This may come across as hypocritical from a guy that bases his personality and the majority of his dialogue on witty movie banter, but Field of Dreams is not a film that you should model your ministry after. Yeah, there are some good lessons about following the leading of the Holy Spirit even if it means taking a big risk. And there is a great scene that illustrates sacrifice when Moonlight Graham gives up his spot in the game to save the life of a young girl.
However, as we seek revival and to grow the kingdom of God here on earth, it seems that we have adopted a philosophy of Field of Dreams evangelism. We do everything that we can come up with to get people to come to our churches. I’ve heard so many church leaders talk about strategies to get the lost to come through the doors and how to fill the seats each Sunday morning. It’s like we are constantly chasing a whisper that says, “If you build it, they will come.”
We put creative verbiage on our church signs, we mix popular music into our worship sets, we supply snacks and coffee, and we spend hours and hours talking about how to be more welcoming when visitors arrive. Don’t get me wrong, those are all good things that seem to draw people in. These strategies are effective at ministering to certain populations of people.
But if we are talking about reaching people, if we are trying to love on those that may be the hardest to love, we can’t just put a baseball diamond in our cornfield and sit there and wait. If we are to be the hands and feet of God, then we need to get off of our butts and go out into our communities.
We need to spend time planning ministry events that take place where people are instead of inviting people to our ministry events. We need to hang out in the neighborhoods that we avoid driving through at night and find reasons to loiter in places where Christ’s love is not written all over the walls. If we truly want to reach the lost, we need to get out of our comfort zones and work our way into theirs.
I’m fairly certain that this is implied in the Great Commission, but we all need a reminder every now and then. So let’s stop spending all of our time planning new ways to get strangers to come to church and start going out and making friends that we can bring to our worship services. That is ministry.