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Campfires & Church Planters
Written by Jared   
Monday, 24 September 2007
A couple of weeks ago my family and I went tent-camping for three nights. It was not only Adalia's first time, but it was Hylma's too! It was great. On the last night there, someone nearby came over asking for lighter fluid. Unfortunately for them, I had to explain that I didn't have any lighter fluid and had lit my fire "the old fashioned way." Knowing well how to build a fire combined with a lack rain, I didn't use more than a couple of matches throughout the entire 3 days.

During this trip, I contemplated what lessons could be learned from something as simple as a campfire. My friends, John White, Neil Cole, and Ben Cheek, all seem to be obsessed with lessons about the Kingdom and about the church observed in nature, and I'm proud to say that I've learned to share this obsession. These guys can't stop talking about viruses and agriculture and physics (okay, physics is just Ben). But it is largely fueled by the fact that Jesus seemed to have the same obsession as well. Jesus talks about farmers and mustard seeds and fishermen rather than the machines of His day. Paul explains things like "plant" and "water" and the church as a human body. Even Peter can't help but express that it is living stones that represent the individuals who make up the church. It all makes sense really. Authentic transformation of life is a growing process with the help of the Holy Spirit. So as I look at a campfire, there are some important lessons to learn from nature. Before the age of pre-soaked charcoal and lighter fluid, we had to actually build a fire. You have to collect tender -- small twigs, paper thin bark, etc. -- arrange sticks, and then finally add the logs arranged so that the fire spreads effectively. I've really been learning -- unfortunately through much trial and error -- that catalyzing church multiplication, we must begin with individual disicpleship. We can't expect churches to pop out disciples anymore than we expect to light a campfire starting with a log, but as we collect our twigs, bark, shavings, and sticks to receive our flame, we can expect disciple-making to result in churches.

All of this reinforces beginning small and having patience. We're not just throwing a pile together and splashing on some chemicals. I'm not sure I have all of this figured out yet or if I ever will, but it does seem that everything in nature takes us back to that mustard seed or to that farmer. It always begins on the smallest level and multiplies out from there. It often requires patience. It seems unavoidable that the mission of the God of creation would direct us along a such a path when encountering human souls.

Pray (passionately!!) for workers from this harvest. Pray that God will specifically place us into the lives of individuals who will embrace a life of discipleship. Everything begins there. That's certainly where Jesus began.
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