still_emerging

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Church Planter's Parable

Once upon a time, as the Little Red Hen was scratching in a field, she found a grain of wheat.
"This wheat should be planted," she said.

"Who will plant this grain of wheat?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.

Soon the wheat grew to be tall and yellow.
"The wheat is ripe," said the Little Red Hen. "Who will cut the wheat?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.

When the wheat was cut, the Little Red Hen said, "Who will thresh the wheat?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.


When the wheat was threshed, the Little Red Hen said, "Who will take this wheat to the mill?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.

She took the wheat to the mill and had it ground into flour.
Then she said, "Who will make this flour into bread?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.

She made and baked the bread.
Then she said, "Who will eat this bread?"
"Oh! I will," said the Duck.
"And I will," said the Cat.
"And I will," said the Dog.
"No, No!" said the Little Red Hen. "I will do that."

And she did.


In the world of church planting there exists a model of starting churches innocuously named "adoption." By definition, this is when a governing body of a denomination accepts into membership a new church for the purpose of governance and accountability. In reality, it means that the denomination reaps all the benefits and assumes none of the hard work or risks involved in starting the church in the first place. Every time I've heard the story of yet another new plant being 'adopted' into our denomination, I find myself thinking of the above story of the Little Red Hen. Like the cat, duck, and dog we seem ever eager to eat the proverbial bread, but resistant to the idea that we might play an (in)vested role in seeing these new minstries planted, cut, threshed, ground and baked. For me, this model is less like adoption, and more like abduction.