Dividing to Multiply Beauty
Last Spring Emma and I bought a bank-owned property “as-is.” Those two words, “as is” must have been very important to our bank because they made us sign about 15 separate “as is” documents. After “as is” document #10, we got a little nervous about what was waiting for us.
The landscaping was “as is,” that’s for sure. My girls were brimming with ideas. But when they got to the flowerbeds, well, let’s just say the flower beds were suffering from perennial neglect. Emma put out the word, and two friends who love beauty and who love to grow things said they would love to loan us their green thumbs and help. For them help meant making a mess. They called it “dividing,” though digging seemed a more apt description. Gardeners reading this know that these friends were practicing “tough love” – providing space for cramped roots to grow.
It was a lot of work. Theydug them up, moved them to the spot we busted in the sod with a sod buster and a temperamental tiller, and dug them in. It also looked painful. Throughout the process, the plants drooped. I’ve heard you should talk to plants, but if plants talked back, I am almost certain I heard these say, “Why did you do this? We loved it where we were!” One of Emma’s friends assured us, “It will take a little time, but they will do wonderfully here.”
On October 6, Calvary got to see first-hand what it is like to multiply by dividing, as a half dozen Calvary families were transplanted to a freshly cultivated setting downtown. I know the words “dividing” or “splitting” are bad words when it comes to churches. Who wants to be a part of a church that splits? Well, we do, if the reason for splitting is to spread beauty to another location for the enjoyment of other people. The difference is in the purpose.
Some people look at their church and say, “It’s beautiful, let’s enjoy it!” Others see the same church and say, “It’s beautiful, let’s share it!” Again, the difference is in purpose. As with our plants, dividing or splitting is a lot of work. The Gathering Church flows out of almost a year of prayer and planning and training within its core. In the case of several core families, they have literally had to uproot from another location to plant themselves in Rochester. And we should not be surprised if we see a little drooping. In time as we stay the course, God will restore the roots, helping them to flourish and giving us room to grow, too!