Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed sowed in a field that grows into a haven for all the birds of the air. It is a gospel image that has inspired me all my life. I grew up near Mineral, Virginia in a farm family inside a faith family called Kirk O’Cliff Presbyterian Church. In the arms of this tiny mustard seed congregation I awakened to the reality that I am a beloved child of God, and that I am in this world to love God and to love neighbor.
As a pastor, since 1990 I’ve been continuing to learn what all that means in another mustard seed congregation called Morton Presbyterian Church in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. While the Kirk and Morton are the congregations that I know and love best, there is a place in my heart for all mustard seed churches and those who serve in them.
Some of what I’ll be writing about in the Journal will focus on life and ministry in small churches, but most of it will apply to every congregation whatever its size. The questions that small churches need to ask are pretty much the same as those any church needs to ask. Shouldn’t every congregation be asking, “What is God doing in our midst, and what is God calling us to do?” Doesn’t every church need to be learning what dying and rising with Christ as a congregation means? As I explore the questions, what I find that is helpful I’ll pass along to you.
My study is in my home, which means that the tasks of ministry like writing sermons are interspersed with the tasks of homemaking like washing clothes. My husband John tends hearth with me and supports me with steadfast love and lots of grace. Our daughter, Laura, is a student at Guilford College, and she brings joy and music to the house when she comes home. My study is really the launch pad for all kinds of ideas and the work room for a diversity of projects. I have more interests than I am able to pursue with any degree of regularity. Reading is one biggie, and music is another. My piano rests silent too much of the time. Sewing and needlework await my attention. To keep my French alive I listen to CDs and practice in the car. Life is always busy and interesting.
God is up to something in the church around the world, and I don’t think that the word “reformation” is too strong a word for it. God is certainly up to something here, and I am trying to discover what that is. I hope that thoughts from here will encourage you as you discover what God is up to there, where you are.
P.S. Here’s the fine print: Please remember that the opinions published in The Mustard Seed Journal are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Morton Presbyterian Church or of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Thank you!