoid preachy words or spiritual cliches. After practicing a few times, go out and find someone to share it with. Maybe the person in the bank line, the barber, or someone in the grocery store check-out line. Chat a few minutes first to build relationship then tell them what your life was like a few years ago. Move from there to the other two parts of the testimony.
Sharing your story is powerful. You’d be surprised how many people are open and interested to hear your own story.
As you share your testimony and train others to do the same, you will identify people who are open to the gospel. When they show interest, set up a time to meet them to share more. Or invite them to join a Discovery Bible Study.
After everyone has learned to share their testimony and are actively doing this, train them in a more complete presentation of the gospel. See the toolbelt blog for some options to choose from.
Set Seed Sowing Goals
What will you do to increase the number of “gospel seeds” being planted in your region this month? Set a goal as a team for how many people you will share the good news with and how many you will train to share with others. Then keep track of how you did with those goals. Each month, increase the number until thousands of seeds are being sown. You will definitely begin to see fruit.
The harvest is ripe. But to reap it, you have to share the gospel often.
Do you have questions or examples of how you have done “abundant gospel sowing” in your area? We would love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below, or join our Facebook group and share with us.