Matthew 18:12 – “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray and gets lost, will he not leave the 99 on the mountain and go in search of the one that is lost?”
I have always loved this Scripture and always felt like this little lost sheep – trying to find purpose alone in the wilderness. Until the Shepherd found me – bewildered. Just as a shepherd is concerned enough about one lost sheep to go search the hills for it, so God is concerned about every human being he has created. God surely don’t want anyone to perish.
I have experienced this first hand in Tanzania some weeks ago. I was meeting with a group of phenomenal men in Dar-Es-Salaam. I call them the 7 generals …… as they are planting churches through evangelism and discipleship. They taught me a lot about perseverance and walking the extra 10 miles. But it is what they did to a very young girl that astonished me and made this Scripture alive in my soul yet again.
It was a typical hot and humid Dar-Es-Salaam day. We were intensely focused on training and planning strategically how to plant churches in dominantly Muslim areas. We place great emphasis on evangelism to plant churches. In fact everything we do depends on evangelism. Evangelism forms the core of church planting. To demonstrate this I took out our Heart of Man charts and started teaching – specifically on the methodology on how to win a soul to Christ in a cultural relevant way. In the corner of my eye I saw young people gathering and laughing – not too far from where I was teaching. I didn’t take notice of them as they kept themselves busy. A few of them kept close enough so they could hear my voice. Some of them were inquisitive …. but careful of the mazungu (white man). When we finished with a prayer getting a famous coke to wash down the dust and heat 2 pastors got up and left.
They returned 30 minutes later with a young 16year old girl in a colorful dress. Their eyes were big. They spoke simultaneously holding the girl’s hand. “She listened to what we were teaching on evangelism” they said simultaneously. Her friends laughed and joked but she said these words cut deep into her heart. I looked at her shy smile. “It was like a magnet” she whispered. “I need Jesus … and I need him now. I have sin and I want to meet this Man you are talking about.” One of the pastors said: “I saw the group of young people and started praying while you were presenting. I knew God was about to change someone’s life! And here she is.” Needless to say we immediately led her to Jesus explaining God’s salvation plan. One of the pastors who planted a church in Dar-Es-Salaam took her details and she was placed in a healthy church.
People are in desperate need. Children are in need of Jesus Christ. If you ever come in contact with children in your neighborhood who need Christ steer them toward Jesus through your example, your words, and your acts of kindness. I thank God for Harvester pastors who are delicately tuned in to the Holy Spirit not just to plant churches – but to look for the ONE sheep who is waiting to be saved by the great Shepherd.