Ministry Success

I'm excited about the refreshing dialogue that's beginning to bubble up from the toxic sludge of North American Christianity. Here's some more brutally honest insights from another book I would highly recommend "The Measure of your Success" by Shawn Lovejoy.Read Shawn's excellent analysis - Some of us in ministry leadership have been spinning our wheels to measure up to our self-imposed definition of success by gauging numerical growth too obsessively or by trying to model ourselves and our leadership after some other pastor who has caught our attention. Or maybe we've gotten lost in a long list of ministry tasks because we think success is checking those tasks off our to-do lists. In so doing we've overlooked our most important task. Pastors and ministry leaders are not immune to losing sight of the goal. As a matter of fact, some of us have not only lost sight but substituted our own goal for God's. In short, we have forgotten God's most important command for all of his followers, the only measure of success; love.Is it possible that we pastors and ministry leaders are the modern-day Pharisees, but in a different way? We're not counting how many steps Christians take on Sunday, but it is entirely possible that we view people as a means to an end just as the Pharisees did. Their end? To create a perfect, blameless nation. Our end? To create a successful ministry? Either way, success was the goal, and we measure it just as incorrectly today as the Pharisees did back then.God is reminding me that neither my success nor my spiritual growth is measured by improvement in my preaching, my skill in leading, or the size and influence of my church, but only by the growth of my love . . . At the end of the day, only one thing will make me successful. Only one thing will make me significant. Only one thing will  make me stand out from the rest of the world. It's not being cool, casual, contemporary, or creative. It's not my brilliant preaching or the size of my church. Jesus said, 'Your love for one another will prove  to the world that you are my disciples' (John 13: 35) Love is all that matters to him. Love is what makes me a disciple. Love is a success.We absolutely must drop our pathetic nickles & noses, and 3-B's (bodies, buildings, and bucks) definitions of ministry success. These metrics of effectiveness have only produced half-baked disciples - at best. It's produced church leaders who are wrongly satisfied about being successful at the wrong things, wrongly discouraged about being unsuccessful at the wrong things, and every pastor wasting their time measuring their manhood against other pastors like middle school boys in a PE locker-room (if you know what I mean). We've got to rediscover this simple truth - Success = Faithfulness in loving others. In Jesus' mind we're successful when we do the best we can to love others, with what we have, where we are. How do we leave the old metrics of success in our rear view mirror to move forward with a healthy metric of real success?