So we face a dilemma: we see the need to invest more time in growing people through prayerfully bringing the word of God to them, but we are ‘time poor’ and feel stretched to breaking point.
The authors address this issue in The Trellis and the Vine
. Training co-workers to do vine work with you is a key recommendation, as is starting small and doing “a deep work in the lives of a few”.
The purpose of this article is to highlight another method of discipling people through God’s word—one that is both effective and time-efficient for shepherds. It involves recruiting twenty-six extra vine workers into your ministry. Here they are: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
When we look back in history, we can see how powerfully God has used the written word
in growing disciples of Jesus Christ. Indeed, he chose the written word of the Scriptures as his primary method of revealing himself. Look, for example, at how rapidly the ideas of the Reformation spread. How was it that the gospel teaching of Luther, Calvin and others was able to spread so rapidly and effectively across Europe, helping many to throw off the yoke of Roman Catholicism, and pointing them to the truth of justification by faith? The printing of books and tracts was a very significant factor.
John Foxe even went so far as to say:
I suppose that either the pope must abolish printing, or he must seek a new world to reign over;
Now nothing doth debilitate and shake the high spire of his papacy so much as reading, preaching, knowledge, and judgement, that is to say, the fruit of printing;
For although through outward force and violent cruelty tongues dare not speak, yet the hearts of men daily (no doubt) be instructed through the benefit of printing.
(From Foxe's Book of Martyrs)
Even today, there are some countries where the threat of outward force and violent cruelty still makes it easier to distribute literature than to speak personally. But for most of us in religiously free countries, perhaps we would rewrite Foxe’s last sentence above like this:
For although through busyness of life tongues have not enough time to speak, yet the hearts of men daily (no doubt) be instructed through the benefit of printing.
excerpted from the article 26 VineWorkers by Ian Carmichaelhttp://www.matthiasmedia.com/download/26_vine_workers.pdf