We moved into a new house a few month’s ago, and I’m just beginning to get into the garden. Now maybe it’s my age or my attitude but having just turned 26 I’m slowly getting into the whole gardening thing. It’s great getting outside for a bit of time, and being able to use your hands to make something beautiful, to grow something.
Give me until the end of this summer, and hopefully our garden will look a lot better, less of the wild garden that one of my neighbours commented on. Maybe in a year or two there will be more benefits – maybe even the odd bit of fruit and veg being produced!
The thing that interests me about gardening is that it requires prioritisation, knowledge and patience. As I’ve been reflecting on that I realised there are some big parallels with ministry:
- Prioritisation: our garden is a mess at the moment, there’s lots of weeds, and even some mini trees growing in places they shouldn’t, we don’t really have any grass on the back lawn, the shed is leaking, it’s all big and a bit wild. As I started in Tonbridge there were lots of big things to think about: leaders needed for different groups, the summer programme, the teaching programme, what schools we get involved in. Be it the garden or in ministry we don’t have enough time or resources so we have to priorities.
- Knowledge: to prioritise well we need knowledge. My gardening knowledge is very limited, so I grabbed Matt, one of the young guys from church who works as a landscape gardner to come round last week and give me suggestions of what I need to be doing. After five years of working in churches I’m getting a clearer picture of what works and what doesn’t but I’m always on the lookout for books to read, people to listen to, to find new resources, new ways of doing church.
- Patience: my garden will take months, probably years to look half-decent. That’s partly because I don’t have lots of time, but partly because we have to wait for things to grow and to develop. Again it’s the same in ministry – it’s not about making lots of sweeping changes, it’s about bit by bit ensuring that our youth ministry allows and encourages young people to have life changing encounters with God.
(photo courtesy of Boggy)