The Church is a Garden…Dig It!
When Paul wrote is second letter to Timothy, in summary, he instructed him in chapter 2 to be energized by grace and to transfer the things he learned from Paul to faithful men that will do the same (2 Tim 2:1-2). Don’t get distracted (2 Tim 2:3-4), don’t cut corners (2 Tim 2:5), and the result will be that you will be the first one blessed by the fruit of your labor, like a farmer. There is nothing sweeter than listening to brand-new baby Christians rejoice in the Word of God.
Christianity spreads very fast this way because with one person teaching multiple people who go on to teach multiple people again, this discipleship snowballs into a very mature church that knows Paul’s apostolic teaching, including Paul’s lesson to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim 4:5). It’s like a grace-driven machine that is as simple as it is competent. Like any machine, it runs smooth when it has all the right parts and plenty of fuel.
What is interesting is that once faithful men have been taught and sent out, Paul doesn’t tell Timothy to micromanage them along the way. Why? It’s because once they’ve been taught, they have knowledge. That’s how the machine works! Those disciples have all the parts necessary. All they need now is the grace of God. If Timothy’s disciples still needed his approval, then Timothy did a bad job.
When a Church is being micromanaged, every ministry, Bible study, outreach, or slightest policy has to be approved by Church leadership. But if Church leadership feels that people, left to themselves, will do a bad job, that only proves one thing. Church leadership is doing a bad job. Elders are called Overseers, not Overdoers. When every member is equipped to work hard in the field of Christ’s Church, we’ll have fruit spilling all over the place.
No church is without her problems. Sometimes sheep get into the wrong plants and shepherds have to lead them away from those. Sometimes sheep kick and need to be confronted in love, and sometimes wolves need to be driven out of the flock. That’s what shepherds do. But the whole church ought to be filled with the Word of God because everyone is pouring into everyone else.
Just like my fingers that pressed the keys needed to be carried by my hands, and my eyes that verified the words were correct needed to be supported by the head and neck, etc., almost my entire body had to work in harmony to accomplish the task of typing this blog. If churches are bodies, some of our bodies look more like bean bags. It isn’t always because they have a lack of knowledge, but they all have a lack of competency.
You may have come to our church from either a church that was micromanaged or a church that neglected discipleship altogether. This means that you either know what to do but lack the confidence to do it, or have no idea what to do and need to be shown how. In either case, you need to understand that ministry in this church is organic. It happens because people who love Jesus make it happen. The hope of your Elders is that we all would be competent workmen who can rightly divide the word of truth. (2 Tim 2:15). But we can’t do it alone and we’d be doing a bad job if we did.
So, get busy learning or get busy teaching. This is your garden. Dig it!