A Time To Plant
"For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to plant" (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3a)
When I was a teenager, several of my aunts and uncles lived on farms. Farming was their way of life. They raised cows, goats, pigs, and chickens. They planted citrus fruits, bananas, pumpkins, and yams. They understood and relied on the changing seasons for their livelihood.
Since moving to Woodbury, New Jersey my neighbor tends to a tomato garden in her backyard each year around mid-May. She plants tomato seeds and erects a wire fence to protect her garden from rabbits. She waters her garden, and checks on it frequently during the following months. I can see her garden from my kitchen window, and for many months I do not see any tomatoes. Finally, sometime late summer, I see her picking tomatoes from her garden.
God says, "For everything, there is a season . . . A time to plant, and a time" to reap what is planted (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3a). What season is Kemble Church in? As I try to discern the answer to this very important question, my intuition leads me to believe that Kemble Church is in the planting season. We are in the seed-time season.
We are seeding in our community garden:
1. A blended worship service each Sunday at 10:45 a.m. with the potential for a more contemporary service that is relevant to millennials and other younger generations.
2. Kemble's Kitchen Community Lunch that shares God's bounty with the hungry and homeless each month, for "As you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine," Jesus said, "you did for me" (Matthew 25:40).
3. Kemble's Kitchen Community Lunch Worship Services that touch the hearts and souls of our guests.
4. Kemble's Free Summer Music Camp that gets to the heart of our vision to make children and youth the face of Kemble church.
5. Bethel for Kids Children's Church every Sunday that invites children to come to Jesus.
6. Kemble's Fall Community Musical Showcase (free entertainment, free food, and free dessert) as we share Kemble's heart with the City of Woodbury.
7. Kemble's Winter Clothing Give-a-Way Drive in October 2017 that provided almost two tons of winter and all-season clothing for homeless and needy people of our community.
8. Investment in a marketing consultant to assist us in gaining visibility for our church.
Kemble Church is in the Seed-time Season
A little boy went to visit his grandparents who live on a farm in South Carolina. He was happy to spend the entire summer on the farm with his grandparents. When he arrived in June, the seeds were already in the ground.
Unfortunately, when he was leaving in August to return home, harvest time had not yet arrived. He was very disappointed that he would not be around for the harvest. The timing of his visit did not line-up with the farming seasons.
In 1 Corinthians 3:6 we read Paul "planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth" - the increase. Kemble Church has shown that we are on the path towards much growth.
Kemble Church is ripe for a season of great growth - a growth spurt even! One of the ingredients for great growth is the health of the soil. Our spiritual health as a congregation will determine our growth potential. God calls us to be on a spiritual path. Are we on that spiritual path?
Let us do our part and trust God who makes things grow. God, our Gardener, intends for Kemble to grow far beyond what we can think or imagine.