Russian scientists recently resurrected a 30,000 year-old plant from the Siberian permafrost. Using fruit tissues, the scientists revived the ancient seed and grew Silene stenophylla, the oldest plant ever regenerated (see a picture of the real plant, below).
Like a dormant seed, sometimes the potential for new life lies hidden, just beneath the surface.
For Christians, the potential for new life lies in their connection to Jesus, who said: “I am the vine you are the branches… stay connected to me.”
Jesus also recognized that the potential for new life is not always realized. The seed of the gospel can get clogged by the cares of the world, or poisoned by the toxins of sin, or snatched away by destructive demonic powers. Or the seed of new life can simply lie dormant, waiting for the right conditions to germinate the seed for the harvest that lies ahead.
At Redwood Covenant Church, there are many visible signs of life among students, Redwood Kids, men and women. And there are other, less visible life-signs. For instance, there are dozens of people being discipled. And there are many more who are saying yes to help form a “Community Group” in the fall.
What’s a Community Group?
Community Groups at Redwood Covenant Church will be groups of 20-40 people, meeting in homes for fellowship and outreach. Community Groups will be a place where fellowship happens over a meal, where people can experience Christian community, and where mission adventures will launch into neighborhoods.
Like an extended family on a mission together, Community groups will be an important way for people to find connection, have fun, grow together, and express God’s love to neighbors in practical ways. Community groups will be a way for people to follow in the footsteps of Jesus as the arms of Jesus.
Over the past few months, we’ve been working hard to prepare the soil for this growth, and now the seeds are germinating. People are growing as disciples. And they are inviting others to learn how to grow as a disciple of Jesus with them. Teams are forming to help and guide Community Groups. A vision for community/discipleship/mission is catching hold, and new life is germinating, behind the scenes.
Churches, like people, sometimes must undergo a season of pruning, and dormancy in preparation for new growth. I’ve seen this happen in my life, and now I’m seeing it happen in the church I serve.
When I’m in a dormant stage, God often calls me to trust and to exercise patience. And that’s what I’m doing–I am trusting God for his provision, plans, and providence. And I am exercising patience while the seeds of His new life germinate among God’s people.
And I am very encouraged. After all, if scientists can coax a 30,000 year-old seed to life, don’t you think God is more than able to coax His life in us for the harvest that lies ahead?