Forty years ago, visitors to a part of the Kasaragod district of the state of Kerala in India would have described the landscape as barren and covered with a layer of hard, laterite stone. But, while visiting his wife’s family, Abdul Kareem saw the exact same landscape quite differently. Somehow, in the midst of a wasteland, Abdul saw a forest.
Enduring the ridicule of others, he bought five acres and went to work. The first group of mature saplings that he planted all withered and died. A second effort brought the same result. But the third time he planted, some of the tiny trees survived. Several times a day, Kareem rode his motorbike two miles round trip across the difficult terrain to bring in cans of water. He later dug pits to catch rainfall and built walls out of rocks to slow down the erosion of what precious little soil was present. After the first five years, Kareem bought an additional 27 acres and eventually planted 800 species of trees and 300 other types of plants.
As the years went by, decomposing leaves began to disintegrate the rocky surface, eventually resulting in a rich soil where the trees took root and multiplied. The natural water table rose to the point that a once useless well could produce one hundred thousand liters of water each day. Birds, insects, and other animals began to appear and Kareem even built a home for himself right in the middle of what is now the Kareem Forest Park. Today visitors from all over the country come to enjoy and study the rich 32 acre forest, all because Kareem could see the potential that no one else could see.
Sunday School leaders have the opportunity and responsibility to see the future forest in a barren landscape. What is the potential present every Sunday in a given group meeting? Here are ten seeds that can lead to great growth.
- Future teachers who can be given the opportunity to lead their first lesson.
- Leaders who can be given responsibility for areas of class ministry that may be neglected.
- Segments of a class with a missionary passion to step out and create a new group.
- Circles of friends, neighbors, and acquaintances to be invited.
- Names on the roll of those who are frequently absent and need encouragement and care.
- Workers who can meet the needs of underserved age groups.
- Demographic segments of your community that are not represented in current ministry efforts.
- Unreached areas of your community that can be served.
- People who have new ministries on their minds but need a boost.
- Intercessors who can faithfully call upon God in prayer for renewal in their church and awakening in their communities.
What potential can you see in your class? Ask the questions, identify a starting point, and take a step to plant a seed today so that others can enjoy a forest tomorrow.