One of the biggest sources of headache for many in ministry is the growth of their ministry. Pastors pray, fast, and work hard towards ensuring that their ministry is on a steady growth trajectory. But let’s face it … that isn’t always the experience of most people in ministry.
More often than not, ministers work really hard (or at least so they believe) and don’t get the kind of results that they envisaged. And comparing their results to the visions of their heart, many feel frustrated and many have even thrown in the towel.
There are two mistakes I have noticed to be responsible for this kind of frustration in ministry
- Pastors often spend their energies on the wrong things
- Pastors get too stuck on numbers and discount the real growth taking place in their ministry.
Stop Getting Involved with Activities That Don’t Move the Needle
The apostle Peter couldn’t have been more correct when he admonished the early church that it is not meet for them to leave the ministry of the word and prayer to start serving tables.
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. (Acts 6:4)
Many times, the reasons for the stunted growth in ministry is the fact that pastors get busy doing the wrong things. They get caught up in trying to fulfill the expectations of society of them that they lose sight of what God really expects of them.
If you spend more time on anything other than continual prayer and the word as a pastor, you are not going to have the best results possible. Sure enough, you might get some results here and there, but that would be a minute fraction of what is possible if you did it the right way.
Yes, it is great to have intercessors praying round the clock for you and the ministry but if you depend on that and leave the place of prayer yourself, you will be in for a rude shock in ministry.
Just like most things in life, ministry is first spiritual. It is beyond anything we do in the natural during our services. So if you don’t burn in your closet, you can’t burn outside. And in the words of Paul, the letter killeth!
Stop Looking At The Wrong Gauge
You see, there are different meters for gauging growth in ministry. It can be measured by the number of new people you have coming in but that is in fact, the lowest level of growth!
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matt 28:19)
When you read the instructions of Jesus to us in the great commission, He never really told us to go into the world and make converts. He wasn’t just concerned about having new people come into the fold. He was also concerned about having those in the fold get better. In fact, that is the reason He gave the 5-fold ministry in the first place.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Eph 4:11-13)
Here is where many young pastors miss it in ministry. They get so caught up in numerical increase that they lose sight of the real assignment of ministry. And guess what … that is why they often don’t get the numbers they look forward too.
The 5-fold ministry were given primarily for the training and equipping of those in the church already so that they can in turn be able to reach their world of contact with the gospel. That is why when I talk with people who are worried about the numerical increase in their ministry, I ask them a few questions.
- How often do you teach those that you have the Word of God?
- How are those with you responding to the Word and what are you doing to improve that?
- Are they growing in the knowledge and application of the Word?
Listen dear pastor, if you are bale to lock things down in the areas above, it is only a matter of time before you begin to see the growth you envisage in ministry.
Think Beyond The Numbers
If you have a congregation of 25 people for example, are you concerned enough for their spiritual growth and development? Are you burdened about them enough to stay awake at night interceding for them? Do you give your best into studying and preparing to impart them with the Word of God each time you preach?
I often tell ministers to take every preaching/teaching opportunity they have as their last. Imagine that this is the only time you have to add a block or two to the building of this individual or group and give it your very best.
Many times, it is the complacency with which pastors handle the few that they have that disqualifies them for the many they are praying for! Get this, the souls over which Jesus has made you an overseer cost Him His blood. He wouldn’t just hand them over to someone who only sees them as numbers. You have to genuinely care for them to qualify to have more of them period!
And remember that in the kingdom, God doesn’t have to try you out on much to know how you will perform.
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. (Luke 16:10)
He already sees what you would do with a thousand members from what you have done to fifty!
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