Casting the Net

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As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill
called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to
them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you
will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it
and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’
tell him, ‘The Lord needs it’.”

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Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told
them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why
are you untying the colt?”

They replied, “The Lord needs it.’”

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put
Jesus on it.

-Luke 19:29-35

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Here’s a behind-the-scenes story I’d love to know more about.
Before the disciples ever arrived, what happened in the hearts of
the colt’s owners? How were they able to make such a sacrifice? How
did Jesus prepare them to be ready for service? Wouldn’t it be
great if recruiting were that easy?

That’s just it; it is! Or it can be.

Over and over in the Bible, we see stories of God’s miraculous
provision for his servants once they were commissioned to do God’s
work. Noah had everything he needed to build the ark; Solomon had
everything he needed to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Just as the
disciples had more than enough fish when they cast their nets in
obedience to Jesus, you have everything you need to build a
children’s ministry.

Scripture is filled with admonitions for us to trust God to do the
work that he has put in our hearts. In fact, it’s very clear that
it’s impossible to carry out God’s work without God’s help.
Throughout Scripture, God’s servants are warned not to put their
faith in people, resources, or methods other than God’s miraculous
provision. Consider these verses:

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your
plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and
will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant
all your requests. Now I know that the Lord saves his announced; he
answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right
hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in
the name of the Lord our God.

-Psalm 20:4-7

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in
vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late toiling for food to
eat-for he grants sleep to those he loves.

-Psalm 127:1-2

“Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to all
those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance,
but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt
without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection,
to Egypt’s shade for refuge. But Pharaoh’s protection will be your
shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace.

-Isaiah 30:1-3

Recruitment can be the most difficult and discouraging area of
volunteer management-if we try to do it in our time and by our
plans. But in God’s time and by God’s plan, it will be done.
Perhaps in recruitment more than any other area of volunteer
management, God wants to us to stand back and see his mighty hand.
God wants to do the miraculous in calling out people to
service.

The struggles of finding enough volunteers are nothing new. Jesus,
himself, said in Luke10: 2, “The harvest is plentiful, but the
workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send
out workers into his harvest field.”

After Jesus pointed out that the workers are few, he didn’t
suggest new methods; he said to cry out to God. It’s not a
one-time, at-the-beginning-of-the-recruiting-phase prayer. It’s the
same kind of desperate, ongoing plea that Moses make to God when he
prayed, “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may
know you and continue to find favor with you…If your Presence does
not go with us, do not sent us up from here” (Exodus 33:13), 15).
It’s saying every step of the way, “I don’t want to-I can’t-do this
without you God.”

For many years volunteer recruitment was my greatest stumbling
block in the ministry,” says Clara Olson, Family Life Pastor at New
Hope Community Church in Portland, Oregon. “Today, I am happy to
say, it is one of my greatest joys. What made the difference? God
helped me to change my attitude and philosophy.”

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