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:
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.