“Grant to us that we sit on you right hand and left hand in glory.” Such were the presumptuous words of James and John to Jesus (Mark 10:35). I have often wondered who will have such places of prestige in heaven. Who will shine like stars? Who will have the brightest halos? Who will have best jobs, ruling over many cities? Who do you think it will be? Billy Graham? Chuck Swindoll? C. S. Lewis? Martin Luther? How about Augustine, Polycarp, or any of the great martyrs of the faith? Who would be on your list of the “Most successful Christians of all-time”?

What defines ministry success? Oh, that is an easy one: lots of people. In a church, this may mean bigger buildings. At a bible study, this translates into lots of people who don’t fall asleep during your lesson. At home, this means successful witnessing to your neighbors. In your family, this means all your children loving the Lord. On your blog, this means more readers. On Twitter, this means more followers. Here at the Credo House, it means lots of people deepening in their faith as well as planting dozens of new Credo Houses all over the world. Any or all of these are what comes to mind when we define success in ministry.

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 “no-names” to us. They are going to be the school teachers, the car salesmen, the waitresses, farmers, and mayors of small towns. They are going to be the Bobs, Tammys, Jacks, and Sarahs. In other words, they 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.

Think about those who made it into the list in Hebrews 11. You know THE list. The list of faith. The list of the great men and women of the past. The list of those whom the Lord had his eye on. While most of us know about these people, there was really nothing too special about them from the world’s point of view. If the Bible had not told us, we probably would not have said that they were “succesful” in ministry. They certainly would not have made my list. Some of them may have made the “other” list if you know what I mean.

Abel made it in because of one sacrifice he made in faith. He was a faithful giver.

Enoch just “walked with God”. I don’t really know exactly what that means, but it was substantial to the Lord. Substantial enough for God to “take him” before death.

Noah built a boat when the Lord told him to. He did not have any converts to join him on the boat, though I know he tried. How many unsuccessful evangelism attempts did he have? Be encouraged!

Abraham simply moved to another city when God told him to. As far as we know, he wrote no books, had no evangelistic crusades, and did not even blog!

Rahab hid spies of Israel in her apartment. That is it!

Samson . . . how did he get into this chapter? Were it not for Hebrews 11, there might be some debate as to whether we will even see him in glory! The very fact that he is here let’s us know that God’s score card and ours is much different. (And it encourages me!)

But notice that these people were nobodies. Well, let me rephrase that: they were not people we would expect to make it into the “faith chapter”. They were not people who went to seminary, started churches, had big websites, or were in demand on the speaking circuit. They were just everyday people who did something extraordinary: they believed God.

What a great thing it is for me (though I am in ministry) to remind myself that success each day comes down to believing God each day. You want to do something tremendous for the Lord? Don’t quit your job just yet. Don’t start your autobiography (it might be too boring anyway). Don’t always focus on what God has you to do in the future. Indeed, he may have something for you later. But he has something earth-shaking for you to do right now: believe him.

You see, that is the common tie between Rahab, Sarah, Samson, Moses, Abraham, and all the great men and women of faith in Hebrews 11: they all believed God when he said something. How complex we can make things. How simple things really are. I love this verse which shows the substance of their faith:

Heb 11:13
All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

Are you are stranger on this earth? Do you believe you are? Do you trust God when he says that he is making all things new? If you do, you are extraordinary. You have a successful ministry beyond your imagination.


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    47 replies to "What Defines Ministry Success?"

    • Indeed the so-called “ministry” of Christ is the Mystical Body of Christ itself, we together are to be Christ to each other! This is one of the great mystery’s of being ‘In Christ’. It is an “incarnational” reality, that the Risen, Ascended Christ lives within His people, this is the Church!

    • BlueCat57

      OK, I’ve mellowed a bit.

      First, you have to define what you mean by ministry in the context of the question. In the question you are implying a definition such as “we’re going to start a bus ministry” or “we’re going to start a coffee house for college students.” Using that definition success IS measured by numbers and results.

      In the post you focus on success and define it as level of spiritual influence and where we will sit in heaven.

      In Freakonomics they pose the question: Who has done more for the world – Mother Teresa or Michael Milken? Most would immediately say, “Mother Teresa, of course.” At least until you asked them how Mother Teresa paid for her ministry.

