Plant, Water, Grow?

By Randy Brandt (2017)
Pastor, Learn

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

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