We believe that the Church is God’s instrument to fulfill His purpose in the earth and the primary agent by which God’s Kingdom comes to “earth as it is in heaven.” As such, we are commissioned to reach out to the lost in our own communities as well as across cultures and in every nation throughout the world. And we are called to lead the lost into relationship with Jesus Christ.
To this end the Church is also called to develop spiritual leaders and to mobilize the believing community.
Recent statistics by the U.S. Center for World Missions indicate that the Great Commission is being fulfilled with almost unbelievable speed. Evangelical Christianity is growing 3.5 times as fast as the world population. Trained workers and leaders are needed more now than ever.
How long will it take to train the leaders needed for America and the nations of the world? The truth is that there aren't enough seminaries and Bible schools anywhere to prepare for the impending great harvest.
“By the end of the century (2000) there were approximately 150 graduate level seminaries in the world, roughly 75 of which were in North America. Africa had six graduate level institutions in 1996, only one of which was accredited. Latin America had six until the accrediting society increased the standards to meet international standards—and now they have none. Together these 150 schools graduate less than 15,000 per year, and certainly not all graduates become pastors.
In simple math terms, if 15,000 seminarians graduate per year for forty years, there will be 600,000 new graduates in the next forty years. However, if the church’s growth rate continues, we will need 5 million new pastors in the next forty years. Thus eighty-five to ninety percent of the world's new churches will have pastoral leadership that is not seminary trained.” (Dr. Steve Clinton, Evangelical Missions Quarterly, April, 2005, 41:2)
Without enlisting the local church to train up a generation of workers, it could take forever. But can the local church do it alone? Or more importantly, should it do it alone? We at HarvestNet believe the answer is no. We believe it requires a citywide Church to reap a citywide, and ultimately a worldwide, harvest.