      I don’t think success in ministry can be defined as believing in God each day. OK, maybe George Mueller type belief. But he was also doing something with what he got. The definition of ministry usually includes some sort of action. Living as a shining light might qualify as ministry, but I’m not sure that’s what I would call it.

      So “What defines success in ministry?” really depends on how you define “ministry” and “success.” I would say – results – or maybe “they will know we are Christians by our love.”

    • Ed Kratz

      Ministry is simply your life of service to the Lord.

    • mbaker


      Thank you so much for this post. It has renewed my faith in the Christian blog world, which I fear is getting too much about the theological biggies, both on websites and in mega churches, and less how about it really it matters in every day life in relating to others in Christ in a balanced biblical way.

      I am one of the nobodies, as a commenter, but that’s okay. I will accept it gladly as long it means that Christ is not only glorified, but shown to be the real difference.

      Merry Christmas!

      christian blog world and in the church, and has missed the point of ohow everyday servants

    • Dave Z

      So when you say “They are going to be the Bobs, Tammys, Jacks, and Sarahs,” you’re not referring to Jones, Faye Bakker, Hyles and Palin?

    • Steve Martin

      “Success” is always a tough word to define when you are speaking about the things of God.

      I guess just having faith, being kept in faith, and speaking of Him once in awhile might be considered ‘successful’.

    • I am with “Steve” here! Perhaps we can hear St. Paul in 1 Cor. 4: 1-5! (note verse 3, “So for me, it is a minor matter that I am judged by you or by any human court.”)

    • Theodore A. Jones

      “Ministry is simply your life service to the Lord.”? but it is only authentic upon the verification that no direct statement in scripture counters the minister’s assumption(s). For a religious minister either serves God or he/she serves Satan, but no minister religion serves both Satan and God. If he loves one, even clandestinely, he does indeed hate the other. When someone comes with the proposition that he has been given the assignment of “Reclaimingthemind” which god is his reclaiming activity for? Religious teachers do not peddle a benign product. If his teaching is for God’s set purpose it most definitely by God’s design first psychologically cuts a man to pieces. For God has no objective to reclaim man’s mind instead his objective is to create a new mind entirely within a man after first destroying the natural mind with the truth. However the teacher whose activity is the objective of reclaiming the mind only teaches a redaction of the previous redundancy which has already failed, and is the successful ministry of reductio ad absurdum. The man who is the agent of God is hated by the majority he ministers too, and if the religious world does not hate him he is not an agent of God.

    • It certainly does appear that many of the Miletus & Ephesian Christians loved the Apostle Paul, when he told them they would see him no more! (Acts 20: 37-38)

      Btw, the “natural mind” is never destroyed, but renewed ‘In Christ’, it is the old nature or man that is put to death! (Col. 3:9-10) We in fact become really human or “natural” as ‘In Christ’. Theologically & biblically this is “regeneration”.

    • Theodore A. Jones

      I said! If the populace of the religious world, of which you are in its hierarchy, do not hate you you had best better fully believe you are NOT one of his. Is this clear?
      “For they will treat you as they have treated Me!” Now tell me again that your natural mind is not in need of destruction since it cannot understand whom they is.

    • @Theodore: Ya might want to work (exegetically) on those verses I shared. 🙂

      Btw, there are many in my so-called Anglican tradition, that really dislike me! Not to mention even some so-called evangelical & “emergent” people! But, I am thankfully semi-retired now. But I have never pandered to people or money!

    • Theodore A. Jones

      Granted you are a member of the hierarchy a church of a king, but it is not the church of the King. For whom is it that brings up the rear and to what have they been chained and they have the smell of death to you?
      lest you have forgotten “With God nothing is impossible.” A servant of the Living God reaches retirment by the loss of his head. The normative experience of a class you are not in. For if you had not pandered to the people you would not be rewarded with money. Wanna try again?

    • @Theodore: YOU are showing your ignorance and sectarian colors, for you are not my judge, and you know nothing about my personal life and service! And do I “smell” Pharisee, and perhaps false doctrine, on you? Humm..

      PS..And remember, this is also NOT your blog or mine! So “you” try again sir!

