Wed. Apr 14th, 2021

Jesus was not favorable toward plants that bore no fruit. He even cursed a fig tree that had promise without production. Jesus also taught on the danger of thorns. A plant choked by thorns lived but produced no fruit. Jesus was serious about productivity.

Can we be satisfied with Christians producing blossoms but no fruit? The cursed fig tree answers the question.

A Bradford pear is a hybrid plant that produces beautiful flowers. The Bradford pear looks good, but it never produces fruit. Not a single pear – ever! Do you know any “Bradford pear” saints? No ministry. No tithe. No offering. No home Bible studies taught! No fruit – ever! Jesus cursed a fig tree that did exactly the same thing.

Converts must not become “Bradford pear” saints. Jesus’ disciples are described as producing fruit. If we can teach converts doctrine, can we not also prepare them to be productive? Is productivity our expectation? It should be. Fruitfulness must be the goal.

Years ago, in a young church in eastern Louisiana, we intentionally focused on developing fruitful Christians. That focus has never changed. It has worked. It will work for you. Through trial and error, Bear Fruit became our second level for disciple-making. One of Bear Fruit’s eleven lessons teaches converts to share their testimony. Three lessons focus on Christian stewardship, including tithe and offering. Every graduate of my most recent Bear Fruit class has started tithing. Four classes deal with basic principles of Christian life. Teach people about Christian behavior, and they live it.

Dozens of churches use the same resource to help their converts bear fruit. Bear Fruit is one of over 20 church growth and disciple-making tools available at

Look for my new book The Science of Shepherding. It is a practical guide for being an effective pastor who grows people and thus grows a church.


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