Luke 10:1-13 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house!' And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.' I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
Luke 10:17-20 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" And he said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
Jesus sent the seventy-two other disciples out two-by-two to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, just like he did to the twelve apostles (Matthew 9:1-6; Mark 6:7-13). The seventy-two were given the same mission and message: "Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you'" (v.9). Jesus added that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.
Jesus' strategy for bringing in the harvest is to multiply the ministers. Ministers are leaders who can minister to others through the prayer and word ministry. So from only twelve ministers, Jesus multiplied the number of His ministers to seventy-two, a multiplication factor of 6. In other words, every one of the twelve ministers was expected to recruit six other ministers, giving a total of 72 new disciples. If we really want to bring in the plentiful harvest, we must follow Jesus' strategy--multiply ministers, not just members.
Kingdom arithmetic is not addition but multiplication: "Be fruitful and multiply". Only when the church focuses on multiplication of ministers that God's church can experience exponential growth. If every church member is trained to win 6 disciples in 1 year, and this 6 new disciples are also trained to multiply themselves six times, a church of 50 active members could easily grow to 1,800 members in 2 years. If we follow Jesus' multiplication strategy to reach pre-believers, our church's attendance will not remain stagnant.
Some churches only allow the ordained ministers to do the work of the ministry. But that is a grievous waste of God's gifts to His people. There is no "lay" members in God's Kingdom--only lay ministers who share the authority and power of the Lord Jesus. When the seventy-two disciples returned, they were reporting to Jesus excitedly, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" And Jesus affirmed this by saying, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you" (v.18-19).
So, there is no divide between the clergy and laity: all God's people have the same apostolic authority to preach the Gospel, heal the sick and cast out demons. All we need is to get our butts off the pews and get involved in evangelism.
Father, You have given us Your strategy for growing Your church and Your kingdom. May You help us to stay focused on winning and discipling the lost. Amen.