So where does the name Fourth Year Ministries come from?
It is based on a parable Jesus told in Luke 13:6-9. It goes like this:
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 where he 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.
Here are 6 observations from this parable
The Landowner Is Patient.
In searching for fruit the landowner demonstrates patience. But his patience will not last forever.
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!
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!
The hopeful worker first plans to dig around the tree. He seeks to remove anything that may be choking out fruitfulness from the surroundings.
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.
Stimulate or Simulate?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 two books on the church and on church leadership that we encourage you to check out.
If you have further questions, please contact us.
Don't forget to like us on Facebook (facebook.com/fourthyearministries)!
Contact us by email: email@example.com
Fourth Year Ministries
C/O Howell Bible Church
C/O Howell Bible Church
1875 N. Eager Rd.
Howell, MI 48855
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen.
(Romans 11:36, NET)