A weekly series to help believers engage with loved ones, friends and neighbors who are dropout believers to restore them to the church - the Body of Christ.
Why Not Just Invite the Dropout Believer to Church? A great question! Do that! After several different people and attempts you may see that this doesn't typically work. Why not?
The strongholds in their mind will proffer thoughts like:
Already been there – done that.
Just a bunch of hypocrites – why bother?
The church hurt me before – they won't get another chance.
All I need is Jesus.
I don't need to be in church to be a Christian.
Nature is my church.
I have other priorities.
And on and on...
This is why there is a different strategy – the hunters' strategy - for restoration of the dropout believer. It is different than the fishers' strategy for the lost. Whereas the "fisher of men" (ie evangelist) casts the gospel net to reap the harvest of the lost; it is generally not effective in reclaiming the dropout believer. He has already been there, done that.
The foundation Scripture for this latter days' harvest is found in Jeremiah 16:16:
"Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen," declares the Lord, "and they will fish for them; and afterwards I shall send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and from every hill, and from the clefts of the rocks."
This latter days' harvest is twofold: the gathering of the lost in the nations (John 21:11), by the "fishermen" and the "net"; and the return and restoration of the dropout believer, by the "hunter" who tracks down each, one by one (Matt. 18:12).
Hunters of the Harvest is a biblically sound and effective approach for restoring dropout believers. The Hunters strategy is based on 1 Samuel 30, when David successfully recovered and restored his wives and family from the Amalekites. It was and is now a highly practical and spiritual approach to regain what the Enemy stole—our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Just as God desires the unsaved to turn to the kingdom, he desires the dropout believer to return to the kingdom.
Fishers fish for the lost.
Hunters hunt for the dropout believer.
Generally speaking, you are not going to get most dropouts back into church by asking them. It's the stronghold – the false belief system they have bought into - that is preventing them. This is one of the central elements of the Hunters strategy – to learn how to deal with strongholds as you begin to engage with the dropout.
Do you want to become a hunter and help restore some of those dropouts you care about?
Consider people in your sphere of influence who are dropout believers. Go ahead and invite them to church. If they say 'no thanks' – ask why. You may receive a response that is eye opening. Begin to pray and ask God to reveal to you the real "why" behind the dropout. Then you can begin to pray for the root issue to be dealt with spiritually.
For more depth on this read Hunters of the Harvest book chapter 1. To order the ministry book go to www.huntersoftheharvest.org.
Louis Posthauer is the founder of Hunters of the Harvest, a ministry focused on equipping the local church to reach and restore dropout believers. Louis consults with pastors and church leaders wishing to tap his expertise to mobilize their congregation with a biblical strategy to reach the dropout believer. He has been actively involved in the local church for 38 years and currently serves as a lay leader and teacher at Living Word Church of the Nazarene in Houston. For more information see www.huntersoftheharvest.org/to-pastors .