Monday, September 29, 2008

Cart before the Horse

Future Pastor, back to your question about how often the Church of the Future would, or should, gather.

I believe this question is irrelevant, or at least too early at this point in our discussion. The inquiry is seems more concerned with function, not fruitfulness. We should first want to concern ourselves with what exactly are we wanting to create.

I planted a few apple trees in my back yard, about seven years ago, and every year at this time my daughter asks me when the apples are going to be ready. I shamefully tell her that yet again we don’t have apples to pick, to which she quickly asks, “How come?”

“It’s hard to say.”

“Be fruitful and multiply” was the original freedom given to us as human beings, and I believe that process is implicit in all living organisms. Everything around us is fitted with the ability, or at least the longing, to grow and leave behind a reproduction of itself. So when it comes to your desire for expanding the Church of The Future, do you have in mind what you want the fruit to look like? What you envision is what you will reproduce.

I know what good apples look like, but what shows up on my trees isn’t that. But if scrawny, infested or shriveled was the standard, then I would consider myself successful every year.

If qualities like attendance, giving, or volunteering are going to be used as the sign of good fruit, your approach will take on a certain method, looking much like the existing plan of the Church As We Know It. But if you want to see greater faith, more genuine love, and an empowered, hopeful demonstration, then worrying about how often you need to get together will take a back seat in lieu of leading and inspiring these ideals.

Future Pastor, we need to examine and see if the Current Orchard is producing the right type of fruit. Once we deal with that, we can start figuring out methods and procedures.

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