We desire to see transformational Christ-followers embedded in their local community. People equipped to bring the presence of Jesus into their spheres of influence. Men and women who live with courage in the midst of a shifting culture.
We have seen over 4000 people go through Theodyssey over the years, but we have never had a formal way to journey together beyond the initial group. It was time.
We created the Farmer’s Co-op.
What?? If we are creating a movement of people, marked by courage, integrity, and transformational love, why would we pick farming?
It all ties into one of the key metaphors in the Theodyssey curriculum: Factory Worker vs. Farmer.
Every morning, the Factory Worker heads out the door, clocks in at the Widget Factory, and then stands at the assembly line, doing the same task, over and over again. A few times each day, a Widget is produced. This continues day after day, year after year – the same schedule, the same task, the same product. The goal each shift is to be productive. As long as the factory worker is focused on his specific task, the day goes well. He controls the flow of his part of the process. Success is measured by how many Widgets are produced. At the end of the day, the Factory Worker goes home and the cycle begins anew the next day: Commute to work, 8 hour shift, maybe go for a run, dinner, tv and bed.
Many of us approach our spiritual lives with this mindset, whether we realize it or not. Our goal is to be productive, measuring our success by results. It is on us to become a better Christian. We need to keep doing the right routine: church, quiet time, small group, etc. If we do not feel we are hitting the mark, we must be missing something. We start grasping for the latest book or conference or spiritual fad. This works for awhile, but does it produce lasting change?
The Farmer gets up each morning not quite sure what the day holds. There are seasons and rhythms to his life. In the Spring he focuses on cultivation – preparing the soil, planting the seed and then watching, watering, weeding and waiting. While there is work to be done, ultimately the farmer does not control the growth process but trusts in the mystery that something is happening under the soil. He is dependent on factors outside of his control: sun, rain, temperature. The summer brings the harvest. Success is not measured day by day- but seasonally. Things grown in their own time. Autumn rolls around and there is more preparation: finish the harvest, till the soil and clean tools for the winter. Even in the dark days of winter the farmer is not idle. Farmers are never off work; it is their whole life.
What if each of us has a unique journey to walk, producing a crop that nobody else can manufacture? Just like a farmer cannot manufacture a head of lettuce, we cannot produce our own growth. We work hard at cultivating the soil and preparing the environment for growth to happen, but we must partner with things outside of our control.
Being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others. That can only happen if we approach our growth as a farmer. And trust that God will guide each of us in our unique way.
What would it look like if we were a community willing to do the difficult work of allowing God to change us? What if our lives were defined by hearing and responding to God’s invitations? What if we focused on where we are going instead of whether we have arrived?
The presence of Christ would be more real to us and to the people around us.
A community of farmers can change the culture. But approaching our growth like a farmer requires a fight.
Let’s be Fighting Farmers.