    • “Heresy often begins as a subtle change of emphasis which may, or may not, include the introduction of novel ideas. Its detection and refutation are therefore delicate matters which may easily lead to an opposing emphasis which itself constitutes incipient heresy. This danger is enhanced when men discover heretical tendencies in the teaching of those whom they already oppose on other grounds. Judgment tends to become unbalanced and action is influenced more by prejudice than by mature conviction. (Alan Richardson, Creeds in the Making, – 1935).

      Btw, Alan Richardson was an English Anglican. He is before the Lord now.

    • Btw, the very nature of heresy or heterodoxy, is simply inclining or pressing towards unusual or one’s own beliefs, outside of the orthodox or traditional pattern of belief or doctrine. Oh how we can see this in the history of Christendom!

    • Theodore A. Jones

      “Oh how we can see this in the history of Christendom” Yes we can by reading the angle of the Anglican.
      (That’s noted as agreeing with your advesary quickly.)
      As for me not knowing about your personal life other than what you’ve written, that is true. Not hidding any secrets about your self are you? But why didn’t you accuse me of being an agent of Belzebub as your class did Him. No use going part way is there?
      As for me not being the owner of this blog yes that is true. But haven’t all things been made by Him and for Him?

    • BlueCat57

      Mr. Jones,
      While others here will continue to be polite and let you comment (on what I don’t know), I’ll step out and say this is not the forum in which to discuss the Anglican church or whatever it is you are talking about.
      The topic of this particular post is “What defines ministry success?” So unless your definition of success in ministry is making unitelligble comments then I suggest you either be clearer in how your criticism applies to the topic or discuss the topic at hand.
      Of course if you are trying to get those here to hate you so that you may claim success in ministry (as one of your posts seems to define success as being hated) then you are probably well on your way for some. But being aquainted with many here I doubt they will rise to the bait, so you will have to settle for my disdain.
      Lest you think I’m hiding behind a nom-de-plume my name is: Mitchell

    • @Theodore: I can see your not too knowledgeable about the great general history of Anglicanism, noting the BCP, the Thirty-nine Articles (btw, see the history of the Irish Articles, 1615). If you were, you would know that they are themselves generally accepted with many other Christians, of course not every line or idea but the major doctrinal areas.

      And I am not sure what your purpose is in your blog statements? Other than to judge and make absolute like remarks. I have not seen one Scripture in a contextual way from you? I would say that if you are a real Christian? then act like it, and show the spirit of such! From here we can dialogue.

    • Yes and btw Mr. Jones, my name is Robert if you don’t like the title or moniker Father.

    • Here is a link for an exposition of the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles, this is older too 1871, by the Rev. T.P. Boultbee, M.A. I hope this is okay to share this? And it helps for some to see the great general biblical and theological nature of classic Anglicanism. There has been some fine “ministry” seen over the many years here in my opinion!


    • Theodore A. Jones

      The following is an example of a sucessful ministry when functioning as an agent for Jesus’ arch enemy.

      “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And DO NOT call anyone on earth ‘father’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.
      Anyone who breaks one the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be least in the kingdom of heaven,
      “If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
      “If anyone causes one of these little little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
      Robert what did you teach little Billy Morris to do? “Why HELLO Billy I am Father Robert and this is what I want you to call me when we meet.” Really Robert what is the best outcome for you which the Lord thy God has declared? As I said, Robert, you are a member of the hierarch of the church of a king but that king, just like you, despertatly wanted to disobey the commandments and by pandering to him you do exactly as he did.
      For there is no fully trained student that is otherwise than exactly like his teacher.
      “If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
      “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”
      The truth of God, first, destroys the vain imaginations of the natural mind. No man successfuly ministers the things of God unless God has created a new mind with in that man. You, Robert, have made the contemptible attempt to minister the things of God with the same mind you were naturally born with failing to comprehend that all the naturally born are children of their father the devil. Your ministry is very successful, Robert, as you attest it is, but your service has been in the intrest of a king rather than the King.

