A Pruning or Just a Mess?

You could call this article “Where have all the people gone?” Or “Why are so many pastors leaving?”


Churches are smaller, and not everyone who left is home watching Andy Stanley on YouTube. Most of those who are gone are just that—gone!


Truth is, churches and leaders are a smaller band on the backside of COVID-19 than when it all started. However, some are smaller yet stronger.


A lot of what happens from here depends on your outlook. If this is a mess, you and I are in trouble. If it’s pruning, there is cause to rejoice.


I can’t seem to escape John 15 these days. I recently noticed an interesting phrase in the Amplified Bible. Speaking of Jesus, the Vine and the Father, the Vinedresser, Jesus says that those branches which do not bear fruit are “taken away.” That seems to fit today’s church news.


A lot of people were taken away. Later Jesus says “they” gather those branches to be burned. I’m not sure who “they” are, but it doesn’t seem to be the Father. That’s for theologians or people smarter than me to sort.


Then we find that the fruitful branches get pruned to become more productive.


Pruning, then, is an honor!


If you bear fruit and experience pruning, the Trinity believes you are capable of more than you think you are.


But much of how this all turns out depends on your outlook and mine. If we moan and complain, we won’t see blessings as they tumble in our direction.


If we’re thanking God for the pruning, we will pray more, plan more and innovate in ways that lead to God doing more extraordinary things than we could ask or think.


Consider the part of your church family no longer joining you. I’m willing to bet that you’ve lost some toxic members, a few time wasters, and many who never give, only take. If that’s a pruning, I’m up for it any day.



3 thoughts on “A Pruning or Just a Mess?”

  1. Randall Sanford

    And, perhaps, if we get “pruned” off from where we were attached, God may graft us in where we are even more fruitful.


    Recently I watched a couple of videos where Christians attempted to chat with Muslims are Balboa Park. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g-TJ8GUP9Q
    It was difficult to watch as this Christian man who obviously did not know his Bible. Instead of saying “I dont know how to answer that. Can I get back to you?” they would use foul language and try to demean the Muslims. This man is product of the poor preaching we see today. Christians just don’t know how to share their faith using the evidences of scripture, facts of archaeology, logic and reason. Here is a link to my short videos on talking with Muslims. See https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsxrCFG7MMtFWRWk_GBiazGpnrk66_Yrn
    Witnessing to the lost is NOT rocket science. A few facts about the Bible, and Quran and thinking Muslims will rethink their faith. Blessings to you Pastor Ralph! I will retire in June and I live close by. Let me know if I can help with ministry in your area. Shalom.

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