After a dandelion blooms to maturity, its petals and stamens drop off to allow the parachute ball to form. Then, the gusts of wind lift the seeds and carry them off to other parts of the world where they germinate disturbed soil.
It wasn’t exactly the kind of metaphor I expected to hear in a church with a strong emphasis on manhood, but it’s definitely fitting. It explains the how to what Paul calls God’s “eternal purpose” of reaching the world with the gospel (Eph. 3:11).
It’s the perfect metaphor.
Get the picture. God, infinitely wise, decided to spread His glorious truth of salvation through the germinating work of His Spirit in a people called His church. Through a corporate devotion to teaching, fellowship, and prayer (Acts 2:42), the church is built up into a strong lighthouse through which Christ shines to the city.
When this church has matured (Eph. 4:11-16), the divine wind of God breathes through its members and carries some of them to other parts of the world where they are planted in disturbed soil—communities in need of His gospel. There, these “gospel seeds” take root and grow into a church where the process begins again.
“The Dandelion Effect” is what my pastor called it—God’s way of spreading the gospel throughout the world. Think of it as God dispersing His people on the winds of His Spirit to display His wondrous grace. Simply put, “through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known” (Eph. 3:10).
The fact that God prepares the hearts of those He sends, as well as the hearts of those to whom they are sent, is a providential reality (Ps. 115:3; Eph. 2:10; 1 Cor. 3:9). But there are two additional realities waiting to be dug up (pardon the pun).
God Sends from Mature Soil
In an earlier sermon in the series, my pastor said “the gospel is as much for birthing and building the church as it is for reconciling lost sinners.” In order to be an effective gospel seed to the world, a church must be permeated and saturated in the living waters of the gospel.
It not only saves sinners, it builds saints. It helps us see Christ and see like Christ. A church fueled and formed by anything other than the gospel is in no condition to fuel and form another. It lacks the tools to work. Only a church deeply rooted in gospel soil is able to plant a church this way. So, God sends from gospel rich soil.
God Sends to Disturbed Soil
In order for the dandelion’s seed to take root and grow, it must fall into disturbed soil. In most cases, a field full of flowers has no room for more. It thrives all on its own. Rather, it is the broken and disrupted soil that welcomes the seed.
Walk through this with me. God sovereignly prepares the soil, making it ready for the gospel seed. He tills the hearts of the people. He disrupts the comforts of the city. He breaks the arms of the strong. He prepares the ground for the planting of His people so that the gospel will sink deeply and grow faithfully.
What about you?
“The Dandelion Effect” is not a personal perspective wrapped up in a fun metaphor. It is God’s design for the church. Do you belong to a dandelion church? Is your primary aim as a local body to mature, spread, and repeat?
Oh, and this is for free …
The dandelion is a source of nutrition1, medicine2, and fruitfulness3—not to mention it can enhance the beauty of your lawn. Now there’s a metaphor waiting to happen. You’re welcome.
- Pulsipher, Charlie. “11 Health Benefits of Dandelion and Dandelion Root.” Sunwarrior. N.p., 15 Apr. 2013. Web. 12 Oct. 2014.
- Ehrlich, Steven D. “Dandelion.” University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., 2 Jan. 2011. Web. 12 Oct. 2014.
- “Companion Planting for Vegetables, Herbs, Garden Flowers and Plants.” Countryfarm Lifestyles. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2014.