“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
Here is an obvious truth: Jesus’ disciples glorify God the Father by being fruitful.
Some years ago the Lord moved a pastor named Ken Priddy from ministry in a local church to a ministry of training pastors and church leaders how to help their churches be more fruitful. I was privileged to attend a meeting not too long ago where he was teaching. I certainly can’t share everything he said to us in two days, but I can boil most of it down to this: Local churches can be in one of three postures; incline, recline, or decline. The bad news is that 80% of American churches are either reclining or declining.
My initial reaction was: “But how could that be true? We love the Lord. We are faithful. We trust His Word. . .” Well, Ken believes that it is all about vision and purpose. Take just a moment and think about your vision for the church . . . what do you believe the church should be doing? Now consider Ken’s words . . . He said, “If a church’s objective is to care for the needs of its members, be able to meet its monthly financial obligations and give to those in need at the same time, to maintain facilities adequate for its present needs, and to have a full range of ministries for people of all ages; then that church’s objective is to be a church in recline. The stable and comfortable church is a church that believes it has already fulfilled the call of Christ to “go and make disciples.” And churches in a posture of recline are poised to tip over into decline.
Did it ever occur to you that a church could be too stable? I have to admit that such a thought had never crossed my mind . . . but I have to tell you that it gripped my heart when I heard it.
Church, that’s why we need to build, we need to evangelize, and we need to commit ourselves to the task of bearing fruit for the kingdom. That is why we need to be concerned for those outside of our family of believers. Sure, going up the incline is harder; it takes both effort and faith, but that is what we must do to follow our Lord and to glorify our Heavenly Father!
Pastor Keith Andrews