There’s a lot of talk about what defines success here in the church. Depending on your denomination, set of beliefs, way of thinking there are different ways of what a ‘successful ministry’ can look like. But not just that, we want to talk about how do you define being a success in the Christian life? Both are interrelated and are inseparable. It sadly amazing how many Christians will pay to go to conferences, hear tons of sermons, and want to know what emulates ‘success’ in ministry, or for life in in that matter. Sadly the church planting culture that emulates post-modernity are looking to a secular business model- the Burger King, McDonald, franchise of building a church- “Have if your way”, and “Home of the Whopper”. Yes unfortunately many churches have become just that- a whopper. This post is not to dissuade unity in the church. Not judging either. That’s God’s job. Far from it. Jesus talked about unity in the church and how we are all to be as one. He also aid he would build the church-
“Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means rock), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” Matthew 16:18
In the end we all want success in building God’s church don’t we and see the kingdom advanced? But we must be careful to know what god’s definition of success is and not a secular business models. What is greatness in God’s eyes? Jesus was very clear, those that were the greatest are the servant- the least of us. I don’t think many people like serving, but being serviced in this day and age sadly, even within the church. It’s about ‘us’, and ‘me, myself’ and I’ and how I can be a ‘prodigy, and be a success’, and be ‘superstar’, but not care about my neighbors needs or the unbeliever that I pass everyday. Many churches today have ‘rock star’ pastors who speak at conferences, make grandiose speeches, and write books but don’t seem to care about serving others not to mention they have their own paid security detail, and are inaccessible. Yes they are serving- only themselves. When there’s a real need, a real hurt, we as the church and Christians (Jesus eyes and ears here on Earth) need to step up the plate and be there for them when that happens.
“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.” John 13:13-17
All of us need to be really committed to washing each other’s feet. It’s a commandment and God will even bless us for doing so, although that should not be our underlining reasons in doing so.
“If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” Galatians 6:3
God’s definition of success is being humble, and being a servant. Whether you are a pastor, chaplain, minister or regular Christian, Jesus clearly says the greatest in heaven is the servant. He doesn’t say numbers, conferences, and books equates to success does he or who is the greatest? I think many Christians need to read God’s word and see what he says who is the greatest in Heaven. I think we need to look at helping others, not building our own mega ministry. More ministers need to worry about serving, and not being served. Who are what are you serving now?
“But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.” Luke 22:26
On the side note I included the Army Values. This is a basic army tenant that we have to memorize. We have to put the needs of the many outside the needs of our own. Only 1% of America serves, and I think that many of the post-modernity, church planting franchises could learn a thing or two about what the military instills to make great leaders, soldiers, and Christians.