20 Important Things I’ve Learned in 60 years (I Wish I Had Learned Sooner) About Being Fruitful
Dr. Dave Williams

Dave Williams served as pastor of Mount Hope Church in Lansing, Michigan, for more than thirty years. In that time, Dave trained thousands of ministers through the Mount Hope Bible Training Institute, Dave Williams’ Church Planter’s School, and Dave Williams’ School for Pacesetting Church Leaders. Dave is a teacher, speaker, author, and trainer. He coaches church leaders, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and followers of Christ on how to live a pacesetting life. His three-pronged approach—spiritual, attitudinal, and practical—has transformed ordinary people into extraordinarily successful leaders in every field of endeavor. Click here to learn more about Dr. Dave Williams.

I am now in the final half of my life; perhaps final third. This past February I turned over the church I had pastored for 30+ years to my young protégé and assumed “bishop” duties in helping guide and oversee our 43 daughter churches in the United States and hundreds in Africa and Asia.

So, I speak like a Father today.

What’s important? What is a high priority? How can my time be best invested for the most productivity?

Personal experience is the fourth best teacher (Holy Spirit, God’s Word, and someone else’s experience is better).

I learned that there are three interlocking keys to everything fruitful in life

a. Spiritual
b. Attitudinal
c. Practical

So, here are the 20 Important Things About Being Fruitful I’ve learned in 60 years; things I wish I had learned sooner

Colossians 1:3, 9-15
We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

1. I learned that I am totally responsible for my own life.

It’s not up to somebody else to fix it for me, design it for me, or make it happen for me. I can’t blame my predecessor or my successor. I can’t blame unruly people or a “bad board.” I am responsible for my thoughts, words, decisions, and actions.

2. I’ve learned to believe that anything is possible! – Mark 9:23.

We never test the resources of God until we attempt the impossible.
– F.B. Meyer

Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.
– Corrie Ten Boom, 1976

You can defy the odds if God is working with you.

David did.
Gideon did.
The disciples did.

Shammah defended a pea patch for the king, fighting back hundreds of angry enemy troops. Others ran. He stayed … and won! Shammah was promoted from Private to General overnight.

3. I learned that I can’t give up on everybody because I was hurt by somebody – I Corinthians 11:22-24.

A friend betrayed Jesus, but He didn’t give up on everybody.

Someone will try to tear you down, berate you, misunderstand you, speak against you, lie about you, trash you, hurt you … don’t carry that hurt over to everyone.

4. I’ve learned that things work out better when I use my mouth to speak faith, encouragement and cheer rather than speaking sickness, lack, and the evening news.

Proverbs 15:4
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

Proverbs 15:4 MSG
Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim.

Proverbs 15:23
To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!

Proverbs 16:28
A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.

Proverbs 17:9
Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.

The contrast between the life of a loser and winner—involves their words.

5. I’ve learned that in Life I’ll never succeed alone.

In Acts 6 they selected men to help. The result: multiplication and increase.

If you want to be a success in life you need to get around people who have already been where you want to go.
– Dr. Dave Martin

I must select those I will allow in my circle.

Proverbs 13:20 MSG
Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.

Even Jesus needed help; he needed a circle of friends; a team.

We never succeed alone.

6. I’ve learned that you must love your work…or find work you do love—Colossians 3:23.

You can accomplish 15 times more in 15 hours of work you love than in 80 hours of unfocused activity you hate. If you don’t love your work, change your attitude, or change your work.

7. I’ve learned that I have to work hard at staying simple and uncluttered.

My messages, lifestyle, and even my closet must remain uncluttered and simple.

Some pastors have a weird intoxication with deeper things.

Start with your closet—75% of the things you don’t wear anyway.

8. I’m still learning the power of focus.

I’ve found that I can accomplish 10 times more in half the time with focused attention

Go five miles north, five miles west, five miles south, then five miles east and you’ve traveled twenty miles … but gotten nowhere.

150-watt light bulb can light a room. 150-watt laser can cut through 3″ of steel.

Focus on the important things not just the urgent things.

Get the little book, Tyranny of the Urgent.

Everything is urgent in someone’s mind.

The urgent thing is rarely the important thing but it’s the screaming thing.

9. I’ve learned that miracles often happen in times of inconvenience.

10. I learned that it’s more productive and profitable to speak by the Voice of the Holy Spirit rather than the echo of man’s opinion – I Peter 4:11.

I learned that I can be a parrot (speaking only what I’ve heard other men speak).

