Ten Ministry Pruning Observations

Pruning is a verb. It requires action.

It involves cutting away dead or overgrown branches to increase fruitfulness and growth. You reduce the unwanted parts so there’s room and nutrients to grow more fully.

You can’t sort of prune something. It requires a cut.

Church ministries are often in need of pruning and it’s not always easy. Programs and ministries rise up for a season, fulfill the need, and then grow into a life of their own that no one feels the authority to remove once it’s over. Some churches have numerous ministry programs that people feel obliged to lead but don’t feel a passion for. As a result, we have half-hearted ministries, many of which need to be pruned for the sake of the growth and overall mission.

Here are ten observations about ministry pruning:

  1. Pruning isn’t demanded by the thing that needs to be pruned.
  2. It takes time to prune and requires a decisive act. You can’t sort of prune something.
  3. There’s always a bit of a mess while pruning – it doesn’t look pretty.
  4. The payoff from pruning is not always immediate, it’s in the future
  5. It is a risk on the part of the owner to prune – but it must be done.
  6. There’s nothing wrong with cutting back for a season. You can always prune “for now.”
  7. Pruning is not rejecting. Pruning is saying a more clear and confident “yes” to the main mission.
  8. Pruning can be painful. We easily become attached. Status quo in a volunteer organization is a tough nut to crack.
  9. God is the ultimate owner and we are the gardeners.
  10. We must be in tune with God’s voice to know when and what should be pruned.

He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. John 15:2


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