Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ministry Success

We had a ministry event the other day that totally bombed. I was expecting 70, 100 maybe even 200 people to show up. 

I think 16 showed up. 

That's counting me, the band, the sound guy, janitor, and me again. You know it's bad when you pad the numbers by counting everyone in the room, and then go ahead and count yourself again because you couldn't remember if you started by counting yourself or the person next to you. And of course you don't want to do a recount- since counting 16 people takes soooo long...

And, as every good pastor does,  you round up to the nearest 10.

Let me start over.

We had a ministry event that bombed. About 20 showed up. Now I feel a little better about myself

Truth be told, it's probably the best thing that happened to me all week.

"Successful" would be an appropriate word to describe the ministry I've inherited.

But what, after all, is ministry success?

Was the event with 16 people unsuccessful? If 300 had shown up, would it have been a success? What about the implications for the minister(s)? If more people are coming, does that mean God is more pleased?

I don't think God and I shared the same view of that event. It wasn't a bomb. The only thing that made it unsuccessful was my failure to see the kingdom of God that night. What I didn't tell you about was a particular girl who came. She was not a part of a church, and was clearly looking for relational connection. I totally overlooked her, because I was focused on the wrong things. 

I was stepping on an orphan, as it were, while complaining to God about not giving me more orphans to look after.

So my conclusion in the matter is this....

God's pleasure is not in:
- Our ability to get people to show up at our stuff
- The fact that we are a part of a dynamic ministry
- How many people liked our sermon, or small group discussion, or worship set, or ______

Rather, it's based on something much deeper. As deep as the motives that drive us.

Was I doing this for my glory or His?
Was I driven by the approval of man or God?
Was I faithful?
Did I love God's people?

I still hope more people show up next week.

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