As a church leader, you work hard to contribute to the conditions for growth, but it’s ultimately God who grows a fruitful ministry. So, how do you measure the effectiveness of your work?

fruitful ministry

Fruitful Ministry

There is a reason Jesus so frequently used the image of growing fruit in his teachings. It’s an apt metaphor for our efforts, God’s role, and the end results. We plant the seeds and tend their growth. As any gardener knows, there are multiple systems and components that work together to bring about a harvest: planting, irrigation, sunlight, nutrients in the soil, weeding, pruning. Then we see and harvest the fruit– the results– of God’s blessing on our labor.

How do we then know how well we are gardening? We look at the fruit. Is it plentiful? Healthy? Of good quality? In the same way, we should assess the results of our ministry. If the results are found wanting, we can then look to our systems and processes to see if one or more of them may need to be shored up.

Look at the outcomes

Consider the following:

  • To what degree are you really accomplishing the mission of Jesus?
  • Are you making more and better disciples?
  • Are you seeing the impact of loving God and loving others?
  • Can you point to specific ways you are serving as the hands, feet and voice of Jesus in the world and the results of that investment?
  • What is happening differently in the real world because of your work in it?

Natural Church Development

NCD (Natural Church Development) is a great way to look at your church’s health. And digging deeper, you can assess the ministry systems to explore what’s working and what you may need to improve:

  • Empowering leadership
  • Gift-based ministries
  • Passionate spirituality
  • Effective structures
  • Inspiring worship service
  • Holistic small groups
  • Need-oriented evangelism
  • Loving relationships

How are you facilitating the environments, relationships, and processes that feed into fruitful ministry? These are what help people move closer to Jesus, engage with him, become followers of him, become part of communities, discover their gifts, and use them in ministry. Taken together, these systems form the core of healthy ministry, making it effective, sustainable, and– ultimately– fruitful.

How are you facilitating the environments, relationships, and processes that feed into fruitful ministry? Share on X


Releasing Your Church’s Potential– Anchored to the eight essential qualities of Natural Church Development, Releasing Your Church’s Potential guides you through the process of designing and implementing change in your personal life, ministry and church.

The Disciple Assessment– You invest a lot of time, thought and energy into your discipleship efforts. The Disciple Assessment helps you identify a person’s areas of strength and needs for growth. The results provide data to help people take the next best step as they follow Jesus on a holistic journey of discipleship.

Upcoming Fuller DMin: Leading for Healthy Growth


This Doctor of Ministry cohort at Fuller Seminary is focused on a vision for healthy growth. It has been designed for pastors who are leading existing churches and for planters who are starting new churches.

Especially during these challenging times, it’s important that we zero in on the essentials. The program focuses on missional discipleship, transformational leadership, and fruitful ministry.

Together, these components create a simple ministry flow that results in healthy ministry growth, flourishing churches, and communities reached with the gospel. We’ve put together a cohort that helps you live into each of these areas in turn.

If you’d like more information on the cohort, you can find it here.

Photo by Ryan Arnst on Unsplash