Plant, Water, Grow?
Posted: April 25, 2017
By Randy Brandt
I have not experienced much success with gardens or house plants. Each spring I excitedly buy seedlings, plant them, and weeks later am disappointed to see thriving weeds and withering flowers and vegetable plants. Darn!
When I am best at gardening, it is when I nurture those seedlings with regular routines and what do you know, they flourish. Yes!
Faith is very much like a garden. Neglect results in some kind of withering of our life with God and others. On the other hand, I know from experience that an intentional nurturing of faith produces what Jesus calls "abundant life" (John 10:10).
I am now thinking I need to be part of a garden club – a support group for those without green thumbs. And maybe that is what Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran is for me: a "Faith-Garden" club support group for intentionally nurturing a healthy and vibrant faith.
In recent days I asked a number of SOTV “Faith Garden Club members,” both young and old, what especially nurtures them so that their faith flourishes. I was amazed at the variety of answers. Here is what I heard:
My Faith is Nurtured Through...
- Singing choral music with others
- Praying with my mom at night, and then by myself in bed
- Coming to church with friends who share the same faith
- Going through difficult medical challenges with God’s help
- Reading books that are faith inspiring
- Volunteering as a GodZone small group leader
- Visiting people in a retirement or nursing home
- Singing hymns in worship and listening to the choir
- Giving support to friends who are fighting cancer
- Going to Wapogasset Bible Camp
- Being part of my small group on Wednesdays
- Listening to inspiring faith stories of others
- Feeling God’s presence at a funeral of a family member
- Anything I do at church makes my faith feel stronger
How Does Our Faith-Garden Grow?
Do you walk through your days hoping by chance that there will be faith-building experiences? My life seems to quickly fill up with distractions, confirming that I need a “Faith-Garden Club” to support me. How about these for options through the life of Shepherd of the Valley:
- Worship services of music, prayer, preaching and the sacraments
- Faith nurturing children’s ministry, confirmation and high school programming
- Constant opportunities for adult learning, Bible study, small groups
- Mission and service trips, Bible camp, and retreats for people of all ages
- Weekly and monthly support groups that meet at SOTV
- Dozens of opportunities to serve and support others
- Countless hours of fellowship, coffee, conversation, prayer and encouragement
Join Me – The Holy Spirit has planted in us the gift of faith. So let’s nurture it and grow!
- Pastor Randy