Happy New Year! I’m guessing that you didn’t wake up thinking about our church but this is going to be an amazing year for you and me and everyone who is part of Christ Community. I want you to imagine a year where we’re excited about what God is doing. I want you to imagine a year where more and more people follow Jesus together as part of this family we know as Christ Community Church. And I want you to imagine the part that you and I have in seeing all of that happen. I want you to imagine a year of optimistic farming
Farming Not Hunting
I’m an Air Force brat who has spent his entire life in a suburban context. I am not a farmer; in fact, when I was a kid and we planted seeds in little cups in the hope that it would become a carrot…I got nothing. I am also not a hunter. I have never shot a rifle or used a compact bow to try and kill anything. Check that - I had a pellet gun in sixth grade and helped thin the squirrel population in Montgomery, Alabama!
But when I listened to a mentor of mine say that the way we build relationships is by farming rather than hunting, I got it. In church world, we hunt when we try to get people involved in church stuff too quickly. We tell people about Jesus without cultivating a relationship or we invite them to a church event randomly; and maybe they say a prayer or show up once or twice but they don’t stick around.
Maybe that’s because God made us farmers rather than hunters. He created us with a natural instinct for deepening relationships and sent us out to bless people because we are people whom He has blessed (Genesis 11). When we talk about how we BLESS* people, we’re talking about our life together as a farming community. We farm when we care deeply about each other, not just what we can get from each other.
And from where I’m sitting, the biggest obstacle to our success is a lack of optimism. When we run into hurdles that keep us from helping each other follow Jesus - everyone is busy, we don’t have enough money, we’re all a bunch of introverts, we have tons of people who move away every year - those are excuses that we run to because we’re afraid that we might fail.
Can we agree to something this year? No excuses. Not in our personal lives and not in our life together as a church. Time and money are excuses for things we simply aren’t getting done. There are going to be rocks in the field that make farming difficult. Always. But because God promises to build his church (Matthew 16:18) and advance his kingdom and make all things new (Revelation 21:5), we’ve got this.
Believing that we can be who we want to be will get us where we want to go as we do the hard relational work of farming. Trusting in the God who saved us and has bound us together will see us through the ups and downs of what promises to be a great year.
2015 - The Year of the Optimistic Farmer
Think about the people God has put around you. How are you going to BLESS* one of those people this week? I would love for you to help us learn to be farmers by sharing the details - maybe leave out names - in the comment section below.
* BLESS is the way we love other people:
- B - Begin by praying for them
- L - Listen to them through intentional conversations
- E - Eat with them; share a meal or grab coffee
- S - Serve based on their need and/or your work
- S - Share God's story