Spurlock has a simple job: Clean out the church he's
been assigned to and sell it.
All Saints Episcopal
Church is nearly empty on Sunday mornings anyway. You
could fit the entire congregation into a selfie. Without
much squeezing. So it was really no big deal. Just
deliver a few transitional sermons, gently nudge the
members into another congregation and … sell the whole
kit and caboodle.
There is, however, one
teeny, tiny problem: God keeps tapping Michael on the
The week after Michael
and his family show up, several refugees come to church.
They're members of the Karen people group, farmers from
Burma who've been transplanted to the little town of
Smyrna, Tenn., of all places. They don't speak much
English. They're believers. They're in obvious need. And
every time Michael sees their humble, smiling faces and
shakes their roughly calloused hands, his heart goes out
One cool evening while
praying about these people, Michael has an epiphany. And
a plan seamlessly comes together in his mind.Instead of selling the
church building and its land to make way for some
warehouse or car lot, what if he could convince the
diocese to let these farmers simply till the land. Why,
with this fertile soil they could likely grow a crop
that would not only feed their families, but also bring
in enough money to pay the church's mortgage. They could
"grow" the church—literally.
The plan is simple.
It's elegant. It's doable, with determination and hard
work, of course. It uses the very group that God has led
to Michael's doorstep. And it helps people. Why, it
simply has to be God's will. But what if … it's
not quite that simple?