I recently just finished Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results by Lovett H. Weems, Jr. and Tom Berlin. Along with other members of the senior staff, I read this in preparation for our semi-annual retreat today. I have been considering what it fruitful and effective ministry is like, especially in response to Kevin Watson’s post, Further Thoughts on Measuring Effective Ministry. I appreciated many of the principles put forth in this book. Here is a brief summary:
Fruitfulness is part of the character of God and the story told throughout scripture.
There is a clear difference between business and fruitfulness.
Always be clear about why you are doing anything in the life of the church, i.e. We have worship each week, so that…
Alignment between God’s vision and the vision of the leadership is essential for fruitfulness.
Capturing a creation story for an existing congregation can catalyze fruitfulness.
The entirety of God sized visions aren’t always revealed at the outset.
Fruitfulness is enhanced by the governing board, church staff and the congregation being on the same page about vision
As a church leader, paying attention to how you care for yourself is of utmost importance.
God gives the growth
Perhaps most helpful, I found a clear way to consider fruitful leadership:
“Fruitful leaders care about results because results are ways to go beyond merely filling a pastoral role to active participation in seeking results that we are convinced emerge from the gospel we preach.” (xvi, Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results)
Over the past month, I have had the opportunity to travel to Dallas twice. One of these trips was to share the story of Resurrection Online and what we have learned to a clergy development group of executive pastors from across Texas. It was a great blessing to be with them and share ideas about how technology might be a tool for helping connect people with God. You can check out the presentation that I prepared for them at goo.gl/yGFHL. On that trip, I had the chance to share a meal with David Alexander, one of the pastors at First UMC Mansfield.
The second trip was instigated by my membership on the UMR Communications Board of Directors. This is my first opportunity to serve in this type of leadership role. I have learned a lot over the past several months and am looking forward to several more years of serving. On this trip, I had the opportunity to meet Paul Rasmussen, who leads Cornerstone, a worship community at Highland Park UMC. It was great to met him and hear about the way that God has been at work among that community. It was a blessing then to connect with Kevin Watson and Bill Gepford. I met Kevin at Wesley Theological Seminary and Bill worked as an intern with Resurrection Online this past summer.
It was good to be present for church stuff. It was, perhaps, more valuable for me to build relationships with people who care about Jesus and the church – people that I care about. Renewal of the church will be built on relationships – with God and others.