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A Farmer's Take on the Parable of the Soils By Rev. Grant Woodley

In any given field, yield varies widely. We use GPS yield maps to tell us which areas were high yielding and which were low, then investigate why there might have been difference. Was it a difference in which seed variety we planted, weed outbreak, deficient in fertility? The aim is to bring each area of the field to realize it's max potential by using resources like seed, chemical and fertilizer most efficiently. That means best overall yield, best profit and healthiest environmental impact.

So guess which area we invest more resources into. The best or worst yielding area?

Answer, the best. We put the best most expensive seed in the best part of the field. We put more fertilizer in the best, we make very sure there are not weeds and no disease. To put our best resources on the poorest ground would be a waste. The poorest ground is poor because of its soil type and there's nothing you can do to change it. It's yield potential is inherently limited.

In a given congregation, like in everything, there is probably a statistical bell curve. 10% of people would die before allowing any change, 80% are ready to make solid incremental change, just not too much, too fast, 10% are ready to get crazy for Jesus and probably already are.

Which soil do you find yourself pouring time, energy, resources, spiritual leadership? My guess (my admission from my own experience) we put the best of what we've got in the lowest yielding soil. In fact, we're probably not taking initiative, but letting the lowest yielding soil make significant demands of the best of what we've got to the neglect of the rest of the 90% of the congregation, and the top 10%?? They're dying because they're getting nothing.

What could it look like if we flipped that? The poorest areas of the field don't get nothing. They just don't get more than they're capable of yielding. But the highest yielding areas of the field? They get significant investment. I take big bets there.

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