Jump directly to the Content

Lessons from the Joshua Tree

Nurturing a church plant in tough, really tough, soil
Lessons from the Joshua Tree

Behold, the Joshua tree! It grows in only one place: Joshua Tree National Park in California. The park is basically a desert. Bathed in ethereal red light at dawn, it becomes a furnace by noon with temperatures routinely soaring beyond 120 degrees.

So why is the Joshua tree special enough to have a national park named after it? Because it's pretty much the only thing that will grow there. Even though the environment is brutal, this particular tree has somehow found a way to adapt and survive.

It's a little like that for churches on Long Island, New York. The ground is hard and not conducive to church life. People are jaded, and clergy are often treated like snake oil salesmen. In some cases, I have to admit, the attitude is deserved. Some have dubbed Long Island "The Preacher's Graveyard." It's a difficult place to grow a church.

The hard soil, however, is capable of nourishing life. But churches there must do what they have done around the world and throughout history: ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Are You a Good Friend?
Are You a Good Friend?
In a dangerous mountain hike, I discovered what real friendship is.
From the Magazine
The Harvest Is Plentiful, But the Workers Are Divided
The Harvest Is Plentiful, But the Workers Are Divided
Biblical scholars and theologians have different ways of tending their own fields. What can they learn from each other?
Editor's Pick
Hard-Copy Bibles Aren’t Just Nostalgic
Hard-Copy Bibles Aren’t Just Nostalgic
As a seminary professor, I’m requiring the physical book in class. Church should do the same.
close