By James Holland, Sr.
“You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit and that your fruit shall remain. That whatsoever you ask the Father in my name, He shall give it to you.” John 15:16
In leadership the objective is to identify the harvest and then get involved in the process of gathering the harvest. God has ordained (appointed) us to bring forth the fruit and to be effective. God tells us in John 15:16 “He has chosen us.” This means He will equip us to be able to do what He has appointed us to do. The verse continues “that you should go and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain.” This is a powerful statement from the Lord. We are to go! Go where? Into the harvest to bring forth fruit.
In order to have fruit that remains, we must continue to bring in a fresh harvest. This results in producing more leaders and more churches, thus the kingdom of God continues not only to grow but also has a great impact upon this world. Producing fruit is not a request, but a commandment. God has guaranteed to every generation that there will be a harvest for the gathering. God has made a tremendous investment in our lives. Make no mistake about it, He is expecting a return.
It doesn’t matter how much talent or ability we have if we are not seeing fruitfulness in our lives. If we are not being fruitful, we must find out why! In John 15:11, the Word declares “These things have I spoken with you that my joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full.”
Do you see the connection here? Being fruitful and seeing results that bring glory to God gives us a release of joy in our lives – the joy that Jesus gives. Could this be why so many in the kingdom are miserable and discontent? The cry of the Lord is for laborers. How can we expect those in the pew to work in the harvest if we in leadership refuse to go to the field? We need to be leaders that lead by example. We must realize that we are probably witnessing our last window of opportunity to reach this generation. Time is against us. We must work now! Unfortunately, many today seem to be hiding behind the badge of leadership to excuse themselves from being fruitful. This must be corrected.
We need to understand that just having a lot of activity doesn’t necessarily mean we are being productive. This is a deception that Satan loves for Christians to buy into. There are many who are very busy, yet, in the final analysis, they have very little fruit in their lives. There is a saying that goes like this:
Messed up people produce messed up families; messed up families produce messed up neighborhoods; messed up neighborhoods produce messed up cities; messed up cities produce messed up states; and messed up states produce messed up nations. Do you get the picture? Non-fruitful leaders produce non-fruitful churches; non-fruitful churches produce a passive mindset about everything. It’s like the farmer who finds a weed in his field and says because he found a weed in his field he isn’t going to work in that field anymore. “I’ll just stop planting until I can find a field that has no weeds.” So now the farmer enters the “excuse mode” instead of working the field and gathering a harvest in spite of the weeds. There are no perfect situations so stop making excuses and let us all just do what God said we can do – BE FRUITFUL!
In Ecclesiastes 10:10, we read the following statement: “If the ax is dull and the edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.” What is this really saying to us? The scripture is conveying to us that we need greater understanding, critiquing, and proper teaching to become more effective. Simply put, we need to sharpen our skills. One of the things that is so devastating to many believers today is that they are not fruitful, so they become cold, indifferent, and adopt a defeatism mindset. This is never the will of God.
We must learn how to connect with people. Notice I said learn. It doesn’t come easy for many of us. Jesus tells us to be fruitful. We must, first of all, be obedient to the Word. Then we must also understand what He wants us to do. We have to continue to sharpen our skills. That is, we need to continually be trained. We need to constantly expand our mind in absorbing the Word of God. We need to have a “teachable spirit.” We are not called to leadership simply to maintain what we have, but rather to expand and bring forth more fruit. We are called to be salt and light. Jesus tells us that when we are in compliance to the Word and in fellowship with Him, there will be fruit. He tells us to “abide in me.”
Many times we spend time and money in human efforts that become an end in themselves while producing little, if any, fruit at all. Our methods are not sacred, our message is! If something we are doing isn’t working, then stop doing it – even though that may be the only method we have used!
To be an effective (fruitful) leader, you must be committed to the message and the vision, but not necessarily the method. Airplane pilots are required to take two weeks in re-training twice a year in order to sharpen their skills. Why? Because people’s lives are dependent on how skilled they are. How much more important is it for us to continue our training?
