Thousands of congregations are in serious trouble. Children are not being taught the faith. Disciples are not being made. Lives are not being transformed. The poor are not being blessed. Communities are not being redeemed. These congregations know something is terribly wrong and in most cases, the problems have little to do with the pastor’s prayer life or whether the pastor takes weekly Sabbath time. In fact, in many of these churches, members deeply respect their pastors as sincere spiritual people of utmost personal faith and integrity, but they need more from their pastoral leaders.

They need leaders who define ministry in terms of fruitfulness, as well as faithfulness. They need pastors and lay leaders who ask about the outcomes of any given ministry or program, not just its process. Mostly, they need a vision of ministry that focuses on changing people’s lives. Absent that vision, ministry will fail.

In Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results (February 2011), Lovett Weems and Tom Berlin provide readers with the tools they need to assess the fruit their ministry bears in the lives of their congregations, their communities and the world.

Lovett H. Weems Jr. is Distinguished Professor of Church Leadership and Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. A local church pastor and seminary president for many years, he is the author of Church Leadership: Vision, Team, Culture and Integrity; Leadership in the Wesleyan Spirit; and Take the Next Step: Leading Lasting Change in the Church – all published by Abingdon Press.

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They need a vision of ministry that focuses on changing people’s lives.