September 20, 2017

Growth Through Grafting

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In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus talks about sowing the Word of God. How can church leaders best do this in the context of their congregation?

On this week’s Whiteboard Wednesday, Mike Gafa, Luminex Coordinator, talks with us about something called growth through grafting.

This idea is based on Jesus’ Parable of the Sower. In this parable, the seed represents the Word of God. This seed falls on different types of soil, different types of people. Now, instead of discussing this on a personal level, Mike brings it to the congregational level. He asks the question, “How can we best sow this Word of God in our churches?”

This can be illustrated with orange trees. There are two ways to grow orange trees. One is through a single seed, which, if planted in good soil and taken care of regularly, will go through around seven years of “juvenility” before bearing fruit.

The second way to grow orange trees is through a process called “grafting.” This is where branches of an orange tree are fused into the rootstock of another tree. In this way, trees produce fruit much faster than single seed trees. Typically within a year, and, unlike single seed trees, the fruit of a grafted tree is virtually identical to the parent tree.

In the same way, there are two ways that churches can train and grow disciples. The single seed approach would be to assume that as people come to church every Sunday, they will continually grow in their vitality and spirituality. But with that approach, there is a long season of juvenility and unpredictable fruitfulness.

The better approach is to use grafting. This approach involves being intentional to graft visitors, regular attenders, and new members into the life of the church – the ministries, programs, small groups, and fellowship. It’s not about them assimilating to the church, but of the church changing together to become a cohesive whole – good soil bearing much fruit. With a grafting approach, people will be much quicker to grow in their discipleship and bear fruit, which is, after all, the goal for every Christian.

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