The following is a quote from The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift that Changes Everything by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne (pp. 111):
This, it has to be said, is counter-intuitive. It goes against the grain. Our first instinct is to go straight to those who need the most help–and of course, as pastors, there will always be times when we need to leave the 99 to go after the one. There will be pastoral emergencies and problems that we just have to deal with.
But if we pour all our time into caring for those who need help, the stable Christians will stagnate and never be trained to minister to others, the non-Christians will stay unevangelized, and a rule of thumb will quickly emerge within the congregation: if you want the pastor’s time and attention, get yourself a problem. Ministry becomes all about problems and counseling, and not about the gospel and growing in godliness.
And over time, the vine withers.
So, what is the point of what we are doing? Managing bleeting sheep, or investing in the kingdom?