This is a story you might not be fully aware of. Back in April, this was the Farm Church garden…
Looks like a big ol’ lawn, doesn’t it? It does and it is, but what you can’t quite see in this photo is that there is almost no topsoil. Underneath the grass is a giant sheet of red clay that’d been baking in the hot North Carolina sun for years and years. In fact, when we tried to till this soil with some pretty powerful tillers, the clay said, “No, I don’t think so.”
Here’s Allen wrestling with this beast of a tiller, and while some of the grass is getting pulled, the clay is sharply and quite effectively rebuking his efforts. My tiller is in the background, idle because quite frankly, I needed a breather. Cutting into hard-packed, sun-baked clay was an experience our muscles remembered sorely for days.
Then we made one of our better decisions. We hired this guy:
We’re so grateful for Dave and his little but mighty tractor. In just a couple of days, he got our garden beds broken up to the point where we could get started.
We have 24 beds, each 4 feet x 25 feet. (so 2,400 total square feet of tillage) Here they are topped with a little finished compost…
Months and months ago, we began to cultivate this dream of a church that meets on a farm and leverages all of the resources of that farm to address food insecurity. And while we’re not there yet (we meet on a different farm in Durham and this farm still has a way to go) it is so utterly thrilling to see this dream become a reality. Each bed cut, each weed pulled, each shovel-full turned… It’s way more than a lawn becoming a garden – it’s truly a dream coming to life.
And then this happened…
People! Farm Church people! They came, they tilled, they dug, weeded, talked, laughed, prayed, turn compost…
It’s been happening every week, and this has been the joy of Farm Church – that we are becoming a place where people sense God’s direction in the deliberate cultivation of soil, the gradual transformation of land, and the miracles of growth and life we see each week in the garden and in each other.
To all of you who’ve been in tune with our journey these past few months, once again thank you. I hope that one of these days you can sink a trowel into the soil with us and plant a few seeds. But even if that never happens, I want you to know that you are a part of Farm Church. Thank you for your prayers, for your support, and for your belief that this new way of being church is even possible in the first place. From all of us at Farm Church, we’re so, so grateful.
Grace and Peace,
A micro-risk is an easy to try, fun to play with, ok-if-you-fail small risk that, when combined with other micro-risks over time, nurtures a culture of faithful, strategic risk-taking - the kind of culture we need in our churches. You'll find a few here, (here, here, and here), but if you're hungry for more, you can check out my Micro-Risk Playbook here.