Community Garden Ministry: Any Fruit in the Garden?

Do you have a green thumb? Not everyone does. I actually killed an aloe plant once. (Yes, really.) I placed it on a windowsill behind a set of blinds facing a dark garage. Then, I forgot it existed. It was beyond hope when I found it again. I realized then that avoiding maintenance for a month only to douse it superfluously in a day wasn’t going to resurrect anything.

Time Worth the Effort

The fact is growing a garden, a friendship, a prayer life, or even a Christlike mind-set takes daily tending. It is a purposeful activity to grow. When seeking to reach others for Christ, we need to make a few plans ahead of time. If we are willing to be creative for the sake of the gospel, God will supply the resources.

Green thumb or not, anyone can find ways to minister through community gardens. Do you have such places where you live? It’s easy to find out. A quick search on the Internet may surprise you. Often, you will find information about renting plots as well as whom to contact as the site coordinator. If there are waiting lists in your area to lease a plot, consider starting a community garden by yourself or with a group.

Plans with Purpose

Could your family plant a small garden in your yard with the plan to share the crops with neighbors? Do you have any neighbors interested in helping? What about your church grounds? Is there a small area available that your missions group could use for a garden? Could crops be donated to area homeless shelters or used to provide meals for the less fortunate? What about a multigenerational garden? Could the older ones teach the younger ones how to grow delicious, healthy foods? Figuring out the where and who is a first step.

Next, you will need to consider what crops to include in the garden. Which ones grow best in your climate and at what time of year? What supplies will you need? Could they be donated? How will general maintenance be addressed? Would a volunteer schedule work? Bathe the project in prayer and see where God leads.

Digging Deeper

In addition to providing food donations, consider using the garden as a way to cultivate new relationships. As you work, take time to talk to others and really listen. Be open for ways God is leading you to share your faith. If you are involved in a community garden away from home or church, then consider prayerwalking when you visit. If you are unfamiliar with prayerwalking, then check out Randy Sprinkle’s book Follow Me: Becoming a Lifestyle Prayerwalker.

If you are working a garden with a missions group, then consider adding a book study. Discuss the book while you work. Unscripted: Sharing the Gospel as Life Happens by Jeff Iorg and Live Sent: You Are a Letter by Jason C. Dukes have free study guides available online. Grow in faith, grow in love for others, and be purposeful about putting faith to action. An adventure awaits!

Kim Hart is a wife, teacher, and mom of 4 from Gainesville, Florida.

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