The Lift Project: Shaping Culture: Pruning Time

“What is some good stuff that needs to be pruned, stick stuff that we’ve not been dealing with, or dead stuff that needs to go?” That question from the Henry Cloud videos  in this 7th and last week of Shaping Culture class in the LIFT Project  is one that will stick with me.

It’s also a question not to ask once, but to be revisited on a regular basis.

In video 1, Henry dealt with “pruning” basics.

1. You prune when the bush produces more buds or a vine more branches then it can handle.

What are the good things in your life that are for a different season, not for today, but for tomorrow?

2. You prune what is sick, but not getting well.

As Henry points out, “Great leaders have the ability to cut losses before they lose everything. Peter Drucker considered this an essential leadership skill for great leaders — the principle/ability to abandon.

3. You prune dead branches in the way, blocking other branches from growth.

That one seems obvious. Easy to see when it comes to gardening, too often a bit more challenging in ministry.

One man’s dead branch in ministry is another’s sick, but getting well. Then there’s the challenge of knowing is this the season for this good work or is it for tomorrow.

That leads back to Henry’s question, “What is some good stuff that needs to be pruned, stick stuff that we’ve not been dealing with, or dead stuff that needs to go?” He says this is not merely a leadership exercise to do once, but as a regular habit. It’s not just the question for the leader to ask, but for team input as well.

Video 2: Pruning Moment

In the 2nd video Henry built on the pruning image to talk about the “pruning moment”. That’s the moment you own the situation. You come to the conclusion, “If I don’t prune this, my tomorrow will not reach the vision God has given me.”

It’s a stewardship issue. If I don’t prune what God has given me to prune, that will hinder the growth he wants. By keeping connected what today needs to be pruned, you impact what God desires to do tomorrow. (Yes, the Holy Spirit can work a miracle, but I was wisely advised is when the Holy Spirit wants to work a miracle, let Him work it. But the best ministry strategy is not “pray for a miracle” at the desperation point. Better to pray along the way, thanking the Holy Spirit the biggest miracle is He works through you and me.)

So here’s some questions Henry gives to face the pruning moment, to own it and to follow through with the pruning you know (and everybody else knows) needs to be done.

What have you been tolerating that you need to prune in order to move forward?

Going forward, how difficult do you sense it will be to create some necessary endings?

And if pruning is a challenge, then ask — what experiences in your life made you overly concerned about how people respond?

One of Henry’s suggestion to develop a pruning ability is to have people who hold you accountable to prune (that’s why these are not only individual questions, but team questions in ministry). These are also questions for myself, what do I need to prune from my life for further growth? And perhaps even more, when will I prune?

So what do you need to prune for further growth? And who do you need to be having the “prune” conversation with today?

The next round of classes in the Lift project start September 17th, check out the courses and register here.

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