And Jesus was saying, “The Kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows- how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself (Greek ‘automaté’); first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
1 Corinthians 3:6
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.” Or, as the KJV has it, “God gave the increase”.
What both Jesus and Paul are saying is that God’s church grows automatically when the right conditions are present, just as my garden failed to grow for three weeks after I planted it because the soil was too cold. The soil has warmed up and now my garden is suddenly growing when I feared that it was dead! There was a minimum factor which prevented my garden from growing. The seed was planted, it was watered, the soil was fertile- but nothing happened. The minimum factor in my garden in the spring of 2016 was soil temperature.
What is the minimum factor preventing us from growing? We do many things well- the seed is being planted, others are watering it, but there is little growth. Growth can happen if we can identify and improve our minimum factor that is holding us back. One way to do is through a process called Natural Church Development. Check out this introductory video on Youtube to get an idea of how it works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYSW5as487s