Results of ministry work sometimes go unseen, student learns
Jonathan Sorne’s two months of ministry in Canada this summer were surprisingly discouraging. Having assisted with mission work in Canada before, Sorne, a bachelor’s student at Scarborough College, had assumed he would find at least a few opportunities to engage in fruitful Gospel conversations and perhaps even lead someone to the Lord. But the reality failed to match up to his prayerful expectations.
“It was such a hard place to share the Gospel with people, because people there may be friendly, but when it comes to the topic of religion, they shut you out,” Sorne says of his experience. “So even trying to say ‘hi’ to them and have a running conversation is hard. And when it came to sharing the Gospel, people were closed off and tried to change the subject to something else.”
Sorne assisted Towers Baptist Church in Richmond, British Columbia, with planting a new church. Their outreach efforts included visiting coffee shops, going to parks, and simply prayer-walking, all with the aim of meeting people, sharing the Gospel, and inviting them to a new Bible study that met every Monday. During Sorne’s entire time there, no one attended the Bible study.
But throughout the experience, as well as after, one particular Bible verse continually arose in Sorne’s mind—Galatians 6:9, which says, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Beyond encouraging him to be persistent in his work in Canada, this verse also proved prophetic for the church’s ministry after Sorne left.
In the weeks following his return home, Sorne has received word from Towers Baptist Church that the Monday Bible study now has three regular attenders, one of whom the Bible study leaders were able to engage in a deep Gospel conversation. Though the individual did not make a decision to follow Christ, the conversation nevertheless indicated a significant development for the ministry. In addition, more people have started attending the church’s Sunday afternoon kickball and soccer games in a local park, meaning that relationships are starting to be formed within the community.
So, even though Sorne did not personally see any results of his work while he was in Canada, the work he did alongside the church has apparently begun to bear fruit. God was at work through it all, and the church, in due time, has begun to reap.
“Sometimes you don’t see the fruit,” Sorne reflects. “But that doesn’t mean God is not working in the spiritual realm.”
Sorne, therefore, has realized that doing outreach and evangelism is not based on his ability so much as his availability. In other words, the results of his ministry are not based on his skills but on whether he is willing to be used by God to accomplish His purposes—even if he personally does not see them. This lesson informs the way Sorne now ministers through his home church in Arlington.
“God is working even if you don’t see it; even if you don’t experience it presently,” Sorne says. “So it gives me comfort and encouragement just to go and be there and help out and serve, even when it seems like nothing is going on; even when you come back and say, ‘There were no results.’ Canada taught me that God is working in the spiritual realm, and that He has His own ways and times of doing things.”