Wednesday, February 06, 2008

So How Many People Do You Have? 3

This next post by David Fitch describes the general movement toward new understandings of planting churches. This was the "aha!" post that suddenly named what I had been doing for the past 8 years. I had been cultivating a garden. There were a couple of comments after the post that I really enjoyed and I've copied them too. My apologies but I often enjoy the comments people make as much as the original post and I wanted to make sure you were able to see them connected to the post.


For those of us born before 1970, this change (to post Christendom) is truly stunning. The landscape of post-Christendom demands we think about church planting with a new eye for faithfulness, truth and integrity. Among the new missional leaders, church is the name we give to a way of life, not a set of services. We do not plant an organized set of services; we inhabit a neighborhood as the living embodied presense of Christ. Missional leaders now root themselves in a piece of geography for the long term.

We survey the land for the poor and the desperate, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually as well. We seek to plant seeds of ministry, kernels of forgiveness, new plantings of the gospel among "the poor (of all kinds)" and then by the Spirit water them, nurture them into the life of God in Christ. We gather on Sunday, but not for evangelistic reasons. We gather to be formed into a missonal people sent out into the neighborhood to minister grace, peace, love and the gospel of forgiveness and salvation. The biggest part of church then is what goes on outside gathering. If the old ways of planting a church were like setting up a grocery store, now it is more like seeding a garden, cultivating it, watching God grow it amidst the challenges of the rocks, weeds and thorns (I owe this metaphor to my fellow co-pastors at Life on the Vine). What do these leaders look like? How can we walk alongside them? After hanging with a hundred or so of these leaders over the past few years, I offer the following observations. I'll post on this next.

len said ...
david, glad this has been an opportunity to put these thoughts on paper. Here are some thoughts from Michael Toy a few years back reflecting on the implications of organic gardening..

• take crap and use it to nourish things 

• it isn't "dirt," it is soil, and the preparation and maintenance of the soil is really important

• things that are garbage are used to grow the garden 

• vigilance is important 

• be willing to take smaller fruit in order for it to be truly healthy 

• gardening requires a systems understanding

• gardens die every winter and require replanting 

• things can only grow in certain climates 

• hybrids don't reproduce 

• if you use miracle grow to start, you have to keep boosting the amount 

• what you plant next to what is important 

• you have very little to do with the success of the gardern, photosynthesis is still a mystery, you can't make it grow, it is a miracle 

• backs and knees are sore because you are down in the dirt, you don't stand above the garden

• we need to protect the garden from bunnies. Worms are good, bunnies are bad. 

• organic fruit doesn't all look like the stuff in the market. Quality is over beauty, and there is no uniformity.. you share from the excess.

bigmikey (not me) said...

Great post. Very enjoyable. The more you explain the metaphor of the garden, the more it resonates with me.

Len, great additional comments. If I may be so bold, the "bunnies" in my experience are the disaffected evangelicals who hop from church to church. They come in so gently and softly, saying all the right things etc, but you turn your back for one minute and ... the radishes are GONE. Those evil b*st*rds!

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