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View Evaluating the Fruitfulness of a Church

Evaluating the Fruitfulness of a Church

Jesus was hungry and seeing a fig tree, he went up but found nothing but leaves…  Matthew 21:18-19

Jesus cares about fruitfulness, whether it’s a fig tree, a Christian’s life, or a church.  How does one evaluate the fruit of a church?  We need to look at the fruit and the roots.  A farmer looks at the quantity and quality of the fruit – for unless the farmer has both, he’ll soon be out of business.  The farmer also looks at the health of the tree – looking down to the roots, the soil, trunk, etc – to determine what can be done to make the tree even more fruitful. 

“How can we evaluate Fruitfulness in a church?”

The following tool is designed to help the pastor and key leaders to assess their health so they can be more fruitful.  The pastor and each leader are asked to fill it out honestly and confidentially and send their results to Dr. Larry Sherman, who will prepare a report based on your input. 

Note: Circle your answers for each statement below on the 5 point scale: 5 = “this is really true of us” and 1 = “this is not true of us.”  Try not to answer “3” unless this is exactly how you feel.

� 1. TAP ROOT:  Mission of the church is clear:
1,2,3,4,5 – Most of our members/regular attenders could accurately state the mission and vision of the church if asked.
1,2,3,4,5 – Most of our members/regular attenders are working in specific ways to accomplish that mission and could tell you how their gifts and ministry is accomplishing that.
1,2,3,4,5 – Decisions by the key leaders are regularly made with reference to the mission of the church.
1,2,3,4,5 – There is a spiritual focus in the church, growing dependence on God, and a deep desire to trust God and follow Him into an exciting future for the church

� 2. BIG ROOTS: The Leaders who are the pillars of the church:
1,2,3,4,5 – We have more leaders involved than a year ago.
1,2,3,4,5 – Our leaders are better trained and equipped than a year ago.
1,2,3,4,5 – Our leaders work as a team to help the pastor lead the church.  This enriches them and encourages the church.
1,2,3,4,5 – Our pastor and leaders have disciplined spiritual lives, happy families, and healthy lifestyles.
1,2,3,4,5 – We have at least 20 leaders in the church

� 3.SOIL: Mission Field is understood:
1,2,3,4,5 – Most of our members/regular attenders could state how unique ministries of our church are designed to reach specific needs/people in our ministry area (your mission field).
1,2,3,4,5 – Our leaders make key decisions about which ministries to support and which ones to “kill” based on how to effectively reach our mission field.
1,2,3,4,5 – More people in our community know who our church is, where it is, and know something about our ministry.
1,2,3,4,5 – If our church would close, the community would miss us.

� 4. TRUNK: The financial stability that grows to support a growing church.
1,2,3,4,5 – We have more givers than a year ago giving more to the church.
1,2,3,4,5 – The members/regular attenders are growing in their understanding that growing as stewards of their time, talent and treasure is growth in discipleship.  The offering is an act of “spiritual worship.”
1,2,3,4,5 – We are investing in growth: at least 5% of our budget goes for local outreach, advertising, etc.  And we are giving at least 10% of our budget in mission beyond ourselves (e.g. through the ECC and GLC).

� 5. BIG BRANCHES:  We are growing disciples who increasingly can produce fruit.
1,2,3,4,5 – There are more disciples than a year ago.
1,2,3,4,5 – We have a clear way to develop disciples.
1,2,3,4,5 – We have clear process for a guest to: come to Christ, grow in Christ, connect with the church, commit to membership, join in our mission according to their spiritual gifts and passions.
1,2,3,4,5 – We have a membership class where this is made clear and where new members gain in their enthusiasm for what God is doing at our church.

� 6. THE LEAVES: The Word is proclaimed in ways to lead to life transformation.  (The Word never returns void but accomplishes God’s purposes):
1,2,3,4,5 – The Word is clearly proclaimed in the preaching and teaching.
1,2,3,4,5 – Jesus Christ is the focus of worship, preaching and discipleship.
1,2,3,4,5 – There is life change occurring each week in terms of people coming to Christ and/or disciples making decisions to follow Christ more completely.
1,2,3,4,5 – Children, teens and parents are excited about the ministry of our church.  Kids and teens are growing as disciples.
� 7. THE FRUIT:  More new believers, more disciples, better disciples.
1,2,3,4,5 – We have more new believers than last year.
1,2,3,4,5 – Our people are equipped to lead others to Christ and given the encouragement and tools to do so.
1,2,3,4,5 – Our church is growing by 3% per year.
1,2,3,4,5 – We are not losing fruit: i.e. new believers are not going nowhere or moving elsewhere.

110-140: sounds like the church at Antioch.  You may still want to raise your score in key areas.
80-109: you have significant work to do in key areas; but with prayer and focused effort, you should be able to move forward.
50-79: you have vital work to do.  Major changes are needed to become fruitful.
Below 50: you have critical decisions to make about the sustainability of the church.

If you have confidential comments about any of the above, please write them on the below.
Please email your responses to (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Or send it to:
Dr. Larry L. Sherman
1107 Gallop Lane
South Lyon, MI 48178
If you have questions, you may email them to me or call me at 248-756-3202.

Note to Pastors and Leaders of Churches taking the Fruitfulness Survey:

I will write up a report based on your responses and present it to the leadership of the church. 

Option A: The church may be deemed to be fruitful and adjustments will be recommended.
Option B: The church may be deemed to be in a critical stage and adjustments will be recommended.
Option C: The church may be deemed to be in a crisis stage and major adjustments will be needed.

If the church is in Option B or Option C, there will be a series of meetings to gain a sense what God is saying about the viability and future fruitfulness of this church.

With Option C, the end result may be new direction for the plant so the can move toward fruitfulness; or the end result may be merger, the pastor becoming bivocational, or closure of the church with the assets going to help plant a new church. 

With all churches, a three-step process is listed below:
Meet with Pastor – review this analysis
Meet with Church leadership – plan developed
Meet with Congregation – share final results and time frame


Category:Fruitfulness - Years 2-3