When I was pastoring I received junk-mail advertising miracle grow just about every week. I’m talking about the equivalent of get-rich-quick schemes to grow congregations. Buy this program or hire this consulting group and your pastoral worries will be over, the people will come, the money will come, and if you follow through on the program you’ll need to build a bigger building. It is as if prayer and the Holy Spirit and being on mission to bring others to Jesus, as opposed to attracting people to your church, were dead and gone…long gone.
When I was working in the vegetable garden yesterday I was reminded that working the soil counts for more than miracle grow – or sure, fertilizing and soil balancing have their place, but they have their place with the gardener who is focused on the soil and the plants for the long term; not the gardener who wants a quick miracle-grow fix. Getting a bang for the good old church buck with a miracle-grow program is not the same thing as growing people who learn to be sustained by the Word, the Holy Spirit, and fellowship with the Lord Jesus and with one another. Working the soil matters, caring for the plants matter – I know what happens when the plants in my garden aren’t cared for…do we know what happens when people aren’t cared for?