There seems to be need for clarification on my last post. My "gardening" story was excerpted from a training piece I produced for my youth volunteers a few years ago. I failed to realize that removing it from it's original context changed the reaction that some had to it.
Several comments on this blog centered around the idea that the farmer with a big field should go hire more help. If you're going to have a big garden, you're going to need lots of helpers (i.e. if you've got more kids in youth group than you know what to do with, get more people to disciple them). I agree. And as one commenter implied, it's really not all that radical of an idea. Good stuff.
However, that wasn't why I originally used the story in my training piece. The comments caught me off guard. I had originally used this story smack dab in the middle of a discussion of fruit (see Measuring Real Success). Basically, the story was designed to spark discussion about the QUALITY of fruit we see in our kids in relation to how thin we youth workers seem to spread ourselves. In the context of my string of posts, the discussion understandably went the QUANTITY route (an equally good discussion).
But I'm curious about the discussion this will generate. Assume:
- YOUR FARM IS TOO BIG (i.e. You've got more teens than you can feasibly disciple).
- THERE ARE NO HELPERS (i.e. You've tried to recruit adult disciplers but are unsuccessful - for whatever reason).
A) Put priority/energy in only the plants that will be most fruitful, knowing some plants will die.
B) Put equal priority in all plants, knowing that the quality of fruit will likely be lower for all the plants.
This is real. It's something we all struggle with. In youth ministry there's always more good to be done than time to do it!