The Vine and the Branches

The Vine and the Branches

03 July 2023

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." 

John 15:1-5

As the end of the school year approaches, with all the frantic activity and fatigue, exams and excitement that brings - I’m struck afresh by these words of Jesus the Teacher, and what they might mean for us as church school leaders today.

As leaders, we long to be fruitful, to be those who “abound” with good fruit. Not just in terms of our exam results, rankings and OFSTED inspections - but in developing children and young people who grow in character, confidence and Christlikeness. And not only do we want that for our young people, but our staff teams, families and ourselves as well!

However the secret to this “abounding” that Jesus speaks of, is so contrary to the wisdom of the world. So simple and yet so incredibly hard.

It is found, Jesus says, not in doing, achieving and strategising more, but in abiding.

According to Rabbi Jesus, in order to abound in good fruit for him, we must first and foremost abide with him. 

The two are not and cannot be mutually exclusive. 

At least not if we want to bear fruit that is more than superficial (looking and sounding good for a short time), but rather has real, lasting significance and substance.

This, Jesus says, is the secret to abounding in fruit that lasts.

How we begin to redress the balance between the biblical call to abide and the daily demands to abound is the subject of a future blog (and to be honest, the challenge of a lifetime). However for now, how about turning off your devices for 5 minutes and rereading these words of Jesus in John 15 a couple of times?

Notice how hard it is - the resistance, exhaustion and distraction that rises within you.

Quietly bring it before the God who loves you, and never created you to carry it alone.


Thank you, Liam, for this helpful reflection, focusing our minds on what actually matters.
Posted on Tuesday, July 11, 2023 17:41 by Alasdair Coates

Post Comment


We find the best leaders to inspire academic success and nurture faith. Register with us >