Student Work is a Garden

Relaunching student work in person hasn’t been easy. Most churches are starting this year with far fewer students than before the first lockdown. Two year groups have graduated and it’s been hard to connect with new freshers. During this time, so much has happened to how students engage with church. Do they watch online? Are they connecting with their home church (if they have one)? Have other commitments and priorities taken over the diary?

In terms of their discipleship, things have fallen by the wayside. Disciplines and habits have been lost and others have been adopted. It’s a very different landscape. 

There is a temptation to want to hit “Reinstall Student Work” and just start again. But this just isn’t going to work. We are not computers! 

The Bible talks about us and the ministries we grow using the language of gardening. Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Jesus also said that the Kingdom of God is “like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” (Luke 13:19) 

The student work in your church is a garden, not a programme. It needs nurturing and weeding, training and feeding. It will go through seasons and weather differing external conditions. 

What has blown in on the winds of culture that needs to be weeding out? What needs to be watered or moved to a different area so it can have more sun? Do you need add some trellising to strengthen certain things that will thrive if supported? Do you need to be patient clear a whole section of the garden out? Does your student work need redesigning? Do you need more nutrients in the soil? 

If you are following this far with the analogy, ask yourself which season you are in? Summer is a season of warmth and much fruit. Autumn is season of death and beauty. Winter is a season of hidden growth. Spring is a season of new hope. Which season is your student work in? 

Resist the temptation to want to reinstall your student work and see it as a garden. 

You can listen to Luke's talk on the Garden of the Soul here. 

Luke Smith

Fusion Team Leader

Luke has worked with students in church for 20 years. He loves helping churches figure out how to reach students. He leads the Fusion team to keep them sharp and focused as they serve the local church.

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