green manicured lawnLast year we bought a house on a short sale.  It took 8 months from the time we looked at it until it actually became ours.  During those 8 months the sprinklers on the back lawn were turned off – including a hot Sacramento summer.  The beautiful green lawn we saw when we toured the house had become a patch of tall dead weeds.  I spent my Saturday morning laying sod in place of the weeds.  If you’ve never done it, you need to know there is nothing like the instant gratification of sod.  As I was looking out the window at the new green lawn today I started thinking, “What if you could plant a new church in a day?”  Here’s how…

Uproot and throw away everything already there.
The first step of laying sod is to get rid of anything that’s already there – even if some of it is green grass.  A deadly and violent combination of chemicals, tilling and raking left nothing but dirt.  Planting a church in a day will require the same kind of disregard for anything that has come before.  The existing churches, people and leaders God has used to grow his kingdom in the past are just in the way.  They must be removed, or at least ignored, so they don’t get in the way of the new thing you are starting.

Create a flawless environment.
Once the old was gone, I focused on raking and rolling until the dirt was smooth and shaped exactly like I wanted the new lawn to appear.  Planting a church in a day will require the same kind of attention to appearance.  Everything from the website, to the lobby, to the kid’s space and the music must be perfect.

Bring in what someone else grew.
Now comes the penultimate step in laying sod – the grass itself.  Of course the whole point of sod is that I didn’t grow it.  I bought it at a local warehouse store because, honestly, I don’t have any idea how to actually grow a lawn and besides, it takes way to long.  Of course, if you’re going to plant a church in a day, there is no way to build relationships, or serve others, loving them and leading them in to life-changing relationships with Jesus, so people must be transplanted into the flawless environment you’ve created.

Admire what you’ve done.
Of course, the best part of laying sod is kicking back on the patio, cold beverage in hand, smiling at your buddies as you point and say, “Look what we did!”

Lord, forgive us…

  • For failing to honor the people of the past and the work your Holy Spirit has already done in the people and places you have called us to reach.
  • For thinking we could create environments so attractive they would do in people hearts and lives what only you can do by the abundance of your grace, the truth of your word and the power of your Spirit.
  • For transplanting people someone else discipled and calling it growth.
  • For seeing what only you could do and thinking we did.