    • Theodore A. Jones

      Robert’s ministry is indeed highly successful, but the head of Robert’s church is not the head of the church of God. It is true that you do not know what I’m about, as you admit, but you also don’t know who I am serving for if you did you would not dare complain about what I am doing. Mitchell you are fruit from the same church tree that Robert is, but a different branch. The spots of a leopard can be painted over, but the leopard is not changed one iota by reams of eccleastical dogma, is it? I think Robert implied that I am a Pharisee first, but you haven’t chastised Robert even tho. it is written “Do not show partiality in a matter of judgement.” and it is an admitted Pharisee who has written “Do not go beyond what is written.” It is by your own stated evidence that you are no different than Robert even tho. the church branch you are fruit of is different from Robert’s that tree only produces fruit that disobeyes God, but fails to reconize it has.

    • @Bluecat57 (Mitchell),

      First, thanks for your support and Christian brotherhood! I was busy yesterday, with my hospital chaplain rounds, this time of year it is always hard for those that are in the hosptial, etc.

      I am not sure what to make of this so-called “person”, who claims to be the “prefect” of doctrine (my words of course), but what else can one say about someone who thinks he can speak in such a manner! Very sad, and again certainly not Christ-like!

      Btw, for those that like to press Matt. 23: 8, etc., note the context of the whole of Matthew 23, and don’t miss verses 2 and 3!

      In this so-called debate, I always quote St. Paul’s verses in 1 Cor. 4:14-15, which I label Paul’s paternal love & care: “I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you, For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many “fathers”: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.”

      Indeed the joy and privilege of shepherding and even “begetting” by the gospel, a few of the Lord’s most precious people, it is the greatest thing the Lord can give His pastor-teacher! Who can see that spiritually he has been a “father”-like in the faith! For those that have shared this pastoral joy ‘In Christ’, no other words are needed! 🙂

    • Theodore A. Jones

      Not a even single child of God is begetted by any husband’s will. Note Jn. 1:13, which contridicts your imagination that you might have done something only God can do. A man ought not to think to highly of himself, but some are stupid enought to prove it. No natural descendent is a child of God. And any man who teaches the naturally born that he is a child of God has lied no matter how many hospital visits he brags of making.

    • Well Theodore: You just called St. Paul a liar, as too any true pastoral ministry! Note, Romans 10:14-15, etc. Sir, you really do need to read and study your Bible!

      And let me state right here and now that I am something Reformed in my doctrine of soteriology! (That’s salvation mate!) If you would have a real Reformed creedal understanding of salvation and even election, you would know that there is “the contingency of the second causes” (that’s God’s use of men and people), indeed here is the pastor-teacher, and the faithful men and women ‘In Christ’! Note for St. Paul and Timothy, that included their Jewish”forefathers” and close family, (2 Tim. 1:3-5-6; chap. 3:14-15, etc.)

    • BlueCat57

      Well Theodore you are indeed God’s gift to the Parchment and Pen blog.

      As a result of you admonishment I renounce my salvation. I, according to you, am not saved and am therefore condemned to hell. Thank you for clearing that up for me and relieving me of any need to observe the Christmas season. (That is of course if you do not condemn Christmas as the co-opted pagan festival that it is.) That will save me a bundle of cash.

      I will now crawl off to a corner and drink myself silly and when I recover my senses will pursue that atheistic life you have condemned me to since there is no earthly way I can live up to your standards. There is no hope for me even if all the vain prayers of Fr. Robert and others at P&P should somehow reach the heavens; God would surely not listen to the prayers of such wretches.

      My apologies to the regulars of P&P for such sarcasm. Sometimes you have to just give up and move on to the next post and let the trolls collect their tolls and dance gleefully at the aggravation they have caused.

    • Well said BlueCat.., sometimes one can only answer a fool, with his own foolishness! And we can all see rather easily I think the doctrinal foolishness our so-called friend “Theo”! All this, just to say what? Funny I just finished reading Peter Leithart’s new book: Athanasius, and in it Athanasius had to spar with the idiocy and foolishness of the pro-Arians. Which simply came to its real place of error, heresy and heterodoxy of course in the end!

    • Btw, just a point and a bit of a guess? But I can sense that our friend Theo does not like the Roman Catholic Church, nor the Church of England, or really any of the Anglican Churches or that Communion. And most certainly not the EO, or Eastern Orthodox. And I will bet he’s not a paedobaptist! Again, just a guess? 😉

    • Deof Movestofca

      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.

