Is your church more like a suffering plant or a thriving harvest?


  • What is your church’s mission? What is your specific reason for being in your community? Where did you get your mission? Who gave it to you?
  • What is your church’s vision for how it embodies that mission every day, week, month, and year? How does your church deliberately spend money, energy, and time helping all your people, members and non-members alike, to stick to that mission no matter what?
  • How are you doing at that mission? When have you accomplished the mission, in both small and big ways? When have you failed as you tried to accomplish it?

tomato plant with fruit pic 1

If you can answer these questions with actual tales from your congregation, you have a Focus for Missional Action.  And you know when you feel as though you are suffering with blight and when you are producing a thriving harvest.

Don’t worry: if you can’t answer these questions, it is not totally your fault. You have been part of Christendom too long, living in a society that expected people to join churches and do good things and get acquainted with God’s story in the grand sweep of history.  You have done much good work and helped many people and learned about Scripture and made life-long friends.  But today, people don’t automatically join churches and learn about Scripture and get acquainted with God’s story.  They are really busy and don’t know whether it’s worth their time, energy, and money to join a group that doesn’t have a very clear mission and vision for how to live it out. So if you are now suffering like a tomato with blight, it may not be your fault.

Look. Wouldn’t you rather have a thriving harvest? You need to pay attention to the mission God is calling you to, and you need to focus on that mission. You can thrive in that mission, because God will help you to do it. You just need to focus. We can help you with that.

Pat Taylor Ellison

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