The Gold Barn

Dear Rose Park,

Last night Sam, Simon, my mom Kathy (aka “Boppy” to Simon), and I went blueberry picking at the Gold Barn on Quincy. Blueberry picking evokes great memories for me growing up in Holland. I can still remember going picking with my mom when I was younger. I remember tying the bucket around my waist and eating more than I picked. I even have a vague memory or two of picking with my Grandma Brinks and then afterward enjoying the fruits of her labor; namely, a blueberry crisp or a muffin.

As we walked the main drag to find our way back to the “blue crop” I noticed something regarding the rows of blueberries. At the ends of each row, the ones closest to the main path, all the big blueberries had already been picked. All that was left were small blueberries, most of which were a green color and still needed more time on the vine. But if you were willing to leave the main path and walk down the rows and into the middle of the fields you’d find the biggest, sweetest, and juiciest blueberries just waiting to jump into your bucket. And because I’m a pastor, my mind works a little differently and as I noticed this, I started to think about the church.

If you remain at the edges of the church you’ll only get the surface level blueberries. If you’re only willing to grab what you can reach from the safest path then you’ll never find or experience the biggest blueberries. But if you’re willing to step into the field and journey past the low-hanging fruit then you’ll find the most satisfying and fulfilling experiences in the church. If you’re willing to join the bible-study or commit to a discipling relationship, be transformed by the Word of God, and led by the Holy Spirit then you’ll find your bucket will be overflowing with blueberries.

My greatest concern is that for many of us, church has become an experience, community, and lifestyle that is kept at an arms-length away. We’re more than happy to be apart of the Church if, and only if, it doesn’t interfere with any other commitments and it doesn’t cause any discomfort or risk. My worry is that this kind of church has become not only accepted as normal, but it’s also expected from those around us, and if we’re honest ourselves.

But my greatest hope is that the Church can be more than just a surface level experience on the edge of the rows. Instead, if we’re willing to step into the field and trust the leading of the Holy Spirit we’ll find ourselves apart of a spiritual journey that is far more fulfilling than anything that could’ve held us back. This is our hope at Rose Park: that we can be a community that is willing to go beyond surface levels and journey into the field of God so that we might be able to share that experience with someone else.

This is all to say, if you’re growing weary of surface level church, so are we and we’d love to invite you into the middle of the field to pick the biggest, sweetest, and juiciest blueberries.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Mark