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The Grace Project

Growing Good Grass

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You don’t have to be a believer to know be able to recite the words of the much loved twenty-third psalm, but if you’re in any kind of spiritual leadership you do need to be a Seer to understand what those precious words mean.    When Hayley and I started the Grace Project, ten years ago next month (17th September 2000) we did so having received the simplest of instructions from the Lord: “Go and grow good grass and I’ll bring the sheep.”   
We interpreted that to mean that we were to establish a work that would simply be a grassland or (grace land) suitable for pasturage.  It was a simple but compelling vision that resonated so fully with me.    The Grace Project was to be a place where the Lord could make his people lie down in green pastures.  Our role as it transpired was not so much to PASTORS but to provide PASTURE; to be a safe place for The Lord’s flock graze and find rest for their souls.  
Pasture, unlike Pastors doesn’t have an agenda.  And looking back that’s been a key.  The moment something organic morphs into something organised then it’s only a matter of time before that becomes an organization and before we know where we are we’re on the slippery slope hurtling towards institutionalism. And we all know only too well that Institutions are supposed to serve us, but unfortunately we so often end up serving them. 
Now the question is how do you keep the grass green?   Or to put it another way, how do you keep the ‘church’ out of the church?    
As I wrote in my book The Bonsai Conspiracy the immediate temptation for us who are finding freedom in Christ church maps have failed us is to tear down the religious systems from which we have come.  However, to tear down the “church” is but to attack the effects of the system rather than its causes.   We are focusing on the effects not the cause.  In his classic book, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” Pirsig said, “The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself and if a factory is torn down but the rationality that produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory.
Put simply there’s not much point taking the man out of the church system if you don’t take the church system out of the man.   
We need a new kind of Pastor, who are actually PASTURES.  These leaders won't have hard and fast ambitions about what he or she wants to do and achieve but whose ambitions centre around who they want to be and simply allow the doing to flow from their being.  Hence why I say that the most fundamental question facing leadership is not what do they want to do?, but rather, who are they called to be?   
As leaders come to understand who they are their spiritual intelligence increases and as it does so the Christ-in-them permeates more and more holistically in their lives.  As John so neatly put it when speaking of Mary anointing the Lord “the house was filled with the fragrance of perfume.” (John 12:3)   
When fully defused this fragrance, the very perfume of life to those who are being saved clings to the walls of all that we do. This diffuse life of Christ impacts the whole of our being.   
The Christ life in us is white hot and is potent.  It radiates hope, healing, kindness and compassion through our head, heart, health and hands, impacting the way we manage ourselves and others, the way in which we love ourselves and others, influencing our being and creating in us a desire to serve one another in love.
We need a new generation of PASTURES who are content to simply allow their lives to be the grassy fields of grace for the flock of God to graze in.   Nothing beats fresh pasture for nutritional value and nothing beats being strengthened by grace.  Our travels have taken us all over in search of pasture in which to grow our grass and plant a few trees to act as shelter for the flock on hot or rainy days.    A place where The Lord can lead the sheep knowing that you’ll feed them not feed on them.  As Tom Jones's old song says 'It's good to touch the green, green grass of home.'


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