While being struck by how slow everything has become with the birth of my new son, I am at the same time utterly struck by how fast my first son is growing up. I am struck by his becoming a truly unique individual, with his own life and world and experiences, experiences I already can't fully comprehend. It is a paradox, that when things slow down, they some how manage to speed up all at the same time.
Its like this in the church too. As i have gone around to talk with churches and hear about the various mission projects they are engaged in, one thing that has really struck me is the way great mission seems to come out of no where. I have heard it on numerous occasions, about how a congregation just happened to start some small project, and how before they knew it, it was bigger than anyone could imagine.
I believe this is the Holy Spirit at work, when a church is ready, the Spirit gets things really underway.
I have always loved the analogy of ministry and farming. I have heard that experienced farmers know its not the crops that they truly care for, rather its the soil, how their real job in many respects is preparing and caring for the soil. I think ministry is like this too. I have seen so many churches try to force programs into existence only to watch them fail, time and time again. But its this notion of preparation that is important.
This is an important aspect of being a slow church. Its important to develop things slowly, to build leaders and a committed volunteer core, to listen to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood, to get to know the neighbors well, to build relationships. And in a world where there is need at every turn, this can seem like a waste of time.
But when the slow preparation work has been done, and the trust has been built, its amazing how fast things can take off. The work of the church is not so much in the facilitation of programming, but rather in preparing the soil so that when the time is right, things just kind of take off.