By Andrew Moroz, Teaching and Outreach Pastor
“Jesus replied to them… ‘Truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces much fruit. The one who loves his life will lose it,and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me. Where I am, there my servant also will be…’”—John 12:23-25
Jesus is alive! But before there was Easter Sunday, there was a bloody “Good” Friday. Before there was a glorious resurrection, there was a seed that was crushed and buried. In John 12, Jesus was preparing his followers for His death and resurrection. He also prepared his followers for their death and resurrection.
In order for a seed to bear fruit (much fruit—see verse 24), it has to be buried. In a sense, it has to die. The seed has to die in its current form in order to take on a different form. Death, in this context, is not the end; it’s an investment in a greater harvest. There is no way that a great harvest would be possible without the burial of the seed.
Jesus was explaining that this would happen to him. He would give his life, he would die, but his life would lead to much fruit. We love that part of the story. It’s easy for us to cheer for Jesus! But, Church, when we keep reading John 12, the implications are clear. Like Jesus, we must be willing to give up our life, we must be willing to embrace “death,” so that we can gain something of greater worth. Disciples of Jesus Christ live the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Our story closely follows his story. Paul Miller calls this the “J curve.” We live the gospel story over and over again as we wait for our final resurrection and the final restoration of all things.
If we love ourselves too much, if we love the current form of life, then we will never experience the abundant life that God desires for us. But if we are willing to embrace the loss of life as we know it, then we put ourselves in a position to be part of a greater harvest.
Practically speaking, I believe that God has been preparing our church for greater fruit. But that means that we must be willing to make some adjustments, and even prepare to experience some “loss,” before we can experience the joy of the harvest that is ahead. Don’t be afraid! This is NOT a letter of resignation. To be honest, we don’t fully know all of the changes that God is leading us to make in the future, but we know that God is stirring us.
New Growth Opportunity For GCR
For months, we have been talking about the work that God has been doing through Gospel Community Rivermont at College Hill Baptist Church. We’re getting closer to making a decision about how we will ultimately move forward with that revitalization project. We deeply love the people of College Hill Baptist Church, and we desire to see new fruit in that historic context.
Our elders, and management team, have been studying different models of church multiplication in order to prepare us for whatever is ahead. In the next few days, you should be receiving an FAQ document that begins to lay out some foundational information about what’s been taking place at College Hill Baptist Church and what God may be calling our church into.
I hope that you take the time to read that document and, if you are able, join us on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. for a live update and a time of prayer. We are diligently seeking the Lord. We are evaluating the practical implications of multiplication and what that may look like. Change—almost always—will include some pain. But if we’re following Jesus in our burial, then we will also experience the joy of new life and growth in him.