Sow, Meet Reap.


Late last night, I arrived in D.C. for the inaugural Missio Alliance National Gathering.

All the action starts in a few hours (so stoked).

And while I had very little, if anything, to do with the creation and execution of this event, it still somehow feels like the fruit of a labor in which I’ve taken part.

Like I’m reaping after a long season of sowing.

My wife and I took a leap of faith and planted a church in our late 20′s. It was a beautiful and terrible experience, with a lot of the terrible coming in the last couple of years. Through some intense storms, by God’s grace and the skin of our teeth, we held on, stood our ground, believing in the integrity of Jesus’s church and our calling to it. It was hard – but it was exactly as it should have been. The beautiful little venture that God entrusted to us required that we see it through all the way to the end.

Since that end, we’ve been waiting. And resting. And healing. And changing – becoming something new as a little family in the wake of a cruciform season of giving our life to the work. We’ve experienced the beauty of receiving life again, strength and joy restored little by little, and the slow realization that, yes, this can all make sense again, and, whoa, maybe it makes even more sense now than it ever did before. We’ve experienced the progressive ascent from a long submersion only to find the air so much more breathable and the sun shocking at first but clarifying so much (and warming to the soul).

There seems to be just one missing link in this journey, and it is the thing that we labored so hard for during those church planting years, the seed we sowed so intently and, hopefully, faithfully. The end of a church plant feels like a crop destroyed, or at least lost to the wind and pounding rain. Would we ever see the fruit?

For our church, Dwell, we believed that something was possible – a better expression and embodiment of the gospel of Jesus for the time and place in which we live. We believed it for Burlington, Vermont; but we also believed it for people beyond our local church project. We wanted to be a part of this way forward, to be caught up in a stream that is much bigger than one group of people in one city. We wanted to see a third-way (radical), missional church movement with unsexy substance and spiritual vitality. We wanted to see the #futuregospel take root and bear fruit.

More than that: we believed God told us we would see this come to pass.

I had little, if anything, to do with the creation and execution of this event. I’m just here to absorb, to learn, to receive, to connect, to discern. But for some reason I know, deeply, that this is part of the fruit.

Missio Alliance is welcoming us into a harvest. A reaping.

And, perhaps, a new laboring, a renewed work, too.

Thanks to all who are making this week possible. Looking forward to these next three days with great expectancy. Who’s with me?!


About Zach Hoag

Zach J. Hoag is a writer and missional minister from notoriously non-religious New England. He blogs here at Patheos and HuffPost Religion. His book, Nothing but the Blood: The Gospel According to Dexter, released in 2012. Most importantly he binge-watches TV dramas and plays in the snow with his family.

Find him on Twitter & Facebook!

  • Mike Freeman

    Loving your blog, Zach. What an apt description of church, of ministry, of life – “a beautiful and terrible experience.” Praying that there is much reaping with joy at this gathering…may it be a burning bush for you and all present.

    • zachhoag

      @Mike Freeman thanks, mike. i really appreciate this encouragement – and prayers are being answered, for sure.