According to recent research, in the average congregation, it takes 85 people an entire year to reach one person for Christ. Many churches do not see anyone come to Christ in a year. More than 90 percent of churches are declining or growing less than the community around them. (RainerResearch.com)
Yet Jesus states that you will be able to spot those who are His disciples because they will bear fruit for the Kingdom (John 15:8). And, the Gospel of John tells us that disciples will bear fruit, much fruit and eternal fruit. (John 15:5, 8). Jesus commented that a good tree will bear good fruit (Matthew 7:18) and that the tree that does not bear fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire (Matthew 7:19).
Yet when we look at the average Christian there is little fruit as a result of their salvation experience. Fruit in the sense of the fruit of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:22-23) in their personal lives and their relationships – especially in their marriage and often in their family lives. “Much fruit” as they are not influencing others to examine what the Christian faith is all about and who Jesus really is. They are having little positive, spiritual impact upon those around them and so there is no “eternal fruit”.
The solution: I am not sure to be honest. Maybe, if I knew, I would write a book. No, don’t think so as there are too many books being written already that try to market what one person has been doing sucessfully in one place at the direct of the Holy Spirit and sell it as a package to others because it worked for them. Well, so much for the book idea. I guess there will be no speaking tour to promote the new book.
But let me make a suggestion: The lack of bearing “fruit” in one’s own life is a direct result of following Jesus at a safe distance and not being intimate with Him so that He can speak into your personal life – every closet open, even skeleton examined. The lack of influence and impact bringing forth “much fruit” in our relationships is because we have been hurt and thus retreat from meaningful relationships that would give us opportunity to love others and to relate on a meaningful level and speak to others about our dynamic relationship with Jesus and the night-and-day difference He is making in our lives (1 Peter 2:9 The Message Version). Maybe we are just too busy and thus too tired. Sad! The lack of “eternal fruit” or seeing people saved and transformed is a direct result of our lack of love for the Lord because if we loved Him as we should we would obey Him (his comment found in John 14:23-24) and He did command us to go into all the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). So, the lack of fruit in our lives and ministry is a direct result, in my mind, of a lack of love for Jesus Christ.
Love to hear your comments on the subject – because we all admit that something needs to change…