Family Matters Part 5: Planting and Watering

I like to garden. In the spring, I plant a few seeds like runner beans or Nasturtiums. I regularly check progress. I Plant, water, pot up, water, plant out, water, harvest, prune.
In his first letter to the early church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul wrote about growing the church, and he uses the analogy of planting and watering. He created or “planted” churches in different places and Corinth was one of those churches. He entrusts this baby church to Apollos and then goes to start others. But, the people in the church are having arguments about who they are loyal to. You can read this here.

The people have immature attitudes and create rivalries that are not there. But, Paul explains that both he and Apollos are both servants of God working together with a shared purpose, but doing the different Tasks that God has given them. He tells them twice that what they do is relatively unimportant, as it is God that gives the growth. They are co-workers not rivals.
In week 1, we were looking at our purpose – Love God, love people, grow together to become more like Jesus. In week 2, we looked at our mission. This is to Reach people and make followers of Jesus. We try to be a church that people who do not do church want to become part of. We want to provide all possible means for people to be able to hear experience and understand the reality of the love of God. We do this by making our services as accessible as possible. On the 3rd week of our series we worked together to live out our aim by blessing the community with a fun day. Then last week Simon talked about our vision to make disciples. To save those who are lost without Jesus. This is not a one-man job it is like people in an operating theatre all working together to save a life.

Growing the church is a team effort. Together Everyone Achieves More.
Each of us has a role in this process if we are followers of Jesus. We need to grow ourselves, become mature and bear fruit. We need to grow to be attractive flowers with life enhancing perfume. Otherwise we are in danger of growing up like thorns tearing and damaging others. If we are not praying we probably are not growing. If we are not reading our bibles, we probably are not growing. If we are not regularly worshipping at church we probably are not growing. If we are not serving…you get the picture. We all need to take responsibility for these things ourselves. 
Faith is caught not taught. Our enthusiasm will enthuse others.
As a church we provide many easy invites like the Funday, clusters, socials, the café, toddler group and lunch clubs. They are for you to invite others to. It is a way to prepare the ground. There is no religious content, they just get to experience the love of God expressed through kindness and service. Some people invited to the Fun Day enjoyed it so much that they accepted an invitation to go on to the next stage and went to Messy Church. This and other things we provide are ways of sowing seeds. Mostly fun, but they get to hear about the love of God as well as experience it.  
But nothing grows without watering. This involves all of us offering friendship, understanding and putting their needs before our own. Then we provide the next level. This is like potting up. It is an opportunity to grow in their faith through the Sunday worship services and maybe later Life Groups.
Invitation is important at all levels. Our job is to invite to just the right activity and be nice and express the love of Jesus towards them and maybe serve in some way. We may not all have the gifts and abilities we think we might need to be a part of this team, but we can all invite, we can all offer friendship and we can all pray. But remember it is God that brings the growth.
Growing the church is a team effort. Together Everyone Achieves More.

  1. Track your own journey of faith. Where are you? How did you get there? What or who started your journey?
  1. Can you identify the people who helped to grow your faith?
  1. Are you taking responsibility for your own growth? In what ways do you need to grow?
  1. If growing church is a team effort what part of the team are you? Is that OK or is there something else that God is asking you to do?
  1. Are you befriending, inviting, and putting the needs of the others before your own?
  1. Identify the next steps that you need to make as part of the team.


Steph Littlejohn, 23/07/2019