Linda Vannatta celebrated her 83rd birthday this year. I’ve come to think of her as a female version of Caleb, the Old Testament hero who at age 85 was still a leader in the Lord’s army when the Israelites conquered Canaan. Linda is not ready for the sidelines! She first opened her Bedford County home to The Timothy Network in 2015 and has been active in hosting discipling circles and discipling women since then. She has become an emissary for our work, always encouraging others to get involved and ready to participate in new things we sponsor. As you might recall, a new portion of our work has focused on “hospitality evangelism.” In conjunction with this, Linda is hosting a “Lighthouse” training group. (photo at bottom) At her own initiative, she recently sent the following letter to promote participation and recruited a dozen men and women to attend the seven-week training process. Linda has been an encouraging example to so many. With that introduction, we are pleased to introduce a sister who is not letting eight decades slow her involvement in the Lord’s mission of disciple making. M.L.S.
Have you noticed how many signs there are, on fast food places and other businesses, which are just begging for people to walk in and get a job? Most places are even willing to train workers for the job.
Knowing several people who are not employed anywhere, my first thought is, “Why don’t ‘they’ get a job?” Then someone posted on Facebook the verse from John 4:35. This is a discussion that Jesus had with his disciples after his confrontation with the woman at the well. They are delaying their work, saying that the harvest is in four months, but Jesus says, “Take a look at the fields; the crops are now ripe and ready to be harvested.”
Walking out my backdoor, I see corn fields turning brown and ears waiting to be shelled. Machinery is ready to run, trucks and storage plans are in place and workers are in place for each job. We are ready and prepared for that harvest. But, when I read that Jesus sees a harvest that is ready, I asked myself – Is that field out my back door? Do I have plans in place? Am I trained for the job? Matthew 9:37 Jesus said: “The harvest is large, but there are few workers to gather it in.”
While I can easily see the “now hiring” signs and say, “Why don’t ‘they’ get a job,” I must remember that Jesus put out his “now hiring sign” in Matthew 28:19 that reads, “Go make disciples”.
Am I one of those workers not ready for the harvest? Am I now someone who is looked at as a worker, and I am asked, “Why don’t ‘they’ invite me into their home or their church group, why don’t ‘they’ share a cup of coffee with me, or why don’t ‘they’ tell me about the plan of salvation?
About six years ago, I was invited to an intentional disciple making project. Mary Gordon was the leader and we were just a small group of six or seven women. The group moved out to my house and the married women brought their husbands. We ate together, laughed, and prayed together, then separated for the men and women to meet in separate rooms to study discipleship and disciple making.
The men were led by Mike Stroud, who is the Director of The Timothy Network based in Murfreesboro. Mary led the women’s circle. Over the years, the people in the discipleship groups changed. We multiplied to reach others and have developed about 10 women who are discipling other women. The purpose of each multiplying group remained the same – to make disciples who make more disciples.
Recently, Mary Gordon and Mike have encouraged me to host a training group for a seven weeks study on building churches from the inside out. These gatherings will begin in mid-October. Mike and Mary will lead the discussion. If you have the heart for being a harvest worker, give me a call for more information at 931-580-5930. May God bless the harvest.