Pruning the ministry produces growth

Every now and then we need to evaluate the ministry. 
Have we got distracted? Has our priorities changed? When a ship gets off course one degree it’s not so noticeable until days later, if you let that simple course correction go the ship could miss it’s destination by hundreds of miles.

The intention to prune creates a pressure to change our priorities and pressure to produce fruit. Pruning will produce new growth!!

Before pruning remember Jesus is the main vine and you and the ministry are the branches. Maybe the ministry or key people, even ourselves, have gotten disconnected from the main vine. If the ministry isn’t plugged into the main thing, Jesus, then it’s going to look like it needs to be cut and rightly so. To avoid cutting the women’s ministry from your church get back to the main thing! Abiding in Jesus.  You can have a prayer retreat for the key people or take the team to a service outside their normalcy. Actively seeking God is the most necessary part of pruning. If the ministry isn’t plugged into Jesus then what is it plugged into?

When evaluating growth and fruit be aware somethings take time. 
Some fruit trees take a little longer to be established and bear fruit than others. However those young trees don’t stand a chance if they aren’t nursed into bearing fruit. A neglected tree will eventually stop producing fruit. A neglected ministry will stop producing fruit.  Some ministries take time to get established, nurturing them and directing them in the right direction will produce growth. This could mean spending quality time with your core team individually, together find out how they can align their gifts and talents with their passion and resource them in that direction.  

Use discernment when pruning the ministry, especially if it involves people.
Sometimes cutting people or benching them is necessary in these times. Do so with a tender heart. Let it be a restoration period for them. Before you sit them down make sure you set them up for success. Don’t ever sit someone down because you are angry with them, or they aren’t conforming to YOUR idea of what is to be done.  Remember, pruning is about cultivating growth, even with the individuals you have to sit down.  

Before pruning check yourself!!! 
Pruning because you have compared the ministry to others is not a good idea. When you do that you are plugging into other ministries and not the main vine Jesus.

Before pruning ask yourself what fruit are you looking for?  
Remember fruit feeds people! Will the fruit the ministry produce feed people?  Is the ministry proclaiming the good news, healing the brokenhearted, setting the captive free? Is your ministry feeding the hungry? Is your ministry addressing injustice? In your community is the fruit of the ministry making an impact?  

Let’s not use the idea of pruning to somehow motivate your team to do more.
I’m talking about threatening your team with pruning if they don’t produce fruit, this isn’t a pointed stick  prodding them to do more! There might be a part of the ministry that at one point was someone’s baby, or it might mean someone will have to relocate their passion into something else.  Pruning is never easy in these situations and threatening to cut their heart out is not going to get them to do more, it will only discourage them.  

Pruning is necessary.  Take your time, evaluate and make those hard decisions with courage and compassion.

Do you have a pruning experience that went right? or wrong? What are some of the ways that helped you in a pruning season? Leave a comment.