    • Theodore A. Jones

      Deof Movestofca,
      Religious ministry is either promoting the purpose of God or it is promoting the purpose of Satan. People who are ministering for God’s purpose are a rather small number defined by the fact that there are only a few who find what the gate that must used to enter God’s kingdom actually is. To the Jew that gate is a stumbling block and to the Gentile the gate is foolish to them in the absolute. The religious contingent who have been duped by Satan to serve his purpose of making sure you cannot escape from his domain are a very large number and the entry ways they teach are a multiplex of many gates. There is one common factor of the large contingent that serves Satan. The way of salvation they teach is the false assumption that Jesus’ crucifixion is a direct benefit and therefore they supress the truth that his crucifixion is actually an accountable offense for all. There is no contemporary church which does not teach that the crucifixion of Jesus is other than a direct benefit. And those ministers who do this are lying to you and they purposely keep you in Satan’s domain highly sucessfully. For men love darkness rather than light.

    • BlueCat57

      So Mr. Jones – Teach us specifically what salvation is and how to follow the narrow way. Use simple terms since we have simple and feeble minds and none of us here have yet understood your lofty and criptic message. Teach us oh great teacher in words that even a child can understand so that we might repent of our ways and find the true path to salvation and success in ministry. If possible please refer us to where we might find more of your teaching and if possible where we might go to sit at the feet of such a great servant of God as yourself so that we may devote our lives to proper service of God in this world.

    • Theodore A. Jones

      The only sin which can be repented of to obey the Acts 2:38 command, the Lord’s command given through the apostles, is Jesus’ crucifixion. The only Way this command can be obeyed is by the faith of confessing directly to God that you are truly sorry, contrite, Jesus’ life was lost by bloodshed when he was crucified and be baptized into this Way of faith for the forgiveness of past sins. And by the way the word REPENT has also been added to the law so that when you disobey it it is an offense against the whole law and is not forgiveable.
      “It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” if they have the faith to obey God this Way. For the grace of God that has been perfected by Jesus’ crucifixion allows the obedience of one law to stand for the obedience of the whole law. The righteousness of God is only imputed to the individual who has the faith to give God the account he demands from each man by Jesus’ crucifixion. There are no exceptions.

    • Theo,

      I was wondering when you were going to get to Acts 2: 38, and the so-called “command” of God. “Smells” like Oneness Pentecostalism to me? This is not only error with the doctrine of God (Godhead), theologically, but an attempt at some form of Law-Gospel, and certainly not Luther’s or the Reformational version. The is simply not the Gospel or Good News!

    • Theodore A. Jones

      yor comment, friar Tuck, only confirms what Paul has said about the Gentile’s mentality. The actual truth about Jesus’ crucifixion is foolishness to him as you admit.

    • Theodore A. Jones

      RE: Luther never got it right either and neither did any other ‘reformer’. RCism cannot be reformed.

    • Well Theo, now that we have fleshed-out you some and it appears your heresy, we can know what you are all about. Just to spew this error and proselytize, like all cultic groups do! Sorry, but I have little compassion for this deep error and attack on the Godhead! Run Church run!

      Btw, we should note that the grave error of the Oneness groups, goes back to Monarchianism in the 2nd. century, which was later rejected as heretical by the Christian Church at the First Council of Constantinople, in which it was finally decided that GOD was One in Three, and Three in One…three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, i.e. the great Doctrine of the Trinity of God!

      And all the first-tier Reformers were Trinitarian!

    • Getting back to the great subject of this post, ‘the ministry of God’ is certainly the providence and the gift of God, and again the service that God Himself works sovereignly in this life, and also through the choice of His own men and women in such “ministry”. But the work is certainly always the Lord’s! When we realize this, then we can see and work effectively within the Lord’s own purpose, for God in Christ is still “Incarnate” in His own Church & Body! Note, I am myself a complementarian, but women have their place in the great ministry and service of God!

