March 13, 2020

The Four Fields

Ryan Hale

Search Party uses a process called the Four Fields to help us, and those that we train, to think about our steps through a process to share the Gospel, make disciples, start new churches, and raise up new leaders who will do the same. Here is a video that shows this process along with the script for the video below.

Welcome back to the disciple-making training sessions about the Four Fields

Jesus told a story of a man who was sowing seed in a field. In Mark 4:26-29, we see that Jesus told this parable. He said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

Jesus is continuing to illustrate with this parable how the kingdom of God works, so we think that we can learn lessons of how to see God’s heart can become a reality here on earth.

First, Jesus says that there is a man who was scattering seed. Of course, the first thing that the man would need besides the seed would be a field. But in this parable, we see the field go through four different stages.

In the first stage of the field, there isn’t anything currently growing. It is really just an empty field, which is why the man wants to scatter seed! But the first thing that needs to be done in an empty field is that the ground needs to be plowed or cultivated to be prepared for the seed.

If we think about this from the perspective of the Kingdom of God, we are looking for the places where God has been preparing people to hear and accept the Gospel message. Jesus said that no one can come to him unless the Father draws them, so we are looking for people who God has been preparing to hear the Gospel message about Jesus.

In this area, we want to remember that Jesus talked about at least a couple of different types of people who would be within these empty fields, people with hearts that are ready to hear about Jesus. When Jesus called his disciples, he said, “Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.” But then later, he also said, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.” So here, we see that Jesus is already thinking about multiple generations of disciples who will enter the fields!

In the next stage of the field, the man goes to scatter the seed along this ground. As we think about this stage of the field, we should remember how Jesus sent out his disciples to spread the message about the Kingdom. This was recorded in Luke 10 where it says,

“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’

So the man is scattering the seed. It is on the ground and even some of might start to grow as a new plant!

As we see here, there may be several responses to the Gospel seed that is being sown. Not all of the seed is sprouting and growing right away. Some people may accept the message while others will not.

Of course, we know that some may want to learn more. We will talk in greater detail about working with people in each of their responses in a future video, but for now, let’s say that we can break the responses into three different types of responses.

The first is a red light response. These people do not accept the message, and may even seem hostile to the message. These are people for whom we will pray, but from which we will keep moving.

The second is a yellow light response. These are people who aren’t sure but they want to learn more. With these people, we can start a Discovery Bible Study to help them learn more so that they can be ready to accept the Gospel of Jesus.

And the third is a green light response. These are people who accept the message and are ready to proceed forward toward baptism and learning more about following Jesus.

As we find people that accept the message, we want to help them begin to grow. In the parable, Jesus said that the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.

Jesus also told his disciples to, “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”. That is a command that we believe is also for us today. So in this stage of the field, we want to Reproduce Disciples by growing the new disciples by helping them to both understand and obey the commands of Jesus as they continue to grow in Christ and in the basics of our faith. The areas where we will initially teach them with both stories and commands from the scripture include:

  • Repentance and belief
  • Baptism
  • Love
  • Making disciples
  • Prayer
  • The Lord’s Supper

And many others…

As these disciples grow in their faith, we want to begin to bring these disciples together as communities that will become churches. In the parable, we saw that the man puts the sickle to the grain because the harvest has come. The grain has grown to maturity and is now ready to be harvested and gathered. In this stage, we are starting the process of Reproducing Churches.

As these churches are created and reproduced, we look for specific aspects of the church, much like what we see in Acts 2:36-47. Luke reported that Peter was preaching to the people on the day of Pentecost when he said:

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

So in this passage, we see the first church and we see components of the church such as repentance and baptism, prayer, the Word of God, worship, giving of time and money, and many other aspects to the community of the church.

Of course, one of the things that we know about the church is that as the community is formed, we see leaders trained and raised up, and as those leaders are identified, they are sent back out to find and sow in new fields. Our goal is to not only go through this cycle once, but through the initial work, teach the new churches to continue to go through the cycle, to find new fields, sow seed, reproduce disciples, and reproduce new churches!

This is the picture of the process that we use to see a movement of disciples among the people that we are working with. We believe that the work that is done here, in one of the busiest crossroad immigration areas of the world, can have lasting effects for the spiritual future of Europe, of Africa, and across the Middle Eastern regions.

Thank you again for being on this journey with us! We look forward to seeing how God will use our small efforts turned into great things within the kingdom God!

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