And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” (Luke 13:6-9 ESV)
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. (John 15:8-10 ESV)
King Jesus is not really concerned with well-maintained buildings and programs. He is more interested in His Church carrying out the full breadth and depth of the Great Commission (see Matt. 28:18-20). If what we're doing right here and now is counterproductive or even non-value added to this calling, we need to get rid of it. No matter how much we may love the dead horse, it's got to go! The church in America today is in dire need of major pruning and cutting. As Collin Marshall and Tony Payne put it: “…most Christian churches today need to undertake a radical evaluation of what Christian ministry really is—what its aims and goals are, how it proceeds, and what part we all play in its exercise….structures don’t grow ministry any more than trellises grow vines, and that most churches need to make a conscious shift—away from erecting and maintaining structures, and towards growing people who are disciple-making disciples of Christ” (The Trellis and The Vine, 17).
The question remains, who will have the courage to do away with the excess that hinders us from doing what we've been commanded to do which is to make disciples of all the nations and then train them up to duplicate that same work? Who will have the courage to shoot the dead horse?