By Anne Bosarge
I’m not much of a gardener. I don’t know what to plant or when to plant it; how much water and care something needs or the best techniques to get a good yield on my crops. However, I have a neighbor who lives behind me who is a great gardener. Dr. Douglas always seems to be able to sense when it’s time to plant each spring. He has favorite varieties of tomatoes and squash that produce far more than they are able to eat, and I do my part by receiving produce across the back fence. I have the desire to plant, but I don’t have the knowledge and training I need to do it.
Jesus actually has a lot to say about planting. In Mark 4 He talks about planting and gives us some advice about the best soil in which to plant. “The farmer is like a person who plants God’s message in people” (Mark 4:14). Notice that Jesus isn’t just talking to priests and religious leaders here. He is talking to everyday people like you and me - laity! If this kind of planting interests you but you feel ill-equipped to do this work of planting Gospel seeds in people’s lives, you have an opportunity to explore what Jesus says about planting and be equipped to live out the commission Jesus gave each of us to go and make disciples of all nations!
Here in South Georgia, we are seizing the opportunity to start new things for new people in new places. We are seeing a resurgence of grassroots efforts among our laity to dive deeply into disciple-making using new models for church planting like home churches, fresh expressions and more. Can you imagine what it will be like in a few years when laity across the conference will be engaged in leading discipleship efforts across the conference? These discipleship groups and home churches will be able to meet in all kinds of places, made up of all kinds of people.
Coming up on July 22, we will have an informational zoom session to find out more about an online Lay Planter’s Course we will be offering this Fall to interested laity. Coming to the meeting doesn’t commit you to the course; it’s an opportunity to hear more about it. Then soon after, we will open the online Zoom course for those who wish to learn how to become planters. Between August 14 and October 16, participants will have the chance to grow in their leadership and prepare themselves to be effective gardeners of God’s people, planting new things across the conference. The course includes sessions on: