I love an object lesson! They are all around us. Jesus used them frequently. I can imagine Him walking beside a field when He said, The field is white unto harvest… He used fig trees to teach about seasons and bearing fruit. In a garden He told His disciples, I am the Vine and you are the branches. An object lesson allows our minds to get a picture of a concept. That picture helps embed a lesson in our memory.

Friends know I think in object lessons. Last week in Barahona an object lesson happened as our team worked on the church in Via Progresso. I shoveled, then I passed buckets. Then it hit me – There’s a lesson here! The pictures I took illustrate how missions should work. They also show how the Church should work.

Object Lesson: The Sermon We Can See!

The picture series below will show you we had to move rocks and boulders. You will see we moved the boulders with buckets. It was a bucket brigade made necessary by the lack of a Bobcat we would have rented if we had done this work in our home town. You will also see there were a bunch of us working.

The captions will help you see the object lesson I saw in buckets, boulders, and bunches. I hope it stays in your memory!

Soli Deo Gloria! 

This rock pile had to be moved. Our strongest members worked here. That's a diverse group: youner/older, black/white, U.S./Dominican.

This rock pile had to be moved. Our strongest members worked here. That’s a diverse group: younger/older, black/white, U.S./Dominican.

The buckets were passed through the window next to the rock pile. Team members passed the buckets down the line.

The buckets were passed through the window next to the rock pile. Team members passed the buckets down the line.

No team member carried a bucket all the way across. Each did what they could do.

No team member carried a bucket all the way across. Each did what they could do. Helping each other made everything possible.

Each bucket reached the other side of the church and Leo passed them out the window.

Each bucket reached the other side of the church and Leo passed them out the window.

The buckets had to be handed down to Caleb (the lot slopes toward this side of the building). He was younger than the other men, but gravity did some of his work. He then emptied the buckets.

The buckets had to be handed down to Caleb (the lot slopes toward this side of the building). He was younger than the other men, but gravity did some of his work. He then emptied the buckets.

What did our youngest team member do? How did the empty buckets get back to the rock pile?

What did our youngest team member do? How did the empty buckets get back to the rock pile?

Our youngest member and youngest helper were not left on the sidelines. Sara and Hosli had a vital role - one they were capable of doing.

Our youngest member and youngest helper were not left on the sidelines. Sara and Hosli had a vital role – one they were capable of doing.

The buckets were our tools. Our mission was to move the boulders. How did that happen? Bunches of us worked together. Everyone had a part – no one was watching the others work. Everyone did what they were capable of doing, not what someone else was capable of doing. And we didn’t care who was male or female, who was young or old, or who was black or white.

On mission or in the local church, we  have tools. Start with spiritual gifts and continue to list our tools. Our mission is to love God and love people. No one can do every part, but everyone has a part. Our mission is more important than the things we use to divide ourselves.

What is your part in church planting this year? What is your part of your church’s ministry this year? Think about it!

Object Lessons: They are timeless!

A PS: This post was published in January 2015. But the object lesson remains. The church at Via Progresso had some challenges. Their membership is strong and growing. Their pastor is in our Pastor Training School. We will be working this year to help them finish the upper floors of the building pictured above. Please pray for this church and for the Lord of the Harvest to send us workers!

And please keep praying about the makeover of our website. Work is still going on. Thanks for your patience!

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