Church Growth is Like Planting Flowers

HibiscusWe spent a lot of time in the flowerbed in front of our house over the weekend. We transplanted a few hedges into a new location and added a few hibiscus. My routine usually goes like this: I hit the plastic temporary pot a few times, slide the bush out, and the claw at the roots to break them up a bit and put it in the ground and water it.

After about the fourth hibiscus, something hit me. I was reminded of the church. Some churches are like the hibiscus in the temporary plastic pot, content with staying small, content with its roots being bound up in that little cheap pot. Not having a vision for anything greater. Plants aren’t meant to stay in those little pots…they are meant to be transplanted into bigger pots or even into your yard where the roots can spread and grow.

Transplanting a plant can be traumatic but it is necessary because in the little pot, a plant will only grow so large, but in the ground plants can grow much larger. Healthy growth requires tearing. It requires breaking. It requires disturbing the soil a bit. Instead of capturing a view of the church that is broad and big and expansive, I am afraid much kingdom growth is missed out of an avoidance of the pain that comes from being removed from the pot and placed in the ground, the very place God has called us to be. So let us trust in God. Let us take chances. Let us not be afraid of failure but be filled with the assurance that comes out of a life that is partnering with God to bring growth to the kingdom.

31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.
32 
Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree,
so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” – Matt 13:31-32

About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

6 Responses to Church Growth is Like Planting Flowers

  1. kip says:

    So some plants are afraid of transplanting themselves, or you’re God, deciding which plants deserve to grow? Typical Christian air of superiority. I’m not trying to be snarky or anything, but that’s how you people come across to the rest of the world.

    • mattdabbs says:

      Kip,

      I am afraid you are reading things into my post that either aren’t there or maybe I didn’t communicate it clearly enough. Some churches maintain an unhealthy level of insulation from the very world we are called to reach out to. I am not in the business of deciding who grows and who doesn’t. I am describing what I have seen out there. Nothing more. Sorry you took it that way. You know what is more, I have been guilty of it myself. This is not me looking down my nose at anyone with superiority like I have it all together. I have done this enough myself that I know it well when I see it. Sorry if I communicated that poorly. That is the problem with analogy and parable…they can be directed and interpreted in many ways that was not the original intention. I hope that makes sense. By the way, snarky is fine.

      Thanks for leaving your comment and expressing your opinion. I appreciate it.

  2. Matt
    It was Kip who came across as judgemental, not you. You described what has to happen for growth to occur, whether it is in a church or in an individual. (S)He made a broad generalization about Christians and a judgement: “Typical air of Christian superiority.” This person has already lumped all Christian spokesmen together and said they have an air of superiority as the reason for not considering what you say. Is this the sort of person of whom Jesus spoke as He said to wipe the dust off your feet? Don’t take seriously this comment from a person who obviously has little interest in discussion that could possibly lead to mutual understanding and potential change of perception.

  3. Mark says:

    Companies don’t grow without investment and risk-taking coupled with innovating. What makes anyone think that church growth could be much different in that respect? Fear of risk taking halts growth. Given enough time the laws of nature take over and will “clean house.”

    • mattdabbs says:

      When I read Acts, I can’t help but see all the risks those guys took. They could have just sat in Jerusalem but instead, they took Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8 seriously. Seems like we need to do the same. Jesus was clear – go out and change the world. Bring people to faith in Christ. Baptize those who respond. Teach people the message of Christ and help them be obedient to it. He made all this very clear. Will we do it?!? Yes we will!

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