Or I can be a prophet (speaking what the Spirit of the Lord speaks).

11. I learned that fool’s gold shines, but has no value—Matthew 7:15.

That which is born of the Spirit is spirit; that which is born of the flesh is flesh and the flesh profits nothing.

Learn the difference between Ishmael and Isaac.

Discern the difference between the synthetic (man-made) and the authentic (God-made).

12. I’ve learned that there are three monster mentalities that will guarantee my failure and lack.

No. 1 – Victim mentality
Victim’s focus is always on “me.”

Victims are professional blamers and excuse-makers. “Economy, government, my boss, my wife, my husband…”

Fruitful, successful people say, “I’m responsible.”

Victims are attitudinally unqualified to be staff members, board members, or in any kind of leadership.

No. 2 – Entitlement mentality

Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.
– Mark Twain

If we know God’s Word, we know this: “I am responsible for my own life, success, actions, and ministry.”

No. 3 – Scarcity mentality
Any one of these three attitudinal defects is a disgraceful assault on God’s covenant and His promises … and a grievous insult to God Himself.

13. I learned that I must make times of privacy and rest: these times are just as important as the high-powered; high-energy activities and events – Genesis 2:2.

Fatigue can be very costly, extremely expensive.

It becomes very expensive when you start making permanent decisions based upon temporary circumstances because of fatigue.

Ministry is high pressure work, little privacy, constant demands, so … you need to rest.

Someone heard that the late Dick Mills was going to take a vacation and she’d teach him something when she sarcastically snapped, “The devil never takes a vacation!” Dick replied, “He’s not my role model!”

If Jesus needed to rest, so do you! God Himself set the example for us on Day Seven!

What happens when there are no margins in your life?

You’ll go by emotions and feelings instead of the truth.
You’ll fall into traps laid by the enemy.
You’ll become blinded like the Pharisees, or Licentious Nicolaitans.
Your vision fades away—without a vision (revelation) there is failure.

14. I’ve learned that I have to keep getting back up again – Proverbs 24:16.

Life has setbacks.

Having done all to stand—stand—Hanging in there—tenacity.

Most of the time, the thing you think is going to take you under is the very thing God is going to use to take you over.

Nothing is ever as bad as it seems; and nothing is ever as good as it looks!
– Dave Williams

15. I learned that success sometimes looks like failure at first – Romans 14:8.

The Cross looked like failure. Then came Sunday!

“Anything that doesn’t kill me will make me better.”

16. I learned that Jesus really does multiply what you have if you’ll give to Him what you have – Luke 6:38.

When you let go of what’s in your hand, God will let go of what’s in His hand.

The law of the seed is the fundamental law of the kingdom. When you plant your old, burned out, crazy life to Jesus, he gives you a brand new life that will last forever.

You give of your resources, God will give of His.

When you give you grow. When you withhold, you diminish.

17. I learned the importance of money—spiritual temperature can be measured by our attitudes and actions with money.

Luke 16:10-12 NLT
If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?

Wealth is a mindset. Wealth is a choice. Wealth is by Covenant. Deuteronomy 8:18

Wealth is something you attract; it’s about what you become.

“Pity the man who gets a million dollars but isn’t a millionaire inside.”
– Jim Rohn

18. I learned it’s a sin to be good when God has called me to be great—Luke 10:40-42.

19. I learned to believe God’s mercy endures forever—Ps. 106:1 and Ps. 107:1.

When we go through the fire we feel awful.

In refining silver, the heat pushes the dross to the top, then fans blow off the scum so it becomes 99.99% pure.

We will go through the fire.

“Thank you, Lord, for your mercy in those times when we brought it on ourselves. God will give you another chance.

20. I learned that there are only two wills in the whole universe.

God’s will and some other will.

There are NOT three wills of God. A good one, an acceptable one, or a perfect one. People have used this as an excuse to ignore the will of God.

Greek structure is referring to the same ONE will. The will of God is GOOD, it’s the only will that is ACCEPTABLE, and it’s PERFECT for you.

Any other will is some other will—Bad, Unacceptable, and imperfect and will bring the wrong things into life.

The will of God is reality—every other will is fantasy.

God’s plan to bring us into His family has only one option. The only plan—Jesus Christ. Therefore, prioritize bring people to Jesus. Don’t miss any opportunity to invite lost souls into the Kingdom.

These are twenty things I wish I’d learned sooner, but now travel the country sharing them with young ministers whenever I get the opportunity.