Every pastor wants to have a successful ministry. Sadly, many compare themselves to the highly visible leaders of large ministries and feel like a failure in comparison.
The size of your ministry does not determine the level of your success.
• Too many pastors have led large ministries while tragically failing personally and morally.
• Too many have sacrificed their families all in the name of “church growth.”
• Too many have lost their personal passion for Jesus while leading His church.
The most successful pastors may not be the ones that others read about, but the ones who faithfully love Jesus and serve people.
Do the Small Things Daily
When working with pastors, many are often looking for a “big win.” They want to have a big community event, a big servants’ banquet, or a big series that runs attendance higher. While all these can be effective, I encourage consistency in the small things daily.
I’ll compare it to football. Most championship teams win games on many four-yard, six-yard, and eleven-yard gains. They might win one game a season on a last second hail-Mary pass, but most games consistently succeeding at the basics.
The same is true in ministry. Successful ministries are built on Christ by leaders who do the small things daily:
• They return calls and emails promptly.
• They show up on time.
• They pray for God’s guidance.
• They love and serve people.
• They study hard and preach passionately.
• They have a consistent and strong work ethic.
• They follow through on commitments.
You could hope for the perfect mailer, plan the killer youth event, or pray for a news story to build your church…or you could move the ball forward one play at a time doing the small things with integrity daily.
Successful When No One Knows
You can be successful today when few people know anything about your ministry. You are successful when you:
• Live daily with integrity.
• Pursue Christ with all your heart.
• Preach your best sermon to a very small crowd.
• Visit the sick in the hospital.
• Cry with the parents who just lost a child.
• Forgive the church member who wronged you.
• Give privately to someone in need.
If your ministry ever becomes “well known” and people call you an overnight success, you can thank God privately that they couldn’t be further from the truth. Deep down, you’ll know you’ve been seeking God for years and serving Him faithfully when few people were watching.
The Private Cost of Visible Success
If you are quietly faithful for years, God may expand your ministry. One day, many will want a ministry like you have. But not everyone is willing to do what you did to have what you have. You and those closest to you will know:
• The sacrifices you’ve made.
• The pain you’ve endured.
• The hard decisions you’ve faced.
• The loneliness you’ve felt.
• The fear you’ve overcome.
• The weight you carry.
Every private painful memory you carry will draw you closer to the One who suffered and died for you. Your “public success” won’t mean nearly as much to you as your private devotion to Christ.