A 3-YEAR-OLD, CURIOUS GEORGE, AND CHURCH PLANTING

This morning on the way to drop my 3-year-old daughter Claire off at day care we had a great conversation. While we have great conversations regularly, this time Claire was a source of wisdom and encouragement for me. She was pretty stinkin’ cute, too! I thought I would share this moment of greatness with you folks. Here’s how it all when down:

Claire: “Are we going to church on Sunday?”

Daddy: “Yep, we always go to church on Sunday. But pretty soon we’re going to start going to a new church.”

Claire: “Oh, where is the new church?”

Daddy: “Well, our family is going to make a new church, sweetie.”

Claire: “Oh, you mean like Curious George makes lemonade?”

Daddy: “Yes, dear, just like that.”

I smiled and began to chuckle to myself in the front seat when the truth and grace of what she said started to sink in.

I hope our church planting journey is a little bit like making lemonade. Not in the sense of the old cliche “when life gives you lemons make lemonade” though. I don’t see my job as having to make the best out of a tough situation and I certainly don’t think of the people coming along with us on the journey and supporting us as lemons. When I thought about Curious George making lemonade the idea of adventure came to mind.

George is always having fun trying to figure stuff out in the moment. In one episode of my little girl’s favorite cartoon, George thinks making a lemonade stand sounds like a good idea so he dives in to the process trying to figure it out as he goes along.

He knows what supplies he need to start with and works with what he’s got to get it right.

Once he gets everything together he decides he’s ready to go set up his lemonade stand and share it with the public. Once he gets all situated he waits…and waits…and waits some more. No one comes to his lemonade stand. I wonder if George had an existential crisis during this time. Imagine the thoughts in his little monkey brain;

“Maybe I wasn’t meant to make a lemonade stand.”

“Maybe there’s a better lemonade stand down the street.”

“Maybe I should have used pink lemonade instead. I think people probably like pink lemonade better these days.”

“What a waste of time this has been.”

“Doesn’t anybody like me?’

“What does it all mean?”

But before long, George overhears a conversation about a water truck that broke down on its way to a local construction site. It was an extremely hot day. Those workers must be thirsty.

George had an idea.

He packed up his lemonade supplies and took his lemonade stand to the thirsty construction workers. The workers were hot and thirsty and once they figured out what George was up to, a line began to form.

George didn’t seem to have enough lemonade at first but one of the construction workers shared some of his to make sure there was enough to go around.

So, yes. Claire, I think…no I hope that church planting can be a little bit like making lemonade.

I hope we aren’t so concerned about being right that we miss out on the opportunity to enjoy the process and learn something along the way.

I hope we remember what brought us here in the first place whenever we get discouraged.

I hope we remember that church is more than the place that we “set up shop” and that we are willing to be the church wherever we find ourselves, and wherever we see a need that we can help meet.

I hope we can remember that God works through other people as much as he works through us so we remain open the gifts that others have to offer.

I hope we learn to trust that God provides enough for all our needs.

I hope we can enjoy the adventure as much as a beautiful 3-year-old and her favorite cartoon monkey.

Alright, now I’m getting thirsty. Let’s make some lemonade.

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