Habitat is a word that is used quite often in the world of the outdoorsman. If you have lived more than a couple of decades, you have witnessed changes in the habitat in the area that you live and/or hunt. As our population increases, houses will continue to take land that is the home to a variety of animals. There is no doubt that not only are we squeezing the animal population into smaller quarters, we are also changing much of the landscape in a way that drives out certain creatures and invites others in. For instance, there was a time in my area when quail were plentiful. Just about every farm would be home to a few coveys that would reproduce from year to year. Now, if a farmer sees a covey of quail, it becomes headline news to every hunter in the area. There are many reasons for this change and while some are human related, all are not. Again, it may be that the increase of predator animals, like coyotes, have increased or even the number of hawks who love to feed on these tasty birds. But regardless, as habitat changes, so does everything around it. Sometimes, however, the problem lies within our own piece of property. It may be that the neighbor is doing just fine in holding certain animals, (let's say deer) but they are nowhere to be found on our property. When this happens, we must decide if we will improve our habitat or allow it to become home to something else. As I am reminded of this issue, my mind is drawn to the church. It doesn't take long to see the impact that most are making is nothing like it once was. Recent polls have uncovered the fact that the population is steadily moving away from church attendance and that Christianity is no longer the default religion in America. What this tells me is that the habitat has changed. What once was fertile ground for those seeking God has become in some places, barren and unproductive. Introspection is called for, and as I look within I see that there has been uncontrollable circumstances that has surrounded the church, but instead of working harder on keeping our ground fruitful, we have been satisfi ed to blame the "hawks" and "coyotes." My friend, the church is still where mission work is most effective, but if you are not changing in order to keep up with the predators, your mission fi eld will move to other ground.
By Gary Miller
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