The power of two simple words…

Posted: January 2, 2013 by efenster in Ideas

Bearing FruitDo you want your church in 2013 to be more effective and more fruitful?  If so, consider two simple words–“so that.”  According to Lovett Weems and Tom Berlin in their book entitled, Bearing Fruit:  Ministry with Real Results, these are the two most powerful words for leadership.  Why?  Because they can help leaders and their churches make sure that what they are doing connects with their ultimate objective, their mission.  

Your church’s mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  Using the words “so that” will help your church keep focused on this mission throughout 2013.  So, how’s it work?  Use them for any activity your church is either presently doing or is considering doing–such as holding a Vacation Bible school (VBS) this coming summer.  Complete the statement, “We are holding this event so that…”  “We are holding a Vacation Bible school this summer so that…”  Make sure that the end of the statement connects with your church’s mission to make disciples and transform the world.

Using “so that” helps us move beyond simply holding an event, such as a VBS, by reminding us why we are doing it.  It pushes us to make sure our reason for providing the event  will help us fulfill our mission.  It’s easy for us to quickly see that “so that” will help us question why we are doing our annual fish and tenderloin supper for the community.   But it will also cause us to realize that simply holding a worthy event, such as a VBS, is not enough.  It will help us be clear as to why we’re doing the event, and it will help us be more intentional in making sure the event’s outcomes will further our mission.

In the case of VBS, simply holding the annual event won’t be enough.  We will become very concerned about not only how children will be discipled during the week of VBS but in the weeks that follow, especially for those who come from unchurched families.  We begin to ask questions such as:  Which families are unchurched?  How do we build ongoing relationships with them?  How can we pray for them? and What’s going to be our next step after VBS ends?

So at the next meeting of your church’s leadership, challenge them to begin using these two simple words in 2013.  By using them, your church will both more effectively carry out its mission and, as a result, bear more fruit for Jesus and His Kingdom!

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director for Church Development


  1. Debbie says:

    Once again you offer great thoughts. So often we do things in a church
    just because we have always done them. Why not ask ourselves why we do them and how they lead us towards fulfilling our mission.

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