We also have to learn to do the right things at the right time. There is a time and a season for everything. We all go through seasons of life and only God knows the season we are in. So, as leaders, we are required to lead through all the seasons of life. There is a time to lead in planting (getting the seed of the Word into the lives of people), a time of watering and caring for the seed (instruction in overcoming and growing), and a time of harvesting.
Also, as we are fruitful, there will be times of pruning in our lives so we will become even more fruitful, or stronger in the process. When you are not sure of the season you are in, it opens the door for the enemy to attack your progress.
Where are We in Time?
There is a definite timeline from the beginning of the world through all of human history until now. Each moment on that timeline required different types of people doing different kinds of jobs. So we must know at what point we are on this timeline in order to understand what we need to do today.
Right now the gospel is spreading more rapidly than ever before. Sociologist are predicting that by 2050 Christianity will be the largest faith in the world. It is estimated that more than 70 percent of the progress in world evangelism from the time of Christ until today has occurred since the early 1900s. It is also interesting to note that 70 percent of that progress has occurred since World War II. Of all this progress, 70 percent has happened in just the last few years. This is a great time to be a leader!
As a leader, we must learn to articulate how we fit into God’s plan for this generation. The time is now! Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached into all the world as a witness to all nations, and then will the end come.” This is exactly where our world is currently. The political, military, social and economic pressures that prevail throughout the world are actually opening the door for the completion of God’s plan. God Himself has designed this hour. It has been given to us. God has positioned this generation for this miraculous time.
What Must We Do?
In Romans 14:12 Paul writes, So then everyone of us shall give account of himself to God.” Paul is reminding us that we are accountable to God and to those around us. There can never be productivity without accountability. Once we recognize this principle and begin to apply it in our lives, the Lord will meet us in the harvest. John 12:24 says, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abideth alone.” 0, how we need to understand this. We, of ourselves and by ourselves, will never accomplish the will of God. We must crucify our egos that constantly seek to set us on thrones. When we realize that God will meet with us and send others to help us, then we will see fruit begin to grow in our labors. We need each other to be effective. It’s God’s team! It’s not the me, myself and I team; it’s us, we and our team! Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him to pray. It was a team effort. It still is.
It takes one hundred pounds of rain on good soil where good seed has been planted to produce one pound of food from the earth. It’s a team effort. Before you can have one bushel of corn, it will take between ten and twenty tons of water to flow over one acre of planted seed. Simply put, it takes a lot of effort on our part, God’s part, and other’s with whom we work for there to be any productivity. Having this revelation will help us meet God in the harvest. It will also encourage us to help each other. Our potential is unlimited!
Understand that once we allow God to begin to use us, we won’t need to measure ourselves by each other’s expectations but rather by simply letting God grow His will for us in our lives. God uses everyday people to be great leaders. Your productivity doesn’t necessarily have to be as great or as impressive as someone else’s. All we have to be aware of is that something is happening. Remember, there is destiny in the seed that
God is allowing us to plant and that is being planted in the fertile soil of our soul as well. Because Jesus has already guaranteed us a harvest, we can assume that there is power in the seed and future in the seed to produce that harvest!
God is not depending on any other generation to reach this generation; He is depending on us. He will not send the original Apostles down here to do His will. He will call and send us if we are willing. As leaders in the twenty-first century church, we have the potential to touch more people within a week than those great men and women before us could potentially touch in a lifetime.
God is challenging us as leaders to roll up our sleeves, focus our eyes on the fields before us and become the laborers that will no doubt gather His greatest harvest to date! So, dump that old ego-worshipping mindset that sometimes is projected, “Don’t do as I do; Do as I say.”
James agrees with Jesus when He says be “doers of the Word not hearers only.” The church doesn’t need lords; it already has the one and only Lord! What the church, our world, and our cities do need is productive Godly leaders! Will you be one?
The above article, “Becoming Fruitful” was written by James Holland, Sr. The article was excerpted from chapter six in Holland’s book Developing the Ministry Within You.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.