Friday, August 13, 2010

Bearing Fruit in Leadership.

In today's world of information abundance and social networking you never know what one might see, hear or feel. Twitter is one, that as ridiculous as it may seem, is quite a useful way to get information on subjects of interest and successfully broadcast a message. However, do we always send the message we intended to send?

I "follow" a diverse array of characters on twitter such as sports figures, columnists, celebrities and worship leaders. Today, a certain Pastor of one of the Southeast's biggest mega churches "tweeted"  something that didn't quite sit well with me. Out of respect I won't mention any names but he is young, bright, inspirational and his sermons elevate the word of Jesus so that thousands have come to know Christ. God is certainly working through him and I am thankful for his role in God's kingdom. Here is what he said:

"  Having no turnover in your organization can be just as unhealthy as high turnover. Growth requires pruning."

Really? So, imagine I work for the church and I'm on my way to a morning staff meeting and I see this message. Growth requires Pruning? True, that is correct. What exactly is Pruning. In this example Pruning is turnover and it is required. Pruning is to "cut out" or for lack of a better word, terminate. Certainly he doesn't think you have to keep firing folks to grow. Does he? I know it's usually part of the natural process of growth and it happens but is it required?

I replied back, " Pruning is a poor choice of words. To cut for the sake of cutting?? How bout nurturing growth? Promotion? Encouraged change." I tried to send a direct message as to not broadcast my reply but as it turns out, if a person does not "follow" you, you cannot send them a direct private message. I don't think he liked my reply. He came back with the following and he was courteous enough to send me a direct message:

"See John 15:2-apparently Jesus thought prune was a very good word choice. I'm going w Jesus. Blessings!"

Touche! I'm certainly not going to argue with the word of God. I had to learn more about this passage. Let's take a look at John 15:2 and then some:

1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 

Now, God is saying something completely different to me here and it is clear as a bell where leadership is involved.  Good leadership is dear to my heart and poor leadership is much the same as sin to me. "He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit." THIS is where a termination happens. Non productive limbs on the tree must go.  "While every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." Pruning here isn't a termination. The limb remains intact. It is shaped, coached, and nurtured taking out the bad parts(actions, behaviors) and encouraging the good parts to grow better.

So Pastor GenX, , pruning is NOT turnover. Pruning is taking your fruit bearing members of your organization and making them better. If they bear no fruit, then you cut the limb from the vine. This is God's truth on leadership. Otherwise you are left with a rotting stem in fertile soil.

Although cutting bad limbs from your vine is all to often necessary it does not involve pruning. You certainly better be pruning and if you do this correctly, there will be much less turnover. Thanks for introducing me to this passage today. I suggest you revisit it again yourself Pastor Gen X.


Robert said...

Dear Vic,
As I go through life I am amazed at how many people in my life that I once had contact with whom either have come to know Jesus or Jesus was always a part of their life and I did not know it. Jesus was always a part of my life growing-up but there were many years where I was lost and struggled to get back on the right path.
Keep up the good work.
Robert E. Hammond

Vic Webb said...

Thanks Robert. Love ya bro. We miss you back in the GA.

Vic Webb said...

To follow up, Pastor "GenX" who I still will not name has blocked me from twitter. A bit harsh just coming from a slight disagreement on leadership and scripture. I still think he delivers an awesome message but I think it is skewed by his ego.

Vic Webb said...

As I've taken several days to ponder the events that inspired this blog, I've come to realize some important things about myself and my faith. No doubt I have grown in my walk with God but I still have much to learn. I certainly feel that I am right in my blog about leadership and how this scripture applies. But it has been brought to my attention (through Twitter)that my twitter posts and this blog were mere "shameless self promotion". If I am honest with myself there is some truth to that. That certainly wasn't my intention not the perception I wanted of myself. I could have simply written this blog about how that scripture applies to leadership rather than initiating a confrontation. I initiated a challenge and when it was answered I became more aggressive than necessary.

I let my own perceptions of another make me become what I have condemned. So, I stand today with my ego humbled. I've learned a great lesson whether anyone else did or not.