This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:8
Oh, to bear much fruit. Good fruit. This is a good thing for the body of believers. In order to bear much fruit we need a few things to happen.
- Seeds of the Word planted in good, fertile soil.
- Daily exposure to the Son.
- Nourishment through the Living Waters.
Our roots grow deep in the word, our tender shoots are fostered the God and the Pastors who lead the church we sit in from week to week. We grow stronger, and then it is time for us to begin bearing good fruit, much fruit, and fruit that is long lasting.
Whether you are leading a church, a women’s ministry, or a small group… you will have an impact on how much fruit your members produce.
A careless orchardist will trim back the trees too far, which can limit their growth, limit their fruit, and even kill the tree.
A good orchardist will know how to trim to tree in a way that will encourage growth, foster repeated burst of fruit, and tend to the tree so that it continues to produce fruit for many years to come.
A few years ago, a woman I know approached a Pastor. She had a gift and talent, and she wanted use it in her church. He didn’t spend anytime talking with her about her offer, he responded swiftly: “We don’t do that here. Thanks for offering.”
This past summer, I was speaking with a Pastor about the role of women’s ministry in the church. As I shared my view on the need for women’s ministries to come up along side the Pastor’s vision, he placed his hand on my shoulder and said: “What I want the women in my church to do, to help me the most, is to serve their husband and children well.”
A man I know spent years evangelizing on the streets of his city. By the time he moved to a new city, he had gotten wrapped up in life, and a bit complacent. After attending a men’s conference, he was convicted of his lukewarm Christianity and was ready to step back up to the plate. He met with his new Pastor, confessed his complacency, and said he wanted to serve in the church. The Pastor didn’t even take a moment to learn about this man’s background, but instead responded: “No, brother. Let us serve you.”
I’ve listened to women share ideas at Women’s Ministry meetings only to have their suggestion dismissed for a myriad of reasons. A leader who can’t see the value others can add to the ministry, looking for workers to do her bidding vs. Kingdom work. Dismissing ideas without even listening to them in entirety. Dismissing people who want to serve without knowing their background, credentials, or heart to serve.
In the last several years, I have spoken with many men and women who have stepped up to the plate to bear fruit, only to be trimmed back sometimes to the point of death of their dream or calling. A person can only be rejected so many times before they stop offering. A person can only be dismissed so many times before they stop feeling valuable.
The Bible tells us that every believe is given gifts, fruit bearing gifts. These gifts will vary, and how they will be used will vary as well. A leaders we have a responsibility to help those we lead identify their gift, develop that gift, and find a place to serve with that gift.
Not just some believers, but all believers. That means when a Pastor looks over his podium to the 50 people or 5,000 people who are in his flock… each person has a gift to bear fruit. If your body is not bearing fruit, it’s imperative to determine WHY. If you are leading a Women’s Ministry of 15 women or 150 women, and your ladies are not bearing fruit, there must be a reason.
Before we look out to the faces we serve to place blame, we must examine ourselves as the leaders first. Am I guilty of dismissing the gifts of service that have been offered to the ministry? Am I guilty of dismissing people who have sought to step up to the plate and serve? Am I guilty of not recognizing the gifts in all of our members, helping to develop those gifts, and finding a place for those gifts to be used in our church or community?
A tree that has the gift of bearing fruit, can only bear good, plentiful, long lasting fruit if the conditions for this success are met. If the Lord has planted a good seed in fertile soil, light from the Son, showers of Living Water… the roots will grow. However, if that tree is continuously neglected by those charged to care for it and trimmed too far back, the fruit will be minimal … if any at all.