Can you be a fruitful pastor? A great question that at times can be quite confusing. Does bearing fruit mean leading the next event at your church? Is bearing fruit a board meeting void of contentious conversation? Is bearing fruit showing an annual increase in worship attendance? Or is bearing fruit, for the minister, something else entirely? The answer depends on your definition of “fruitful.”
So, what is the definition of fruitful? Be productive. Make disciples.
Jesus said in John 15:8, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
It is our mandate to bear fruit, to lead people to Jesus, and in so doing, we show ourselves to be disciples. Or said another way,...
The fruit of your life will tell a story of your own discipleship.
Disciples make more disciples. As a pastor, evaluate your schedule. How much time do you spend focused on events, programs, and visitation for people who already know Christ? Certainly, those areas of pastoral responsibility are important; however, they must not overtake your entire schedule. Where does sharing the story of Jesus to those who do not know Him come into your schedule? Something can happen as a minister, where we find ourselves doing many good things for the church that consume our time, and we miss the most important item on our to-do list as a disciple of Christ. We are to make disciples, personally. We are to make the most of every opportunity. We are to bear fruit.
Perhaps another way to say this through a leadership lens would be that the people we pastor will never personally make disciples until we model and train personal discipleship.
Let’s take that a step further. Can we model the sanctified life without deep personal sorrow for the lost around us? Phineas Bresee said, “The agony of God for lost men finds at least its echo in our hearts.” The love for humanity from God is represented in us. It is to the glory of God that we bear fruit individually and personally to others. Please ensure as a minister that it’s not just your church that is leading people to Jesus, but that you as an individual are cultivating relationships that lead to disciples.
In John 15:16, Jesus says, “I chose and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last...”
There is a tiny word in this verse that has large implications. It is the same word that Jesus gave us in Matthew 28 in the Great Commission. The word is “go”! We must go, as ministers, outside of our office and share Jesus.
Our people will never understand the importance of going if we are conditioning them only to come to church.
When church is a program, people come to a location and leave. Incidentally, too often they will go to the church that does programming the best. However, when the church is moving and active, people do not come to church because the church is already living where they are. The body of Christ was never meant to be a location; the body of Christ was meant to be everywhere through His people. They come to be empowered to go and individually share the story of Jesus with others. We bear fruit in an exponential sense by modeling personal soul winning to our people.
What would happen if we spent more time helping our people cultivate a heart for the lost than we did preparing for Sunday morning service? Where would they go? What could they accomplish? How many more might believe? As a minister, you were chosen by God to go anywhere, at any time, for anyone. May God help you give that heart to your people as well.
Charles Spurgeon said it this way: “If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”
Being a fruitful pastor is so much more than leading the next event, program or board meeting at your church. Bearing fruit comes from sharing the hope of Jesus—that life can change because of His love.
Ensure you are taking the time to build relationships with the lost and watch how God invigorates your passion for serving Him in the church.
The glory of God fills our hearts when we lead people to Him.
Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”