What Happens In Pruning?

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Dear Members & Attenders,

A neighbor on our street radically pruned their oak tree, and its bare, cut-back state was a shock to my eyes, even as its vigor and size were undeniable. While my neighbor’s tree just looks different, it’s still the same essential tree – and an arborist will point out that it will be a healthier tree for the pruning...

Church planting is a pruning experience. Within the next twelve months I suspect many who view Trinity’s people and ministries will have a similar shock. What will be healthy about this? First, people who are behind the scenes at Trinity will be out front in church planting works. That is great for people to bear weight spiritually and to make an impact reaching people that Trinity simply cannot reach (in Mulberry and North Lakeland). But also, it will be healthy because as people who presently bear weight at Trinity leave, then we will need people still here to step up.

We train our kids to help with chores at home. And as they grew, we divided up the work among several family members. But as they have graduated one-by-one and left our home, those chores have steadily fallen back on Julie and me. We did these chores before we had kids and we take them back up as kids move on. And that is what life and ministry is like in a church-planting church!

Jesus (God in human form) said that He came not to be served but to serve. It is not evil to serve or be asked to serve. And clearly there are lots of various roles in any church. But a humbling reality about who we are is that we have attracted lots of educated professionals. And people with management experience and resources rarely serve – they direct. They rarely get paid for service roles; they pay for others to work and provide service. So to be wise about who we are, and what life around here is like, it’s going to be a year of pruning. I can’t wait to see what God does through our daughter churches, but I am just as eager to see how He works to keep us healthy also.

Things to pray for:

– Rejoice for God raising up church planters and church planting core groups. Praise Him for His good work in our 20-year history, and all the goodness we can see in changed lives and people who have come to Christ.

– Give thanks for the vision of Trinity’s leaders – to be committed to being a church-planting church. Thank the Lord for the faithfulness of the leaders (at all levels of Trinity’s ministries) who work to train and then give away real talent in new church planting core groups.

– How resistant to change are you? Ask the Lord to help you see the goodness of His pruning work (read John 15:1-8), and to open your eyes to possible ways you could serve at Trinity.

– Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a servant’s heart and an eagerness to serve – especially to serve the lost. Pray for discernment and a joyful spirit to both identify and joyfully work to serve where new roles open up because of existing workers going out with our daughter churches.

Tim Rice, Lead Pastor & Director of Church Planting
Trinity Presbyterian Church
301 N. Florida Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33801