For over two years now we have been involved in the District Transformation Project. So I guess it is no surprise that many of the things I read immediately have application to where we have been living. Recently I read the following story that I wanted to share with all my friends.
“When I was a lad of five years,” James Michanec wrote, “the farmer who lived at the end of the lane had an aging apple tree that, at one time, had been very productive. However, it had lost its energy and the ability to bear any fruit at all. The farmer, on an early spring day, hammered eight long and rusty nails into the trunk of the tree. Four were driven in near the ground--north, south, east and west. The next four were hammered in higher up, well spaced around the trunk.”
“That autumn a miracle happened. The tired old tree, having been shocked back to life, produced a bumper crop of juicy, red apples—bigger and better than had been seen in that orchard before.”
“When asked how this had happened the farmer explained, ‘Hammering in the rusty nails gave the tree a jolt to remind it that its job was to produce apples.’”
“Will you do the same next year?” I asked.
“Well,” replied the farmer, “a substantial jolt lasts about ten years.”
In our DTP process, the consultation weekends are like driving long, rusty nails into the trunk of once-flourishing churches to remind them that their job is to produce more and more disciples for Jesus Christ.
Last night as I meditated on this story, the Holy Spirit whispered, “If you are going to have fruit, not only do you have to give a jolt to the old trees, you have to be planting new ones. As you revitalize the older part of the orchard, at the same time you must plan for the future by planting young trees."