Over the past few months Pastor Tim has been encouraging our adults to bring someone to church. He has challenged us all to bring “one person who sticks”. It is a great challenge and is certainly in line with Jesus’ sentiment and words found in Matthew 9:35-38.
“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.'”
Jesus looked upon the crowds and had compassion. He saw their lives, unconnected to His life and power, as harassed and helpless. Those words depict a sheep that has been neglected, and thus is mangled and thrown down for lack of care. Jesus was moved by such a sight and asked his disciples to pray that God would send out laborers to bring them in to God’s fold.
That is the essence of our pastor’s challenge to us. All around us are people who are like sheep without a shepherd. They need someone to come to them and point them to the Great Shepherd of the Sheep. They need someone to answer the call for laborers so that they might find the life that Jesus came to give. Have you answered the call? Are you praying that the Lord will help you take our pastor’s challenge and “bring one in”? That would be a good first personal application, but there is something more for us to consider as parents.
As I have personally thought about the pastor’s challenge I’ve begun to think about our children. The pastor’s challenge is not just for adults, it is for all of us. Our children need to be confronted with the “each one bring one” challenge. What a better time to begin to cultivate the compassion of Jesus in your children then when they are young.
So what can parents do? Consider the following:
1. Talk with your children about “each one bring one”. Give them a biblical foundation for the need to have an outward focus – a compassion for those without Jesus.
2. Help your child identify one or two friends or acquaintances and begin praying every night that they would be brought in to Jesus.
3. Strategize with your child how they can invite their friend to church. Take advantage of special outreach events like VBC, Friend Night at LOGOS, the Harvest Party… These events are designed to encourage our children to bring friends who don’t know Jesus. Plan a sleepover on a Saturday night which includes coming to church the next morning…. Ask God for ideas and when He provides them, move out with expectation.
Luke 15:7 says, “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Let’s work together, with our children, to increase heaven’s joy by bringing others into the fold.