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We have been in a series of blogs about the various leadership roles in leading a small group or discipleship ministry. The series has compared the ongoing responsibilities in leading a congregational discipleship ministry to gardening. The comparisons are practical, informative and rooted in scripture. The roles that we have been examining come directly from a gardening book: picture, plan, prepare, plant, protect and problem solve and (pray – my addition).

Today we will focus on prune. We also read about pruning in John 15:1-2. “I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

I am so glad that our loving Father is the one who prunes because we can trust his motives and methods. As we consider leading a group or ministry, what can we learn about the pruning process? How do we join God in his work of pruning? What does this mean for our leadership?

I went back to my gardening book to understand the purpose of pruning. Here are some principles:

  • Pruning controls the size or shape of the plant.
  • Pruning increases strength, productivity and new growth.
  • Pruning removes dead, diseased or damaged plant material.

Gardeners prune because they are focused on the future health of the plants and garden. What are some of the possible parallels and implications? 

  • Small Group and Discipleship Ministry leaders strategize and pray about future growth and health of people, leaders and groups.
  • Leaders stop doing things that are not productive or helpful.
  • A leadership development process is in place and leaders are readily available.

What do you think? How has your church effectively developed leaders? What are some of the benefits? What processes have you used?

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