No one sets out in life to be mediocre or at worst be unsuccessful. All of us want to BE something, to achieve something, to feel like our efforts have resulted in something significant. We want to be successful. Ask 10 people what success looks like in their life and you will likely get 10 different answers. For each person it depends on what they want to do. Ask a plumber what success means for them and you will get a different response than if you ask an insurance agent. For the plumber success might mean receiving 5 calls a day, consistently, while for the insurance agent it may mean signing one new client a week. And it's not just our occupations. For example, what does it mean to be a successful parent? Grandparent? School or church volunteer? For many areas of life, just showing up is not enough. There are standards that spell success in that area.
What is success? How do we know when we're being successful in life or in our job or with our families?
I've been writing about my core convictions over the last month. This question of success in life has come up as I've thought about my occupation and calling. One of my core convictions answers this question for me. Here it is:
Obedience and faithfulness of the leader are the best measures of ministry success - not approval, popularity or high attendance.
As I've considered what success in ministry looks like I've determined that obeying God and being faithful to Him and my call will carry me through difficulties in a way other standards will not. If I am unsure whether or not I am succeeding in my ministry I have only to ask two questions:
1. Am I listening to God, doing exactly what He is leading me to do? Obedience. And, 2. Am I doing God's work to the best of my ability, with 100% effort? Faithfulness.
In ministry I can do everything humanly possible to enhance the church, try to make it grow and gain followers or popularity but ultimately God is the one who makes things grow. The Apostle Paul acknowledged this when he said that some plant, some water but God makes things grow. (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)
Some people want to measure success by whether or not they are liked. "If everyone is happy with me I'll feel good about what I'm doing." With people being fickle and changing their feelings as frequently as Michigan weather, this is not a good standard to go by. One day the crowd loves you and the next day they want to crucify you. Some think popularity is a good standard for success but there is always the next big or bigger thing coming along behind you. God doesn't care how many followers you have or how popular you are. After all, our job is to make Him famous, not us. Some think high attendance is the mark of a successful ministry. Yet, Jesus sent crowds of people away, at times having just his disciples with him. He could have drawn bigger crowds than anyone in history but he chose to pour into the 12 disciples. For Jesus, obedience to the Father and faithfulness to his mission were more important than drawing a big crowd.
This core conviction drives my life and the way I lead The Road. How can a commitment to obedience and faithfulness impact the way you view success in your life?