On Expecting Change from Small Interventions
It is true that planting seeds can and has been an effective ministry tool. As mentioned in a previous post, environment has much to do with this. Part of that environment is what I will call “networked seed-planting.” This is the idea that it is very unlikely that any one conversation, in isolation, will motivate a person toward meaningful change. However, with a common vision and informed strategy many people can have interactions with one individual which can help to propel toward change.
To unpack this a bit (and understand this is just taking out the shirts that need to be hung up) there certainly seems to be some disconnect with genuine relationship and seed-planting. Seed-planting must be done in the context of genuine relationship. In other words, relationship is the context for seed-planting… not the other way around. We befriend people simply because we want to be friends, yet not limiting ourselves to only being friends with people like ourselves. If our circle of friends is more diverse, so is the context for life-changing conversation. Understand that the other person is not the only one who will be experiencing the life change.
Picking up with the context of natural change (previous post), a person of influence may also be able to plant seeds in a different way. The weight of influence based around the respect that people carry between themselves (popularity, position, etc.) may allow some people to have more brief conversations that can influence positive change. The same words from a boss or professor have a very different impact than the words of a coworker or another student.
Finally, as any vegetable gardener knows, seeds are planted in groups to ensure that a plant will germinate. It is vital in this process that we do not assume that ours is the only conversation where spirituality has been discussed. Several small conversations can make a very viable impact.
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