As I look out of the window into my garden I see a robin, several bluetits, two sparrows and a goldfinch all gorging themselves on the nuts and birdseed placed in the hanging bird feeders so temptingly filled to the brim for them.
Perched on the fence two blackbirds stare longingly, but are unable to partake in the merriment as they are not built to cling to netting as they chomp away, also side by side sit two pigeons that caw in admiration at the flexibility of the smaller birds. The containers aren’t fit for purpose for them. Very frustrating!
It hasn’t always been like this. The garden was very bare and basic, devoid of plants and wildlife when we moved in 9 years ago. The previous occupants avoided gardening like the plague and employed a handyman just to keep the lawns mown.
I love gardening. After moving in, one of my first tasks was to set about changing the landscape, digging & planting borders. I realised pretty quickly that you have to plant the right plants in order to attract the butterflies and bees. The first summer brought an array of colour and gradually the birds and wildlife arrived.
As I looked out of the window it got me thinking. I glean many lessons from my garden that I can apply to the church. CITC was very much like my garden when we arrived 9 years ago. Just plodding along with no real purpose to reach out into the community and embrace growth, nothing really happening to attract even the slightest interested observer. This year things have changed dramatically, as we see families searching for answers to the longing in their hearts.
In Church we preach the gospel and live out Jesus’ commands but I’m finding out more and more, mostly we do it using language that is totally alien to those who are searching. It’s all right having the right food but what containers are we using, how do we couch what the Bible says so everyone can understand?
More and more I’m encountering searchers who are just like those blackbirds. Longing to eat the food put out for them but unable to, because the words we use, like ‘are you saved?’ doesn’t mean anything to somebody who has never been to church in their life.
So, just as I’m going to have to buy an appropriate bird table or feeding container for the blackbirds to peck the seed easily. So we must think about changing the way we use language in church as we welcome and make new disciples.
Exciting, and challenging for all!