Donna Hostetler, July 29, 2015
Driving through the farm lands of Ohio and Indiana this summer, I’ve considered the life of the farmer, as I have no experiential knowledge. The closest I’ve come to a farm was a summer when we were in college and my husband Jay was ringing pigs to make money—an occupation he did not feel called to consider!
There are hundreds of magnificent old and newer barns across our country. I’m fascinated by the rich history behind them as many have weathered years of use. I love to capture them in pictures. One of my visual observations of the farm is that many barns are large while the farmhouse is small, implying the priority of the farmer—work the fields, fill the barn, and rest in a cozy space at the end of the day.
As I view the vast corn fields, I can only imagine the huge tasks: the planting, tending, and reaping of the crops—all done with great passion. And the challenges; unpredictable weather, equipment failure, and potential lack of workers at harvest time.
Sound familiar? The scriptures contain over 100 references to planting, grain and wheat fields, and harvest. The correlations to ministry are many though the ministry is not often affected by weather. We can plant for “soul harvest” year round. Lack of workers? Oh yes! (The harvest is plenteous, the workers are few.) Jay and I love to discuss and recommend recruiting ideas with our clients as this is such a huge challenge in many churches. For children’s ministries the task can seem overwhelming at times.
In July and August, many church teams are planning what the next several month’s will hold: upcoming sermon series, fresh creativity in the worship venues, what classes to offer, events to plan, what Christmas will entail, etc. With renewed excitement, another ministry year begins and we anticipate the harvest.
As the farmer takes great joy in a successful crop, so do we as people respond to our ministry planting. With every bite of this summer’s sweet corn I want to remember that someone spent much time planting and harvesting.
At the brink of a new ministry year, the 2015 Fall crop is about to be planted. Many blessings as you pray, recruit, plant spiritual seeds, tend, and harvest a bumper crop!