About Fourth Year MinistriesWe exist to bring glory to God the equipping the church to live lives worthy of the calling we have received in Christ. We seek to do this by emphasizing the biblical church leadership which has been given by the risen Christ for this purpose of equipping the saints.
Fourth Year Ministries is a ministry of Howell Bible Church.
Our StoryFourth Year Ministries began as its own 501 (c) 3.
The vision was to raise awareness of the forgotten biblical officer of the local church Evangelist. We sought to work with already established local churches to help motivate and equip the saints to be faithful in personal evangelism while also desiring to see Evangelists raised up to continue the work in each congregation of overseeing and equipping the saints for the long-term.
For three and a half years, we spoke with a great number of local church leaders, across denominations. The general consensus was the same.
Yes, we could do better at equipping our people to evangelize.
Yes, we believe the ministry of reconciliation is important.
The solution that most sought after was program or product based. Had we sold services, we likely could have boasted great success. However, we were confident that offering short-term programs, services, and products will not lead to the long-term change that is necessary.
Hiring a travelling teacher to run a seminar for a local church family is kind of like trying to hire an additional parent for a weekend for a normally single-parent household. The results of such a short-term figure will not last.
We encountered the same questions and objections time and time again. Eventually, it lead us to publish a book addressing all of these issues in one volume. You can click the picture or the link to check out the book on Amazon.
Fourth Year Ministries planted Howell Bible Church in 2014, which operates under a plurality of elders with both a pastor and evangelist. It is our desire to plant more churches with this biblical form of leadership in the future. We are also eager to do what we can to help others do the same.
Why Fourth Year Ministries?
Many have asked where the name Fourth Year Ministries comes from. It is based on this parable Jesus told in Luke 13:6-9.
Then Jesus told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the worker who tended the vineyard, 'For three years now, I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and each time I inspect it I find none. Cut it down! Why should it continue to deplete the soil?' But the worker answered him, 'Sir, leave it alone this year too, until I dig around it and put fertilizer on it. Then if it bears fruit next year, very well, but if not, you can cut it down.'"
What's the point?
The landowner expects fruit. When he doesn't find any he wants the tree cut down.
We recognize that this language is very similar to the language Jesus uses in the letters to the churches found in Revelation. Jesus threatens unrepentant churches that fail to produce fruit.
Do you think God expects fruit? Both from individual Christians and from local churches?
The Bible teaches that God does expect fruit.
Six Important Observations From This Parable1. The Landowner Is Patient.
In searching for fruit the landowner demonstrates patience. But his patience will not last forever.
2. The Decision To Remove The Tree.
The decision is not simply for lack of fruit. A fruitless tree is worthless on its own. Additionally, it becomes a detriment to its surroundings. In the parable, the landowner didn't want the tree to deplete the soil for other plants growing in his vineyard. Lack of fruit in our individual lives and in our local churches does not just affect ourselves - it affects those around us, too!
3. The Worker's Response.
His response demonstrates he was not afraid of working toward a solution. They were hopeful of turning the situation around. He suggests an action plan. Implementing the plan is working toward producing fruit. The worker also knows that the tree itself must be prompted to bring forth fruit. He can't simply hang some fruit on the branches and celebrate his accomplishment.
4. Removing Hindrances.
The hopeful worker first plans to dig around the tree. He seeks to remove anything that may be choking out fruitfulness from the surroundings.
5. Proper Nourishment.
After removing harmful surrounding influences the hopeful worker intends to provide proper nourishment. He brings in some fertilizer. The worker understands that he cannot make the tree bring forth fruit but he can encourage the tree to do what its nature intends for it to do. He removed hindrances and provided healthy stimulus.
Finally, the hopeful worker says that if this effort is done and still no fruit is produced then it is right to cut down the fruitless tree. If the tree bears no fruit under these circumstances then the tree is beyond hope.
Fruitfulness cannot be faked. It can't be done for you or for your local church.
Therefore, we do not sell a program or claim to be able to come and produce fruit for a fee.
Instead, we seek to help remove hindrances. We promote health primarily by focusing on the church leadership design given by Jesus for His church. This design is most fully revealed by the Apostle Paul in the book of Ephesians. This must be read carefully with the rest of Scripture to understand the whole design.
We encourage removing the hindrances of man-made leadership designs which glorify our human institutions and leaders. We encourage the healthy stimulus of moving toward Jesus' leadership design. We focus on glorifying God, edifying the saints, and evangelizing the world. With this foundation rightly laid fruitfulness is inevitable.
We are unified with all who hold to the biblical gospel and who trust in Christ alone for their salvation. We are eager to work and pray with you about how we can bring forth more fruit in our own lives and our local congregations for the glory of our God.
Our co-founder, Joe Kohler, has written several books. Two of these are on the church and on church leadership. We encourage you to check them out. Click the links or the pictures to get yours from Amazon.
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Contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fourth Year Ministries
C/O Howell Bible Church
1875 N. Eager Rd.
Howell, MI 48855
You can securely support the ministry of Fourth Year Ministries through giving to Howell Bible Church online by clicking below.
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen.
(Romans 11:36, NET)