This is something I’ve done in all age worship and in schools, to talk about what working together as churches can feel like. If you use it, you might have to find your own local examples of each kind of working together. You can also act it out with real fruit – for number 3 you’ll need a hand-held food mixer thingy – the one with the whizzy blades that you would use for getting lumps out of soup.
1. When you go to a supermarket, each fruit has its own compartment – the oranges are with other oranges, the apples are with other apples, and so on. But when you buy some and take them home, you probably put them in a fruit bowl, all mixed together. Sometimes working together as churches is like that. We collaborate, but we don’t have to sacrifice much. But bear in mind that fruit ripens at different rates – and bananas are often ahead of the game and may make the rest of you change a little more quickly than you’re used to!
2. But sometimes working together feels more like a fruit salad, Everyone’s had to give a bit – we lose something of our shape, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and if you need to, you can probably still tell which bit each of us contributed – the banana still tastes like banana, the apple still tastes like apple.
3. But sometimes working together as churches feels more like a smoothie. Everyone has to sacrifice a lot – and there’s no way you can tell what all the original flavours were; what matters is the the combination is more wonderful than any of the individual flavours, and that it’s the variety that went in that produces something new and exciting.
So, the question is, what are we willing to give, what are we willing to forgo? And how will the fruits of our togetherness quench the thirst of those around us?