When we lose sight of the organic, living nature of the church we can also lose sight of the power of the seed. In our institutional frameworks, we have spent so much time developing the professionalism of the farmer that we fail to realize that the DNA and power is still the seed itself and that the seed, the word, is incredibly dynamic.
Here are three simple examples of this.
A friend of mine, recently hanging out with a family member, said “Can I tell you a story?” “Sure,” came the reply. My friend then recounted a simple story from the Bible and asked a couple of questions. A conversation ensued which ended in the family member saying, “This is really interesting. I would like to discuss this more.” Previously this person had insisted that he was not interested in spiritual things, but the power of the Word was prompting something in him.
In another instance, a friend of mine had several opportunities to discuss with a co-worker his enthusiasm for God’s word and how it had changed his life. Without saying much about it, this person went home and spent the next year reading through the Bible with his wife. He was not going to a church and he was not listening to TV teaching. But, sometime later he caught up with my friend and told him how his life had been changed! So much so, that he recently invited an acquaintance of his to begin doing the same thing. Two generations of spiritual transformation based solely on the power of the seed—the word of God.
Finally, we see movements throughout Africa, in our own work there, based primarily on the Discovery method of Bible Study. This means that even non-believers are given the opportunity to discover who God is simply by reading, or hearing Bible stories, that present the major truths of Scripture without commentary or external teaching. They discover together who God is by reading, listening, and asking one another questions about what they are gleaning about God, about humankind, and what it means to follow and obey the Word they read.
It is the seed that fell upon the good soil that brought forth thirty, sixty, and one hundred fold. If we do not have confidence in that seed, then we may invent all kinds of ways to try to bring forth fruit or manufacture life that is unnecessary at best and perhaps harmful at worst. Furthermore, there is something incredibly freeing and easy about trusting in the power of God’s seed.
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. Mark 4:26-28
At the very core of being the organic/living church that we really are is the trust that the seed itself does bring forth spiritual life dynamically and beautifully.