    • Theodore A. Jones

      I am not a member of any contemporary religious organization. There is only one God, the Father, his only begotten son who is Jesus of Nazreth and the Holy Spirit. The enemies of this God, however, teach that a man’s salvation is predicated upon believing that it is only Jesus’ crucifixion that has resolved all issues between God and men. By this teaching the cross, Jesus’ crucifixon, ceases to be explained as an accountable offense caused by bloodshed rendering this doctrine powerless to save from the penalty of eternal death. No doubt that you have no better sense than to put this doctrine to the test of dying in it and boasting while you do so. But you will pay hell forever as a conquence of defying God by the disobedience of his only begotten son’s command given through the apostles. This command cannot be obeyed by confessing sins, to being a sinner or any other conjecture in this vein for this conjecture was eliminated by John the Baptist’s teaching. Repenting of sins always has the result of not receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. See Acts 18:24-26 & 19:1-7. But you redundantly teach that by reciting creeds of confessing to God of being a sinner and even with being baptized into them doing this grantees that no connection is ever made with the head. For teaching little Billy Morris to call you father and causing him to disobey one of the Lord’s commands. Your reward is the reward Satan and his aposles receive for decieving little Billy Morris. The righteous are as bold as a lion like the Lion of Judah.

    • @Theo,

      We, both Mitchell (BlueCat57) and I have fleshed you out, for what you are! If you have a desire sir to continue to spread your beliefs, you should make a blog of your own, and there speak your voice. Here the subject is Christian ministry, as our blog host has presented! Thank you, and with this I am myself done speaking to you here on this blog!

    • Theodore A. Jones

      Robert your best action is to stop speaking and writing altogether which will result in the benefit of not digging your hole deeper than it already is. Teaching little Billy Morris to call you father in comtempt of the Lord’s command not to do so is what has done you in. That you are recusing yourself from speaking to me, so what? You should have recused yourself from speaking to little Billy Morris.

    • “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.
      A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” (Prov. 18:1-2, ESV)

    • Theodore A. Jones

      The scripture is fully true. But you isolated yourself from salvation because of what you taught little Billy Morris to do. No servant of God teaches a boy to disobey any command of God. There is no patten from the scripture that indicates that the men who do actually serve God are other than a minority of a few. For there are only a few that find what the narrow gate into God’s kingdom actually is. You are in the majority who don’t. And even tho. it has been stated plainly to you exactly what it is. That gate to you is fully foolish since it is not consistant with the religious majoritie’s opinion. You are a part of the religious class Isa. describes “men (majority) have things backwards.”

    • L Johnson

      (KJV) John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

      (KJV) John 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

    • BlueCat57

      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.

      How do we know that George Meuller or Mother Teresa were really successful in God’s eyes? We don’t.

      How do we know that Robert Schuller or Jim Bakker weren’t? We don’t. (Note: I’m just pulling names out of a hat so please don’t go off on a tangent discussing these people.)

      How do we know C. Michael Patton’s ministry is successful in God’s eyes? We don’t.

      We can only determine ministry success in human terms. And only if we define those terms in advance. As much as any of you here are loath to admit it, it is basic Business 101. Or basic Life 101.

      1. Take stock of your resources.
      2. Set a goal.
      3. Design a plan to reach that goal.
      4. Execute the plan.
      5. Measure results.
      6. Rinse and repeat. That’s supposed to be funny. It means decide whether you are on the path to achieve the goal and if not, adjust the plan.

      The ONLY way you will know if you reach the goal is to:
      a. Die and see if you end up in heaven or hell.
      b. Compare the results to your goal in human terms and see how closely they resemble the goal.

      We are human. We can only see and measure in human terms.

      I’m sure most of us here would prefer to continue measuring our ministry success in human terms for a few more years. I for one am in no hurry to die and find out what God thinks of me.

    • Deof Movestofca

      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.

    • BlueCat57

      While I agree that the best way to spread the Gospel is one on one, how do you measure a ministry designed to reach many at one time?

      How does Wycliffe measure their effectiveness? Do they just keep dropping missionaries into remote villages to get killed?

      Or World Vision? Billy Graham Crusade?

      While human measurement isn’t flawless it is needed for stewardship.

      I have a college friend who does all sorts of ministry in all sorts of places. And that is a good description of my perception of his ministry. I don’t know if his ministry is successful and I don’t know if he even measures it. While I will continue to support the ministry in small ways, I don’t think I’d drop my life savings into it.

      On the flip side I’m sure a whole bunch of people are sorry they didn’t measure the ministry success of that pastor in the US that predicted the end of the world. Of course you could ask which one and which country since many have and yet they still get donations.

      How do we know Credo House is successful?

      Or whether spending time interacting in Parchment and Pen is worth our time?

      Gotta run. But I’ll be back.

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