Training Database

Parable of the Cornfield  

⤷ FOUR STAGES: Gospel Witness

15 min

A story from a farmer's background which teaches lessons in receptivity. 


Let small groups read this brief story and come up with several lessons that can be learned.  The full text is as follows:

Back in the days when I lived on the farm, Dad and I would go out in the summer to pull sweet corn.  Confronted with many rows of corn and thousands of cornstalks, we would walk down a row and begin looking for ripe corn.  We did this using several clues: “Is the silk dried?”“Does the ear look fat and full?” “Does it feel firm?” 

With these things in mind, Dad and I were able to check hundreds of ears of corn in a short time.  We could pull only the ears that were ready and leave the others to ripen.  Later, we would go back and find that there were new ears of corn that were ripe enough to pull.

    • We must get into the cornfield if we expect to harvest corn.  No farmer gets the work done while sitting at home in his living room.  He must get into the field where the corn is, because the corn will never come to him.  Likewise, if we are going to reach people, we need to go where the people are.  Most people that need to be reached will never come to us!
    • We should use all our senses to determine if the corn is ripe.  We don't have to tear open every ear of corn to see if it is ripe, nor do we have to tear people apart by arguing our point.  Our best tools for sharing the Gospel are our eyes and ears.  Listen, observe, share gently, get a feel for where the person is and how they are reacting to the message.
    • Ripeness can be assessed quickly.  To determine spiritual receptivity, we must share something of the Gospel message.  But if someone is not receptive, you will know almost at once . . . and in that case, don't go any further!  Change the subject.  This way, we can assess many people so we can find the “ripe” ones!
    • We are not in charge of making the corn ripe.  We do not make people receptive to God.  Only the Holy Spirit can do that.  Our job is to share the Gospel and determine if people are ready to let Jesus into their lives.
    • Sometimes you get a bad ear of corn.  It may be wormy or have fungus, or the kernels are not all developed. Sometimes people will come to Christ but will not last long (see Matt. 13).  Jesus said you can expect this.  But don't let this keep you from the task of reaching people.

    • Expect to get dirty.  We often came out of the cornfield full of pollen and fungus, mud on our shoes, as well as getting small cuts from the leaves.   In order to reach non-Christians, you must hang out with them and tolerate their attitudes, their language, and their behaviours. 
    • Corn which is not ready today may be ripe tomorrow.  People who are not receptive today may be receptive in the future.  We must keep checking back—that is, maintain relationships with non-believers and stay connected.

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Alphabetical Listing of Training Elements

  15-Second Testimony
  Acts 2 Study
  Allen, Roland - Strategic Points
  Allen, Roland - Substance of Paul’s Preaching
  Allen, Roland - The Teaching
  Are We Disciples of Jesus Christ
  Balance in the Five-Fold Ministry
  Banyan Trees and Banana Trees
  Big Vision
  Blind Spot
  Breaking the Rules
  Church Identity Triangle
  Coaching Plan
  Coleman, Robert - The Master's Plan
  Community Survey
  CPM Continuum
  Creation to Christ Story
  Creative Problem Solving
  Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee
  Disciple-Making and Raising Children
  Discovery Bible Study (DBS) - AIM for Believers
  Discovery Bible Study (DBS) - AIM for Unbelievers
  Door-to-Door Preparation
  Ee-Taow, Part 1
  Ee-Taow, Part 2
  Eims, Leroy - Biblical Examples
  Eims, Leroy - Early Church
  Eims, Leroy - Two Examples
  Forces of Light and Darkness
  Four Kinds of Disciples
  Four Stages / Four Fields
  Generational Growth Mapping
  Gospel Bridges
  Gospel Encounters Record
  Gospel on the Hand
  Great Commission Partnership
  Hope in a Broken World
  Ibraham, Ishtak - Reaching Muslim People
  Inward & Outward Focus
  Know - Be - Do
  Lessons from the Thessalonians
  Lockridge, SM - My King
  McGavran, Donald - Pattern of the Great Century
  McGavran, Donald - People Movements
  Multiplication Exercise
  New Life in Christ
  One Anothers
  One Mission
  Parable of the Cornfield
  Patterson, George - Spontaneous Multiplication
  Paul's Development Through 5 Levels of Leadership
  Paul's Discipleship Model
  Paul's Three Journeys
  People in the Harvest (Four Soils)
  People List
  People Map (oikos or network)
  Person of Peace
  Positive Accountability
  Problem Solving Exercise
  Quotes & Verses Posters
  Richardson, Don - Concept Fulfillment
  Richardson, Don - Finding the Eye Opener
  Schindler's List—'I Could Have Done More'
  Schwartz, Glenn - Dependency
  Sending Narratives Study
  Seven Generations
  Simson, Wolfgang - Fathering
  Simson, Wolfgang - Fivefold Ministry
  Simson, Wolfgang - House Churches
  Small Group Sizes
  Smith, Steve - The T4T Story
  Stott, John - The Bible in World Evangelization
  Strategy Snapshot
  Testimony (Personal Story)
  The Bold Parts
  The Complete Package for Church Planting Movements
  The Five-Fold Ministry in the Four Stages
  The Four Fields and the Great Commission
  The Great Commission of Abraham
  The Great Story
  The Left Side of the Graph
  The Lorax—'Plant the Seed'
  The Modeling Sequence in Luke
  The Peter Pathway
  The Romans Road
  The Traffic Light
  The Word on the Street
  Three Circles
  Three Great Commands and AIM Pattern
  THUMB - Religious Groups
  Training Faithful Trainers (TFT)
  Triangle and Square
  Vision-Casting Vignettes
  Witness Model Zone
  Witnessing to Catholics
  Your New Journey


David served the purposes of God in his own generation, and then he died... - Acts 13.36