The other in my office produced a total of two flowers in the 12 years it was there. I tried different amount of light, and heat, and sun, but nothing seemed to make it happy.
Fast forward to our second summer in Atkinson, and the plant in my office produced five flowers in May. What is the difference? I have lots of theories, but no answers, and the epiphylium isn’t talking.
You may or may not be surprised to know that this plant has me thinking about church. We are always seeking growth in church: spiritual growth, numerical growth, financial growth, growth in discipleship and mission and service and vitality. But as my epiphyliums remind me, we don’t always (or even often) know what the right conditions for growth may be. Oh, we have Jesus as our servant-leader, and the Bible as our guide, the Holy Spirit walking with us, but the right amount of sun and heat and soil ph for 21st century church growth are not as clear. One thing is sure – doing nothing, or doing the same thing forever without adjustment and expecting things to flourish, is not likely to work. Not everything we try will work either. Tom Erich, a church vitality consultant, once said at a seminar I arranged that church leadership (pastors and lay leaders) should try 8-10 new things a year – and expect half of them to fail.
We are in the midst of a new chapter in the life of our church. It will mean change, and trying new things, and watching some succeed while others do not. If your roots are set too deep the change may be uncomfortable. But being root bound is no way to grow.
So, I invite you to be a change agent – or at least a supporter of it. Watch how the Holy Spirit will move among us and our neighbors as we work to make The Light on the Hill shine ever more brightly over our community!