Religion Magazine

Enjoying the Mess

By Richardl @richardlittleda

When I was inducted to the role of minister at Newbury Baptist Church on October 1st, the children and young people of the church presented me with an olive tree. It was arguably one of the most sacred and solemn moments of the entire service. You can read more about it here.

I am pleased to report that the tree with which I was presented is alive and well. Not only that, but it is growing (a small miracle, given my horticultural abilities).

Enjoying the mess

However, if you compare the pictures of the day when it was presented with the way it is now - it is a dreadful mess:

It has lost its neat round shape and there are branches sticking out in all directions. Isn't that the way churches should grow, though? A church is a glorious collection of flawed people in the process of transformation. As they are transformed, both individually and together - so the growth comes. It comes in dramatic bursts and tiny steps. Some of it is plain for all to see, and other elements are seen only by the few. It comes, though - as one plants, another waters, and God gives the increase.

I find the responsibility of tending both this plant and the church which it represents to be a huge and breath-taking responsibility. However, I do not carry it alone. In the end, it is the one who put the tree inside the olive who puts the growth into the church.

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