Strategy. Innovation. Goals. These words are not inherently bad. However, as they relate to spreading the gospel and making disciples, they can be incredibly problematic. The parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23) reveals that results are supernatural and organic. There is a reason that Scripture always speaks about kingdom growth in agricultural terms. Kingdom growth requires faith and patience.
The strategy is as simple as sowing and sleeping (Mark 4:26-29). We tend to complicate that simple scriptural strategy. Through programs, curriculums, methods, fads, trends, studies, and focus groups, we’ve become quite adept at strategizing our approach to evangelism. Ironically, the western world is in the midst of an evangelical decline. Gluttons for strategy, we are starving for substance.
When it comes to the gospel message, innovation is the enemy of transformation. The good seed of the gospel simply cannot be improved. There is no new technique or approach that supplants God’s original design for his children to build relationships and speak the gospel message to those who have never heard, teach them the ways of his word, and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Difficulties will come and objections will be raised. What do we do about the bad seed? Do we need to innovate? No. At the time of harvest, God will sort the weeds from the wheat (Matthew 12:24-30).
I’m not opposed to setting goals, but when it comes to seeing supernatural results I’m reminded that despite all our planting and watering, it is God alone that gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:5-7). If you take the parable of the sower in a statistical sense, then only twenty-five percent will actually come to genuine faith in Christ. I’m not arguing that it should be taken this way; however, it is a humbling reality that should temper our mechanical goals with the wisdom of organic and supernatural transformation.
Sowing good seed means spreading the good news. There is nothing remotely complicated about doing so. It may be costly, but it isn’t complicated. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived a perfect life, was crucified, and rose again on the third day for the forgiveness of our sins and the imputation of his righteousness. Making connections, having conversations, and proclaiming that gospel reality is the means through which Christ adds to his church. All the strategy, innovation, and goals of the world could never hope to compete with the foolishness of the cross. It is good seed.