I’m not the pastor of one of the large mega-churches of America. I don’t have the largest bank account in the world. My preaching is not known from coast to coast all around the globe and broadcasted in more languages than I know exist. My abilities are not comparable to that of Adrian Rogers, Billy Graham, Charles Stanley, Junior Hill, or Chuck Swindoll. In fact, I’m probably labeled by the SBC as “an ignorant pastor who has no idea about the workings of the big church, success in ministry, and is pretty all-around dumb in general!”
All that may very well be true, but there is one profound truth that this country bumpkin preacher has learned: success is not measured by the size of one’s congregation, the worth of their possessions, the fame of one’s title, or even the abilities bestowed upon an individual. Success is about faithfulness. Faithful to the call of God. Faithful to the congregation He has entrusted the pastor with. Faithful with the things God has blessed us with. Faithful in church business meetings. Faithful in all circumstances, whether good or bad. Faithful in preaching to 3 when you wish 3000 were present. Faithful to their family. Faithful to their devotional time with God. And faithful to the careful study and preparation to deliver God’s Word in a serious but connective way.
I believe a lot of the pastors within our nation ought to go back to “Faithfulness 101” class and remind ourselves of what success actually means. The distorted view of ministerial success is the death rattle of our churches, and the evidence of this is the simple title of “an itching ear church”. Oh how many congregations today long to have that ear scratched…
If your desire is to attain success in life, life itself has nothing to offer you. If you take God out of all things material, it can provide you with no advantage. Studies from LifeWay, Guidestone Financial Resources, or methods from “big churches” prove to be ineffective without the will of God and the faithfulness of His servants. Building a big church is an arrogant plea of those who desire successful personal ministry over successful soul-winning and discipleship.
One must find success in his or her faithfulness, not in the fullness of their congregation, contact list, social media accounts, or their bank account. Remaining faithful proves to be an unpopular decision in the eyes of society, and unfortunately in the eyes of church members in some cases. Remaining faithful requires us to seek God rather than man’s approval.
Let me encourage you today to remember that God’s direction for our life doesn’t consider the thoughts of the people but rather the will of God. Making room for man’s opinion is not an option regarding the call of God, nor is it an option for faithfulness. No one said the Christian life was easy, but rather quite the opposite.
John 15:8 - “If the world hates you, understand that it hated me first.”
I long to hear the words “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”