My hobby is walking in pastures. If they happen to be buffalo pastures—all the better. As Ten Bears stated, “I love the land and the buffalo. I love to roam across the wide prairie and when I do it I feel free and happy.” I enjoy contemplating the ecology of the prairie. What is Ecology? Ecology is the study of the interactions among living things, and between living things and their surroundings. In Ecology living things are divided into three major groups according to what they eat: • Producers—Produce their own food through the power of the sun • Consumers—feed on other living things • Decomposers—feed by decomposing the remains of other things
There is also an Ecology of Congregations The members of a congregation can be divided into three major groups according to what they eat and what they produce. Jesus alluded to this division in Matthew 7:15-20. In verse twenty Jesus summarizes the idea, saying, “So then, you will know them by their fruits.” The members of a congregation can be divided into three major groups: Decomposers, Consumers, and Producers. Decomposers—are people who have not yet given their hearts to Christ. They have not been forgiven of their sins. They feed on the dead and dying things of the world. The lives of decomposers are described in Galatians 5:18-21 Some decomposers are those who do not come to church. Others decomposers do come to church, they just have not repented of their sins, asked Jesus to forgive them and to come into their hearts to give them the strength they need to become the kind of people that deep down in their hearts they want to be; to become consumers. Consumers—are Christians. They have repented of their sins. They have given their hearts to Christ and have asked Him to forgive them of their sins. They are hearers of the Word but not doers. They absorb the Spirit of the service and receive the teaching of the sermon. They grow and mature some but they do not give much in return. Consumers are described in Hebrews 5:12-13 Some consumers remind me of Little Jack Horner. They sit in their pew eating their Christian pie. They stick in their thumbs and pull out biblical plums and say, “What a good Christian am I.” yet they do not share Christ with others. These are the ones James describes in James 2:15-17. Producers—are Christians that reproduce themselves in other Christians through teaching and discipleship. They obey Jesus command found in Matthew 28:19-20. Some producers make disciples formally by teaching Sunday school classes or leading small groups. Other producers make disciples informally by ministering to the needs of the people around them and through lives that are dedicated to Christ that produce fruit in the lives that they live before others. Producers are also the doers in the church that James talks about in chapter 1 verse 22. They are doers of the Word, not just hearers of the Word. Producers serve the church by mowing the grass, cleaning the facilities, shoveling snow, etc. Producers are those Jesus described in John 15:8-- My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. In the Ecology of the church there are producers, consumers and decomposers. Which are you? There is nothing wrong with being any one of these. It is important though to let the Holy Spirit reveal to us an honest evaluation of what we are. If we are a decomposer we need to seek to know Christ and Him resurrected in our hearts and lives and us resurrected and alive to Him. If we are a consumer we need to seek to sink roots into the Word of God and to soak up the power of the Son of God so that we can become producers—doers of the Word, makers of disciples. If we are a producer we must ask the Master Gardner to cultivate us so that we can become ever more productive.