Recently, I read an article in which Luke chapter 5 was mentioned. The chapter and story begin with Jesus teaching by the Lake of Gennesaret. The crowd of people became so large that Jesus got into a boat to speak to them so his voice would be amplified and reach more people. The boat was left unattended or unused by fishermen who were cleaning up from a fruitless, fishless night.
Verses four through seven go on to inform us of this: When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch’. Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’ When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
I am writing this article to put out a “signal” to other “fishermen” and “partners.” Our “nets” are “breaking” because we are facing a harvest and a need beyond our current capacity. This is a wonderful “problem” to have! And the solution is to send a “signal” to other partners, in other boats, to come and share in the harvest.
Prior to ServeNow, I pastored a church prior for six years. While there were “fish” that were “caught” during that time, there were many more seemingly “fruitless” days and “fishless” nights. When I saw how many “fish” were caught by ServeNow, with so little, I was amazed. Later, when I was approached by our president about joining ServeNow’s ministry, I made the difficult decision to leave the “spot” I was fishing in and help where the “fish” were breaking the nets. The joy I now have, after being so discouraged, is hard to contain!
I now invite you to do the same, in whatever way that might mean for you or your church. We have a need for more partners and other “boats” to help us meet all the needs and “catch” the “fish” all around us. Every week, we receive story after story of lives being impacted and changed. (Read stories from 2015 here). The harvest is truly plentiful. Yet, we clearly need more partners to bring in the harvest.
Jesus is all about bringing people together (who otherwise may never get together or get along!) and building partnerships. There is so much more we can do together than on our own (see John 17). It’s not about our own “kingdoms” or organizations; it’s about the harvest and glory of God in all the earth. As much as I wanted to “hold on” and “stay” in the location I was in, it was better for the sake of the kingdom to “leave” and “join.”
At ServeNow, we believe strongly in having many partnerships with other organizations and individuals to accomplish what we feel called to do. Yet again, we need more partners…and we desire to partner with more churches and individuals in order to fulfill the Great Commission.
The leadership team at ServeNow had to make some painful decisions this year to not include certain projects, programs or new areas of ministry in our budget for 2016. However, we did make a “priority” list of some of those areas where the need is greatest, where the doors are open to us and where there is a real potential for impact; but we need more partners (see the end of this article for specific options). So much can be done with so little! Last year, we impacted close to a quarter million people in one way or another. The average cost of reaching someone, of making a difference in someone’s life, is about $5 per person.
Just before writing this blog, I read the following request coming from an area in India where they are pleading with us to partner and provide our discipleship resources: As you have noticed, there are desperate needs for lifting up the children and the community both spiritually and socially. Firstly, we don’t have any Sunday School materials for the spiritual education of our children; these tools would greatly benefit them in learning and growing in the knowledge of God. At least this generation can be equipped as they are going to school. Secondly, please consider and grant The Basic Series as teaching materials for believers to learn and be equipped for growth and harvest, since there is no formal training or any training materials available for the churches. This will greatly bless them and the present generation. It is mostly young people who are hungry for such spiritual training and who have a zeal to grow in the Lord. The community in which we live is most deprived, therefore a great transformation is expected from the Lord, with the help of Servenow.
There are many others who are reaching out to us like this. Some requests come from countries or regions where we already work. Yet, there are more locations around the world where the need is great, the harvest is ripe, and doors are open for us (such as serving and reaching immigrants within Europe as well as doors open in the Middle East & Latin America. Read this article for more information: Vision & Future). But more partners are needed to make it possible!
Last year, I made a decision to “step out” and move my “boat” into “deeper waters.” Sure enough, the “fish” were abundantly present. Now I’d like to invite you as well to join me and ServeNow, to move into “deeper waters”, where the needs are the greatest. Just think of the lives that are ready to be impacted, the stories you will hear and be able to tell others…and the joy you will possess as a result!
**We would love to talk more with you or your church about ways we can partner together to fulfill the Great Commission around the world. Feel free to contact us. To partner with us financially, check out the donation page of our website: Donate. To check out volunteer options check out our new volunteer program: Volunteer. To serve on a mission trip click here: Mission Trips.