內容簡介 Greenhouses have a rich history. They have a noble beginning as well. According to Pliny the Elder, when royal physicians informed the emperor Tiberius in first century Rome that he should eat a cucumber a day, construction began on a special house for plants. The material for the roof allowed sunlight to enter and the walls of stone permitted heat from fires outside to warm the air inside. This early greenhouse assured a continual supply of cucumbers, which in turn preserved the health of the ruler of the Roman Empire.Since the first century, greenhouses have continued to evolve. Materials such as glass, fiberglass, and plastic have replaced the stone walls and early roof made from mica or selenite. Contemporary heating systems, fans, and computers are now available to maintain the correct air temperature for a plethora of crops. The physical materials, construction methods, and techniques have changed over the years; however, the purpose has remained the same.We still need greenhouses to ensure a continual supply of certain crops. With the aid of a greenhouse, a gardener can determine the temperature and humidity that the plants need. The greenhouse offers a place of protection. Although careful maintenance is still required, a greenhouse aids in the development of desired outcomes.The local church has significant correlations to a greenhouse. The local church was born to be a place where God's people grow. The King of Kings ushered in the church to not only protect his children from false teachers, but also to feed his sheep. Over the years, the physical shape of the church building has changed. Bricks, mortar, and steel have replaced the open fields and tents where people used to gather to hear the Word. Contemporary sound and lighting systems have replaced the simple amenities of house churches. The purpose of the local church, however, remains unchanged. The local church is still the place where God's people grow to become spiritual leaders.Some pastors and church leaders have drifted away from the church's purpose. The church is not a club or a business, although some attitudes and behaviors that prevail in some churches would indicate otherwise. In order to provide optimal spiritual growth among believers and produce spiritual leaders, the church must recover its purpose. The local church must return to what it was intended to be-a greenhouse. That is what my church experience over the years has taught me.Although I desire to become who God intended for me to be, I have found it difficult to focus on my areas of strength instead of constantly worrying about meeting people's expectations of me. I felt confined for the first ten years of my professional pastoral ministry. After serving in four churches for an average of 2 1 2 years in each church, I pleaded with God for anything different than another assignment that robbed me from me. I was an emerging leader hungry for opportunities to learn and grow. My passion was to help others discover their God-given strengths and give ministry away. However, most of my time was spent attending meetings, planning youth activities, leading Bible studies, and putting out fires. I wish things were different in the local church.