Growing up, my family used to go to an apple orchard each year where we would hand pick apples my mom would eventually turn into all things apple dessert: cobblers, crisps, pies, and struedles (excuse me, I just drooled on my keyboard). We would walk down dozens of rows of apple trees, eyeing and selecting the perfect apples to take home with us.

Speaking of places where trees grow, I’ve also been to a tree nursery. You can walk down the aisles, spot a tree or shrub you like, and take it home that day.

The spiritual growth that happens in your life through your local church has a lot to do with whether you view your church as an orchard or a nursery. Let me explain…

Too many people view church like a nursery.

A tree nursery is a place where trees are growing in planters or with purposely shallow root systems. They’re watered and fed to make sure they stay living and healthy, but the goal is to keep them healthy till they head to the next location.

We need to view church more like an orchard.

Orchards are completely different than nurseries. Orchards have the long game in view. Orchards are organized, maintained, and grown with the goal of developing deeply rooted trees that produce fruit for the life of the tree.

The Psalmist seemed to have the orchard in mind when we wrote Psalm 92…

But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.

For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God.

Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.

They will declare, “The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!”

Psalm 92:12–15 (NLT)

When we view our local churches as nurseries, we won’t get deeply rooted and we’ll rarely mature enough to produce fruit through our lives. The nursery is temporary. The moment things get tough or conflict arises, we skip over to the next nursery while constantly wondering why we don’t seem to be growing much.

When we view our churches as orchards, however, we get planted. We put roots down and become contributing members of the church. We weather storms and work through conflict. God uses that maturity to begin producing fruit in and through our lives that is a blessing to many others.

Don’t settle for a nursery. Find an orchard, put your roots down, and let’s GROW!

  K E V I N • M I L L E R

Feel free to  to pass this on to someone who could use some encouragement!

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