There was some high hanging fruit on my apple tree this year that was a nightmare to reach. Even more so in that not far from our apple tree a bramble branch and rose branch draped across. So not only were the apples out of reach from me standing on my ladder, there’d be considerable pain trying to get close to them .
The low hanging fruit was easy in comparison. And id be able to see it drop.
It got me thinking. How much of the church’s national mission strategies, including that of organisations, is aiming for the low hanging fruit?
The fruit thats ripe for harvest and easy to get to?
Some of that harvesting includes a brighter, noisier more relevant method, friends of friends at events, church based activities, even youth groups, or work in the institutions such as schools. For those who might be already interested, linked by friendship or family to others within, of similar upbringing or academic or social standing. Or even the lapsed christians, the previous youth ministry attenders.
Does a national mission strategy for picking and discipling the high hanging fruit need to be fundamentally different?
If there is pain and stretching in the reaching and picking, let alone the finding, identifying and nuturing – then how might all the learning, resources and support of the church be aimed in this direction?
The high hanging fruit need not necessarily be the stereo typical working class estate long forgotten by generally middle class church, but it might be, and there are swaithes of families, young people and children abandoned by the church in these estates. It might be the very articulate academics, or very wealthy on gated estates, or just the millions who have no interest or connection.
To be deemed successful, ministries and programmes, projects and churches are justified by numbers , but how many actually make transformational disciples of the high hanging fruit?
A national strategy for the high hanging fruit might have to reconsider the locations of, methods of, approaches of church, as it recognises people as gifted (abcd), gatherings as informal, and starting not from the church with church in mind, but in the meeting places of people with presenting Jesus in mind. To transform communities of high hanging fruit the process will be to be specific in intention, to be ready for climbing, to recognise the pain, cut through the thorns and barriers with tools of love, of freedom.
If the church aims for the high hanging fruit, the fruit often forgotten by the world, too out of the way to be put to good purpose, what kind of mercy, love and Christ is on our side in that mission?
What might a national mission and discipleship approach for the high hanging and forgotten fruit, look like? and maybe more crucially how much resource might the church nationally provide to see it start to happen, until then only the low hanging fruit might be in reach.