God Directed Pruning
If you are a pastor or serve on a church staff, you undoubtedly receive an endless stream of ideas and suggestions of good things to do. The question is - how you determine the difference between the good things and the God things? Said another way, how do you prune some of the good things in order to make more room for the God things to grow and bear fruit?
Resources and Tools
Pruning is hard and often painful work. When I first entered the 3DM disciple-making vehicle of Huddle, I thought my focus would primarily be on learning the information. After about the fifth or sixth Huddle session, the information and teaching of the Circle and Semi-Circle LifeShapes started a change within me. I realized that God had been saying a host of things (for a long while) that I wasn’t particularly paying attention to. Over the course of several months, I started applying the LifeShapes to my own journey and began to move from simply having the Information toward living a life worthy of Imitation. This involved a lot of processing, prioritizing, and pruning.
What is the difference in me from then and now? A significant difference has to do with my understanding and application of the Semi-Circle.
In the very beginning, we recognize that God established a rhythm of work and rest. God rested on the seventh day not because of being tired, but rather to help us to understand that this is part of the healthy rhythm of life. This rhythm is amplified and given significant clarity in Jesus’ teaching in John 15:1-8 as we see how moving intentionally from rest to work with appropriate times of pruning will enable greater growth and fruit in the Kingdom.
What’s my point? The practical reality is that there is most likely some pruning that needs to be done in your schedule and in you as a disciple of Jesus Christ. This, by the way, is one of the things that the Three Dimensional Discipleship Assessment referred to in my last blog will help to uncover. Once you see what God is saying to you, the next question becomes what are you going to do about it?
Often, the “What am I going to do about it” question is challenging. After all there are so many good things in my calendar each day and throughout the week. Where do I begin to prune?
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens … Ecclesiastes 3:1
For everything there is a time and a season under the heavens. There are a host of good things we could do that could fill the schedules of multiple staff people. Trying to do it all or be all things to all people creates a rhythm of life that is not sustainable for the long term. These rhythms are not indicative of the rhythm of life that Jesus demonstrated with his disciples. In listening to God, we need to humble ourselves and submit and surrender the many good things in our life and schedule so that the God things can grow and bear a Kingdom harvest that is a thirty, sixty, and one hundred fold.
From Good to God?
As we close, read John 15:1-8. Pause and pray inviting the Father to share with you the good branches that you are to prune in this season so that God-glorifying fruit can be produced in the season to come.
To learn more about Resources and Coaching related to Small church on a BIG Mission – go to www.smallchurchbigmission.org.