Thursday, October 02, 2008

Apples to Apples...

I read this today on TheOoze:

Someone once pointed out to me that the goal of an apple tree is not to produce more apples. It's to produce more apple trees. This is the organic purpose found in nature, and it's the organic purpose of the Body of Christ as well.

When an apple tree produces apples that's important. You can't really be an apple tree and not produce apples, of course. But if everything ended there the apple tree would not have achieved the purpose for which God designed it. The apple tree must produce more apple trees in order to realize its full potential. Otherwise, when that tree dies, so does the potential for creating more apples.

In the context of the Christian church I see too many pastors and church leaders who are terrified of taking their brightest and most talented and releasing them into the world. They feel that losing those gifted, intelligent, talented individuals will somehow make their church poorer and weaker. So they expend a whole lot of energy trying to keep those people busy and connected and plugged in to what they are doing instead of encouraging them to discover their gifting and calling and releasing them to go and to do whatever it is that God has created them for.

A church that practiced encouraging growth like this would be responsible for spawning ministries and providing good fruit for the community on an exponential level. It would also be living out the command of Scripture to seek the good of others around us rather than selfishly seeking our own good. (Philippians 2:3)

Usually the only way someone with talent and vision ever leaves one church to start another is when they leave under protest and start something all by themselves. Why? Because most pastors will tell you that they are not ready to start planting a church until they reach 500 members. The problem with that is when you realize that the average church in America is only about 250 to 300 people. Most never reach the 500 mark, and honestly when they do reach that milestone few of those churches ever actually plant another church because they have not planned to do so.

SOooo... this makes me stop and think and believe for all of the "orchard possibilities" in my life, and where God may "plant" me in the future.

Somehow, the room just got a little brighter. It's called HOPE.


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