Season for Planting – 35,000 Seeds
My grandmother always kept a huge garden, even after moving off the East Texas farm and into the city of Dallas. She would plant as many rows of cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, beans, eggplant, squash, and onions as she could squeeze into the small backyard of a city home. Her front yard was filled with carefully tended rose bushes and flowerbeds. She had a deep love for both the beauty and practicality of gardening. I learned from my grandmother about the important work of planting and tending seeds when caring for a garden. There are weeks and sometimes months of activity that take place below the surface, unforeseen to the everyday gaze, that are vital to the sprouting, growth, and fruition of gardens. The soil must be enriched and developed, the seeds must put down roots, and sprouts ever so slowly work their way to the surface.
These first four months for me at FUMC Decatur have been a season of cultivating soil and planting seeds for what we hope will sprout into a vibrant, growing, and fruit-producing New Faith Community. The Church has been in this season of planting even longer than I have — years ago the vision was cast that First Methodist would be a place for new people to experience the good news of God’s love and a place for future generations to build one another up in love. Part of that vision entailed the building of the Methodist Activity Center (MAC) that would be a safe space for our youth and an inviting place for new people to gather together in worship. Part of that vision entailed reaching out to a growing population of people who live in Decatur and Wise County who have no faith community to call home, no church to surround their children with love, and no people to embody the love of God in their times of deepest grief.
In the 2010 Census, 59% of the population in Wise County claimed no religious affiliation — that’s nearly 35,000 people without a church home, no community of faith to surround them in love. 35,000 people right outside our doors whom God deeply loves and to whom God has called us to embody that love.
These past few months, it has been my great privilege and joy to jump into this season of planting that First Decatur began long before I arrived. I have begun putting down roots in this community, cultivating the soil that will support the sprouting and growth of this New Faith Community for years to come, and keeping a close watch on the seeds God has planted in the hearts of individuals called to be a part of this new adventure. I invite you to pray with me for the work the Master Gardener began long before any of us arrived, pray for the people in whose hearts the seeds of God are budding, and pray that God might work in and through each one of us to be faithful laborers in the fields to which God has called us. 35,000 seeds have already been planted – even in our small little backyard.