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Monday, December 26, 2011

Ministry success: it's not about "our" success, it's about God's (Pen & Parchment, Parts 1 + 2)

*WARNING*: Some of the comments appearing on the Parchment & Pen post in the link below are incomprehensible to the point that trying to understand them (or why the particular commenter who made them addressed one of them to me) may be dangerous to your mental sanity.  I have no control over the contents of the aforementioned page and accept no responsibility for anyone who attempts to interpret what the author meant.  Read at your own risk.

What Defines Ministry Success? | Parchment and Pen
I don’t mean to minimize the importance of numbers, statistics, and, indeed, people who grow in the Lord. However, I am coming to believe more and more that these things are secondary to true success. I am beginning to think that those people who have done the most for the Lord are going to be... those people who no one really knew much about. Not the men of fame. Not the movers and shakers in the Christian commercial industry. Not even the pastors. They are going to be everyday folk with everyday names who, were it not for the eyes of the Lord which penetrates all that we hold dear, would not be ever known.
My first response was to the above (and was supposed to be posted on this blog automatically through Amplify.com, but it looks like their service isn't working correctly for me)

Perhaps a question that first needs to be answered is whether there is such a thing as success in ministry. I believe we should follow whatever we feel God is calling us to do and leave the results, whether it be "success" or "failure" as we understand it, of such a calling up to Him.

Then came the following reply to the original post which I in turn responded to:
BlueCat57 says:
OK, back to my initial comments:
1. Good intentions, result don’t matter.
2. We need to define the terms: ministry and success, and for that matter "defines."
I’m guessing CMP was asking this question, as most do, because we are at the end of the year and he is asking himself, "Was I a good steward of my resources this past year?’
We are called to be stewards of our resources. And the only way we can measure our stewardship is through the results WE can see. Quite frankly, God doesn’t matter in that measurement. We can’t see as God sees so we can only measure our success in human terms.
Like my first response (and the title of this post), I thought we shouldn't try to measure success since the only tools we have to do so are faulty:
I think you are correct about two things: first, we can’t see things how God sees them; and, second, that we can only see and measure in human terms. The only problem is, that I don’t think that human terms are an accurate measurement. I believe trying do so can lead to such errors as watering down the Gospel (in an attempt to increase church membership) and trying to rush life to fit our timetable rather than letting events develop according to God’s timetable.
Instead, I believe we are called to simply present the Gospel and be a faithful witness, both in word and deed. After we have done (and continue doing) that, it’s between God and a prospective convert what happens afterward. In the end, any success that "we" have isn’t ours, but the Holy Spirit working through us. It’s our job to step out of the way and let God do the actually work.

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