Bearing Fruit: Ministry With Real Results
by Tom Berlin & Lovett Weems
(Abingdon Press, 2011)
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 fruitful and effective ministry is like, especially in response to Kevin Watson's post [in his blog, VitalPiety.com], 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)
In the words of LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow, "But you don't have to take my word for it..."