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Flowerbeds and Zip Codes


Sometimes I struggle to tell the difference between a flower and a weed.  I share that at the start as a disclaimer and to give you fair warning that I’m working outside of my skill set today.  One of the ministries at St. John’s is gardening angels.  We’ve divided our church property into sections and various people have committed to making their section reflect the beauty of creation with flowers and shrubs and other landscaping.  Fear not, I have not signed up for this ministry J

But Jim and Ann did.  They are seasoned gardeners.  They know what they are doing!  As I was speaking with Jim he shard that Ann was always working on the garden—both their yard at home and their front section at the church property.  Recently Jim and Ann transplanted some of the flowers from their yard at home to the church walkway.  The tree canopy in their backyard was growing too thick.  The beautiful flowers were failing to bloom because the thing they needed most was being blocked.  The blooms were white and they were struggling.  There are no trees in the front lawn of our church building.  These flowers are growing, they are blooming, and those blooms are now pink.  Their environment changed and therefore their fruit changed.  They are flourishing.

Jim and Ann were able to look at the flowerbed in their yard and realize that the plant was not in the right environment.  They found a better environment and the flower is off and running.  I think we do the reverse in the church.  We see a plant that is flourishing in one area and we try to transplant it to a different area, a different flowerbed, and a whole different environment.  And then we get really frustrated when we don’t get the same results.  It’s so easy for us in church circles to look upon other ministries and want to duplicate results so we duplicate the process.  We forget to look at the canopy and see that the sunshine is different, the soil is less acidic, or the rainfall is half the amount.  We duplicate instead of adapting.  The reality is, Jim and Ann’s garden, while beautiful, would look awful in my back yard.  You see, I’ve got 6 kids at home.  The last thing I want to do at night is expel more energy caring for a beautiful garden.  Our environments are different.

The connectedness of our world astounds me on a pretty regular basis.  It is astonishing how quickly information is passed and how global we have become.  It is my hope that congregations—while global in nature—never forget to be experts at knowing the zip codes in which they are planted.  I’m happy to tell you some wonderful stories about what God is up to in 43123.  But I’ll tell them to you with the hopes that you adapt them, modify them, and plant seeds that will grow in your zip code.  Don’t be like St. John’s.  St. John’s won’t work where you live—sometimes I wonder how it is working here.  Instead, be who Christ calls you to be where you live.  Plant the seeds of faith that will flourish in your environment.  And then unleash that fruit on the world.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Cheri Turner permalink
    13June2012 08:45

    How very true….

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