Church-Planting Lesson 4 – Size Isn’t Everything

lettuce seedlingsWe had a surprise visit at our homegroup last night. A lady off the estate called Judith who is a good friend and has been since the inception of Hill City Church came to see how we were getting on. She hadn’t been to a homegroup for quite some time and was pleased to see that there were 20 odd people crammed into our living room (we’re going to 2 groups starting next week). Anyway, she reminded me of something that she had said to me during one of my more ‘glass-is-half-empty’ moments early last year.

When church was literally me, Michelle, our little girl and our hefty dog, I used to joke that unless we suffered a divorce or a bereavement our church could only grow! Several months later we had indeed grown to about 6 in our homegroup (only 2 of which were from the estate) and to be honest I was getting pretty vexed. I had a big vision and exciting dreams for Hill City Church and it just didn’t seem like we were getting anywhere. So as is my custom, I had a little rant: “What’s the point? Nothing’s happening! No one even knows we’re here! What’s going on?” Stuff like that! At that point, Judith started talking about lettuces! She went on to explain that she had recently planted a load of lettuce seedlings and was getting impatient for them to grow. She commented that earlier that day a few little shoots had just started to break through the soil and she was well excited. The phrase she used to draw a parallel between her lettuces and Hill City Church was:

“Well it might not be a lettuce…but it’s something!”

It was so profound. To be honest it still is! OK this wasn’t church as we’d envisioned it and we weren’t exactly in revival. But there was a tiny community of Christians who were committed to praying, worshipping and seeking God for salvation on the estate, and in God’s economy – that’s definitely something!

I was so encouraged by that simple thought!

As God started to add people to both our small church I started to love the fact that I could get to know them. I got to hear their hearts, share their dreams and enjoy the laughter and tears of family life that is only really possible in small groups like that. I soon realised that if a church of 30 people had just landed on my doorstep overnight I would have failed them as a Pastor as there was no way I could have got to know, let alone serve, so many people in a meaningful way. My relationship with them would have been superficial and awkward at best. As it is, however, I really know my flock and I love each one of them to bits. But that’s only because lettuces grow slowly! As Judith was leaving tonight she encouraged me with the words:

“Mate, it’s definitely a lettuce now!”

lettuceI completely agree. It really is a beautiful lettuce, but it wasn’t always a lettuce. In fact once it was simply a tiny little ‘something’. However, ‘something’ is better than nothing because ‘something’ can grow! I do wonder if Zecharia had been growing lettuces when he stated: “For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice…” (Zecharia 4v10)

I guess size isn’t everything after all!

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