There is a worldly principle that infiltrates our minds and our churches, which is that it’s all about the numbers. That what matters is how big our ministry is, how many likes we get online, how many come to our church, or how many we have led to the Lord.
The world’s idea of a successful ministry is one that fills a stadium with people. God’s idea of a successful ministry is one that fills a man with the fullness of God. “…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19 NKJV).
Sometimes I struggle with this in my writing ministry. I will pour out everything I have into writing, and often it falls flat and seems to reach nobody. I will get discouraged and wonder if I’m being effective in ministry. But the Lord always sends someone to encourage me. Friends, just do what you are led to do and let God worry about who your life is impacting.
Your life is bigger than yourself, because it touches everyone around you. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NKJV).
Several years ago, I was leading small groups into prisons to do seminars. We would go in with a teaching and spend the day ministering to all the inmates that would sign up for the event. One Saturday, I had two brothers named Robert and James going in with me. We were all prepared for a large gathering of men.
Your ministry is wherever you are to whomever God has placed in front of you. “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us…” (2 Corinthians 5:20 NKJV).
After we made it through all the checkpoints, we were issued keys and headed back to the building we would have our program in. We waited in the building for all the men to come. But there was TB testing at the prison that day, so none of the units were releasing inmates for programs.
Don’t measure your success in ministry by the scorecard of man. “Do not be shaped by this world. Instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you. And you will be able to know what is good and pleasing to God and what is perfect.” (Romans 12:2 ICB).
There was only one inmate who was able to make it to the seminar the whole day. What a wildly successful seminar we had! We abandoned our scripted teaching plan and spent the whole day ministering to this one inmate. We also got to know each other and pray for each other.
It is not how many you reach that matters, only that you have reached the ones that the Lord puts in front of you. “Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well.” (1 Peter 4:10 CEV).
I trust that the purposes of God were fulfilled that day. That this one inmate received what he needed. That the three of us who were volunteering that day received what we needed. We don’t have to wonder if anything was accomplished for God when we are faithfully serving Him for the kingdom.
The success of your ministry is not in how many follow you, but in how faithfully you are following the Lord Jesus. “…do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 NKJV).
We waste much effort in ministries gaining the glory for men and losing the battle for the souls of those around us. We can barely remember a phrase from a message two weeks ago, but when one person speaks directly to us, we will carry it for a lifetime. Be willing to minister to an audience of one.
The lack of Kingdom work is not because Christians won’t do the big things, but they won’t do the small things. Jesus taught, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35 NKJV).
We need to shift from our worldly principles where we run ministry like a business, and we look more like the world than not. We need to consider that it might only be one person that God is calling us to reach on any given day. Let us rejoice with the angels over that one.
You can’t be everything to everybody, but you can be something to somebody. “…there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10 NKJV).
Blessings to you,