On Planting Gardens and Planting Churches

This is the time of year to plant a garden if you live in zone 9 like we do. It feels like spring and it’s time to look ahead and plan for what’s to come. You want cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce? Plant now and prepare.

But we aren’t planting a garden this year. The above ground garden boxes in the backyard are full of last year’s weeds and a brown, dry eggplant vine. You plant a garden when you know you’ll be there to enjoy what it produces. And we don’t know what the coming months hold for our family.

We’ve spent the last two years church planting. Much like gardening, there’s a lot of work to do to see the fruit of your labor. Planning, planting, weeding, nurturing, watering—all the ingredients come together to produce. But sometimes they don’t come together. For tomato plants and church plants.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 1 Cor. 3:6

We have planted. Others have joined us in the watering. And we are now waiting on God to give the growth. Or not give the growth.

Our family knows very acutely that God doesn’t always give us what we pray for. That His ways are higher than ours (Isa. 55:9). That good and perfect gifts from above can come in packages of heartbreak and disappointment (James 1:17). Knowing all things work together for the good of those who love him doesn’t mean we enjoy the suffering we endure even as we trust in him (Rom. 8:28).

So here’s where we are with our church plant—the one we moved across the country to start, the one that would serve the fastest growing suburb of Houston, the one that would welcome families impacted by disability from day 1.

We are praying.

It’s exactly what we were doing two years ago as the idea and plans came together for us to move here, to join with a supporting church, and spread the gospel on the side of town where God placed us.

We are waiting.

We are waiting to see what God will do. We can’t wait indefinitely. Church plants are supported by friends, other churches, and denominations. Those supporters need to see results as they provide the funds. And at some point, the results they are seeing may not be worth the funding they are providing. We are close to that point.

In both garden planting and church planting we’re called to be faithful.

Not successful. Not powerful. Not impressive. Not independent. Just faithful. That’s all we can control anyway.

You could plant a beautiful garden in March and an April hail storm could damage the plants to the point they never grow, never produce. And you could plant a church with all the right ingredients and it may never grow, never produce. But you are still found faithful.

Pray for us if you can. Pray for our hearts and our words. For our endurance and our love. For hope. For our future. Thank you.

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. Hebrews 10:39

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