I want to encourage you today. I want to take the pressure off.
It’s easy in today’s ministry world to gauge success by standards that have nothing to do with the Kingdom. If we’re not careful, we’re likely to get sucked into the “nickels and noses,” or the “bucks, butts, baptisms, buildings and budgets” way of accounting for things.
Or we can just scan the best-seller lists or the 100 Most Influential Christians magazine covers to see who is really making a Kingdom splash.
I used to attend a leadership conference at a mega-church. I had to quit going. The reason? Because I felt like a complete loser pastor every time I went there.
It wasn’t their fault. It was completely on me. I just couldn’t help comparing that pastor’s ministry to mine. It wasn’t humbling; it was humiliating.
But I‘m here to tell you that God has freed me from the comparison game and from the temptation of looking at numbers of any kind to gage my “success” in the Kingdom. “Success” isn’t even the right word, but I think you understand what I’m trying to say.
I serve with a team of amazing elders. They’re godly, courageous leaders. We’ve learned together how to gauge success in our leadership as we have taken multiple Kingdom risks together over the years.
Bottom line? It’s obedience. Success in the Kingdom of God isn’t based on measurable fruit or outcomes. It’s rather measured by simple obedience. It’s just a pass/fail thing.
You either obey or you don’t. That’s all God is looking for.
I can’t tell you how much pressure that removed from the elders and me when we started to understand it. God only expects us to do what he calls us to do. How it all works out is his business.
That means if God leads me to pray for someone to be healed, success is when I actually pray for him. Whether or not he gets healed is on God.
If God leads me to have an evangelistic altar call at next weekend’s service, all God expects is for me to pray and give the best invitation I know how to give. The results are up to him.
If God leads your church to take a step of faith and give away your morning offering to a struggling church across town, success is simply doing what God says. Give the offering away and let God decide how to honor your obedience.
And by the way, it’s very important that you understand the last part of what I just said—God honors obedience.
That’s been one of my ministry mantras for years–God honors obedience.
In John 12:26, Jesus said: If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.
Sometimes I still can’t believe that verse is in the Bible. Jesus could have simply said: “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me,” and ended the sentence there. He’s our Lord and King and we are his servants. We must follow him indeed.
But he didn’t end there. He went on to say that the Father honors the obedient. Isn’t that amazing? God doesn’t honor us based on the measurable levels of fruit—money, buildings, attendance, books, fame or any other kind. He honors us on the non-sliding scale of simple obedience.
I really hope that encourages you as much as it does me. It’s taken off so much pressure and freed me from trying to keep up with Rev. and Mrs. Jones at The Church of What’s Happening Now.
Pastor, your obedience matters. That’s all God is looking for. He just wants your obedience. Fruit, Kingdom impact, legacy—that’s all his.
We just get the pleasure of serving him. Yea God.
*Does your pastor need to be encouraged by this? Would you share it with him?
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