Success in ministry. How do you define that? What does it mean to be successful in ministry? Is success based on the number of people who attend your ministry? Is success based on how much your ministry gives to foreign missions? Is success defined by how awesome your church facilities area?
If you want to see what true success in ministry looks like, then you have to examine the life of Paul the apostle. He defines success in ministry in a verse found in 2 Timothy 4:7.
I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.
These 3 statements carry a lot of weight and reveal what true success looks like in ministry.
It's pretty simple and straightforward.
The best way to be successful in ministry is to finish the race God has placed before you.
In other words...
The best way to be successful in ministry IS TO STAY IN MINISTRY.
I heard the following statement over 30 years ago.
"Greatness in ministry is not measured in years...but in decades."
Often when I am coaching a children's ministry leader, I will ask them this question -
"Can you sustain the pace you are on right now for the long run?"
And so I ask you this question today as well.
"Can you keep up the pace you are on for the rest of your ministry?"
It is always heartbreaking to see a Christian leader fall out of the race. In the last 6 months, several pastors have committed suicide. Others have had to step down because of sexual immorality. Others have had to resign due to major character flaws.
Want to be successful in ministry? Pace yourself. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Don't quit. Guard your heart. Push away the negative thoughts that tell you that you don't have the ability to finish your race. Replace those thoughts with Scriptures like Philippians 4:13.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
According to the Schaeffer Institute, 70% of pastors constantly fight depression, and 71% are burned out. 80 % believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families, and 70% say they don’t have a close friend.
Depression is a serious thing. It can take you out of ministry for good if you don't reach out to someone for help. I can personally attest to this by experience. About 10 years ago, I faced a major battle with depression. It almost took me out of ministry. You can read what happened in this article.
The report also reveals that 89% of seminary and Bible school graduates will leave the ministry within 5 years. Will you be just another statistic? Part of the 89% who quit? It doesn't have to be that way. There is hope. You can go the distance. You can balance your life and ministry. You can say with Paul that you "finished your course." You can one day hear Jesus say to you,
"Well done, good and faithful servant."
Stay faithful. Stay committed. Stay away from the temptations of sin. If you will do these things, you can finish strong.
Let's cross the finish line with gray hair and a lifetime of faithful service to our King.
p.s. If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, temptation, tiredness...feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be glad to be a listening ear and offer you comfort and hope.