The first question someone asks me when they hear I’m a Church Planter is always, “How many people go to your church on Sunday?” To which I usually reply, “I don’t know; I never count.” Some might criticize me for this, but I never want to skew the way I measure success in ministry. It’s easy to get fixated on numbers. The number of people attending gatherings and the number on the budget sheet can often sway us to do some silly things.
A Parable of Success
So then, how does God measure success? If we are a Gospel-Centred people, this is the question that should guide our practice. Jesus tells a parable of a Master who put His servants in charge of different amounts of His income. Some got a large sum; some got a little. When the Master returned, His servants gave Him His money back plus some extra they earned on top of that. To those who multiplied His money, whether the multiplication was big or small He said, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Mt.25:21)
God’s Metric of Success
God’s measure of success is FAITHFULNESS. We serve a Sovereign God, He is the Savior, NOT US! He calls us to faithful service to Him; and, if at the end of the day He grants us a small increase or a large increase in our ministries, the reward is the same, “Enter into the joy of your Master!”
The problem with obsessing over the numbers is that it gets our eyes off our duty, to be faithful. Many well-meaning and well-intentioned people have resorted to worldly strategies to “grow the Kingdom.” And, as a result, have been unfaithful to the Lord and done much damage to the integrity of the Church at large.
God is not impressed with our big sanctuaries and flashy worship bands. There’s nothing wrong with big sanctuaries and flashy worship bands, but still, God isn’t impressed by those things. He also isn’t impressed with small churches who suppose themselves pious because of their smallness; small doesn’t necessarily mean faithful either! He desires faithfulness – that is His metric of success – whether big or small.
What’s Your Metric for Success?
Are we being faithful to the Gospel? Are we preaching Christ and not compromising and capitulating to a reprobate culture? Are we loving God and our neighbors? If the answer is “Yes” and you have a big sanctuary with lots of people, that’s great! If the answer is “Yes” and you meet in a basement sharing one Bible among 5 of you, then that’s great too! From God’s throne, He sees success in both scenarios.God will bring the increase. We must only remain faithful. Don’t compromise faithfulness, for an outward appearance of fruitfulness that is built on worldliness. You may fool us,mere mortals, but God won’t be mocked.