© 2021 Daniel Ndlovu / Harvest City Church

Since the sudden, unexpected changes to our lives brought about by the pandemic—working from home, having to isolate, lockdown—there has been an increase in start-up businesses as individuals look to alternative revenue streams. There has also been a rise in quick-profit ‘business’ schemes, forex trading, Bitcoin, and get-rich-quick investing. Some of these schemes may be profitable for a few individuals who already have in-depth knowledge about those markets, however for the rest of us they are a great illustration of the idea of selling the result and ignoring (or merely alluding to) the process: the time it takes to gather information and knowledge to make anything profitable.

The world we live in hard sells the fast life: quick gains, no commitment, no input, no knowledge, just results. This way of life is not compatible with the lifelong, steady, consistent Christian walk. The missing link is the process. Cast your attention to Genesis:

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22)

These are the godly principles that govern the earth: seedtime and harvest. Most, if not all, things have a process which will bring it to maturity, a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.

God, through Jesus Christ, established His church to be the vehicle to bring people to Christ, disciple believers and grow the Kingdom. Like many things in the world, the church has its own process and that is what we call being planted and rooted.

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green. (Psalm 92:12-13)

The Scripture promises that those who are planted will ‘flourish’ or, in other words, thrive vigorously.

After we have given our lives to Christ, the next step is to put ourselves in the best position to flourish and grow in our Christian faith, and that is being planted in a local church. Being planted is like sitting down in the optimal place to watch your favourite programme on your mobile device and seeing the battery is at 100%! Get plugged into God’s plan that is always 100% the best.

As I continue to be discipled at Harvest City Church, I have seen my faith grow; I have developed godly friendships that have enriched my life; through difficult times I had people who stood by me and imparted godly wisdom; the spoken Word has always challenged me to go further in God; and, most of all, I have a sense of belonging.

The benefits of being planted are evident from Scripture and the opposite could be true if someone is not planted.

I had a conversation with a fellow believer from another church who asked me why my life seems so stable and hassle-free, whilst he described the issues he had with his current church, the things he did not like, the unfriendly people and the feeling that he was being overlooked. My answer was simply that I have challenges like everyone else! However, in the last few years he has been to six or seven different churches and I have been to one and I believe that is the main difference. In the course of moving from church to church he placed himself in a position that did not allow him to build strong relationships with believers in any of those churches.

‘And we beseech you, brethren, that you come to know those who labour among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:12)

Rather than being known and belonging, he could have been seen as a visitor and the level of responsibility afforded to him would have been that of a visitor. Moving from church to church is like planting an apple tree in one section of your garden, then later deciding to dig it up and plant it elsewhere. That tree will struggle as each time you dig it up you will break off some roots and it won’t develop normally. Relationships that are not developed will stay superficial. God desires for us to flourish, however we have to align ourselves with His principles and planting is the precondition for the satisfying of God’s promise.

The LORD detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights. (Proverbs 11:1)

Scripture talks about using sound judgement and not being dishonest in how we conduct ourselves, especially in our relationships. When you have been planted in a congregation for a lengthy period of time you develop a well-rounded view of the believers in that church—you see people at their best and at their worst, so your view of a person or the church is not skewed by a few ‘off’ incidents. Could it be that when my friend visited those churches, on those few occasions that someone appeared unkind, they might have just been having a bad day? We will never know, but if he had been planted and was a known labourer his assessment might have led to a different outcome and a different attitude towards his current church.

Being planted can be difficult for some individuals as it means being vulnerable and letting other people into areas of your life that you may not be comfortable with. Being rooted is not about just being present at different church events, but is about applying yourself and engaging openly. Being planted goes hand-in-hand with many other Christian principles like accountability and trust.

Accountability is about being open and honest about your struggles and challenges, and finding support and encouragement from fellow believers. This does not happen over a few days; it takes time to build a rapport (Galatians 6:1-2).

Learning to trust the leaders God has placed above us does not happen overnight. Again, it takes time. In planting ourselves in church we develop the important relationship with our leaders that can help guide us through the battles we may encounter.

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. (Hebrews 13:17)

Making the decision to put down your roots and become part of a congregation can be challenging and uncomfortable at times, however speaking from experience, the enrichment in relationships and the personal and spiritual growth far outweigh what we hold on to as exclusive areas of our lives. The Word of God is clear:

‘… planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green’ (Psalm 92:14).