A pastor and a visitor from another country rounded a corner on the road and saw stretched out before them a well-watered plain divided into sections by dusty roads. As far as they eye could see were palm trees eight to ten feet tall.
“Beautiful sight,” said the visitor.
“See those small palm trees,” the pastor said. “New churches can be started there.”
“What,” asked the visitor, “do palm trees have to do with starting new churches?”
“Everything,” replied the pastor. “Those small trees tell me that this is a new population, recently moved into this valley. They have broken away from their former associates and families. They are making new friends and looking for new ideas. This is the time to start churches here.”
For a number of reasons, people become receptive to the gospel at different times. “Receptive” means that they are willing, and even eager, to hear the gospel story, make a decision, and become followers of the Lord.
No one knows exactly why some individuals, and even large groups of people like tribes or families, suddenly become receptive. Apparently the Holy Spirit manages to make breakthroughs at certain times.
Nevertheless, the signs of receptivity can be recognized. When these signs start to build up, and it becomes apparent that people are receptive, that is the time to strike!
This ministry tip is taken from How to Find and Reach Receptive People by James W. Zackrison. This and other ministry resources are available at 800-328-0525 or www.adventsource.org.