Leadership Lessons from My Garden

I have mentioned before that the vegetable garden in my backyard is an important part of my spiritual life.  Not only does it give me a better understanding of some of the agricultural metaphors that Jesus used in his teaching, it helps me to disconnect for a time, and soak in the wonder that is God’s creation.  It is also during these times that the Holy Spirit reinforces some of the lessons that I have learned along the way.

Now that we are ankle deep in June, and because I spend my weekends playing in my garden, I’d like to take the next several Mondays and share some of what I have learned, and am learning through my time in the garden.  Not only am I looking forward to sharing some of what God is teaching me, but my prideful side is excited to show off my garden.

As I think through what I have been learning in my garden this year, a few things come to mind:

  • Getting ProactiveThere are times in our leadership where we need to take decisive action in order to protect our ministry.
  • A Lesson In Proportions: Sometimes having things just a little bit off can lead to disaster.
  • Intentional RemindersSomethings we plant for food, others we plant to remember.  What intentional reminders have been built into your life?
  • The Importance of Structure: Having structure in place in your garden allows certain plants to thrive.  In the same way, developing necessary structures in our churches allows us to do ministry sustainably for years to come.
  • The Necessity of Pruning: In John 15 Jesus talks about pruning… but what does that mean, and how do you do it?
  • Pulling Up Weeds: How do we really get rid of the stuff we don’t want growing in our garden?
  • Space to Grow: As a leader, how are you ensuring that those you lead have the space needed to grow?
  • Enjoy the Broccoli Salad: Our garden provides us with a built in reminder to celebrate all that has been going on… ministry is slightly different.
  • Feeding and Nourishing:  What my garden teaches me about spiritual disciplines.
  • Keeping the Rabbits Out: To say that I really dislike rabbits (big eared rats) is to put it far, far too kindly.
  • 14 Day Pickles: The surprising similarities between making a good pickle, and a disciple of Christ.
  • The Rhythm of Seasons: Just as the garden has a certain rhythm determined by the seasons, so does the life of the church… how are you managing those seasons?

We will unpack these more deeply over the next several weeks… at which time I hope to have grown my first watermelon.

What hobby more deeply connects YOU with our God?


About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through MinistryBriefing.com and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.