It occurred to me over coffee with a colleague last week that I am a church pollinator.
As a spiritual leader who oversees lots of congregations of varying sizes, contexts, and demographics, I get to be the one who travels from church to church carrying resources, ideas, and encouragement in interactions that nourish God’s people with the expectation that their ministries will flower and reproduce.
Some of the coolest creatures on earth get to be pollinators: birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, lizards, lemurs, and possums. And because of their critical (and natural) work, we get:
- fruits, vegetables, and nuts
- half of the world’s oils, fibers and raw materials
- healthier soil
This is the ecosystem in which the earth thrives.
Congregations have ecosystems too and pollinators are needed to grow fruits (of the Spirit) and spread God’s love. This metaphor is exciting because who doesn’t want to grow fruits and spread love?
What do we need to create church pollinators who will help the ecosystem flourish?
- Something needs to be blooming. If nothing at all is blooming, it’s hard to pollinate anything.
- We need water and the Spirit. We can’t see God’s plan without them.
- We need healthy soil. Are we really ready for pollination? Or are stuck and bored and blind and disinterested in being God’s people? Jesus said something about this.
- We need light and some of our congregations have actually chosen darkness: bullies are in control, basic kindness is rare, there is little evidence that anyone wants to love God or their neighbors as they love themselves.
Pollination is my favorite. It makes the world more beautiful and more nourishing, and it’s our critical and natural life purpose if we are living as we were created to live.