Focus on Gardening

Greg encourages Christians for whom evangelism seems overwhelming to focus on small opportunities of influence rather than "sealing the deal." Look forward to more Mentoring Moments from Greg in the coming weeks. 


00:11 I had somewhat of an epiphany 10, 15 years ago.

00:16 Something came together for me that has really profoundly influenced the way

00:21 that I approach the whole task that we generally call evangelism. Before there

00:25 can be a harvest, there has to be a season of gardening. What this points out

00:29 for evangelism is that before someone comes to Christ, there is a season of

00:33 that person considering Christ. And nowadays, that season is a whole lot

00:40 longer than it used to be. In other words, as Francis Schaeffer used to put it, we

00:45 need more pre-evangelism than we ever needed. So if we just go out into the

00:51 field, and we are looking for a harvest, and our evangelism technique is focusing

00:57 on getting people to sign on the dotted line, to close the deal so to speak, we

01:02 may be really frustrated because it's like harvesting fruit that's not ripe

01:06 yet. And I began to think of my own life, and I realized that I'm not really a

01:12 harvester. I'm a gardener. Everything that I do really on the radio, and writing

01:17 books, and talking to audiences is mostly gardening, not harvesting. Is there a

01:24 harvest? Sure. I get people to come to me and they tell me that they've listened

01:28 to the show or read the books and eventually, they became a Christian, right?

01:31 In other words, somebody went into my garden where I had been gardening and

01:35 harvested my fruit. Do you think that bothers me?

01:41 No, it doesn't bother me. I'm glad for that and Jesus said the same thing in

01:45 John chapter 4 right after the woman at the well. The disciples came up to Him

01:49 after she had gone off to Sicar, and He says to the disciples, "You are about to

01:53 reap where you did not sow." In other words, He's identifying one field, two seasons –

02:02 Reaping and sowing – and two kinds of workers, reapers and sowers, harvesters

02:08 and gardeners. And I think the gardening job is the one that's the hardest to do

02:14 because when the fruit is ripe, it falls into the basket. What Jesus is telling

02:20 the disciples is they're about to get the ripe low-hanging fruit though

02:24 someone else did the heavy lifting. And then He says, "So that the one who reaps

02:30 and the one who sows can rejoice together." That's my approach. That's what

02:36 I mean when I say I just want to put a stone in someone's shoe when I go to

02:42 engage other people. I'm not looking to lead them to Christ. I'm not looking to

02:46 close the deal. I'm not swinging for the fences. I'm just trying to make a small

02:51 difference in their life, put a stone in their shoe, get them thinking about

02:55 something important about Christ. Maybe create a doubt in their mind about their

03:00 own view so that would move them a little bit closer. And I think if more

03:06 Christians thought of themselves as gardeners and not worried about the

03:12 harvest, which I think is going to take care of itself by God's sovereignty, we

03:17 get out there and start gardening, doing a little here a little there, more

03:20 Christians would get off the bench and get into play. And this is part of the

03:24 reason I have the tactical game plan because Tactics is a game plan that will

03:30 allow you to do that effectively. Tactics helps you to garden, and gardening, I

03:37 think, is the biggest thing that's needed right now.

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Greg Koukl