I don’t want a successful ministry.

“Hi my name is Jonathan and I serve as a youth minister at The Gethsemane Church of Christ.”

“Hi Jonathan, my name is__________ and I serve as student minister at the ___________Church.”

“That’s a cool name for a Church, _________ how long have you served there?”

“________number of years.” ” So Jonathan how may students do you have show up for youth group?”

This was a conversation I had with a student minister at a youth ministry conference recently.  It would not have been so bad except this is word for word how the conversation went, and I had just met the person about 15 seconds before said conversation.

“How many do you have show up?”

I realize that this probably would not be the typical student ministers way of having a conversation but it did reveal to me what might be a deep-rooted illness that has set into our ministries. I’m  not saying that the question was necessarily what disturbed me. Although it did.

What disturbed me more than the question was my need to answer it.

I won’t tell you how I answered. I’ll just say I  used the preachers method of counting and leave it at that.  If you don’t know what that is let me let you in on a little known minister secret. We are really good at counting by tens.

At first I was embarrassed for this person but once the conversation was done the person I was really embarrassed for was myself.

Who cares how many show up?  I don’t think God does.

As I was reading today I  came across this thought that really drove the point home.

“Now, if Isaiah was a minister within today’ evangelicalism, he’d be considered an utter failure.  Jeremiah would be an utter failure.  Moses didn’t get to enter the Promised Land.  John the Baptist didn’t get to see the ministry of Jesus.  On and on we could go.  We would not view the ministry of these men as successful. One thing we don’t preach well is that ministry that looks fruitless is constantly happening.”

– Matt Chandler “The Explicit Gospel”

I don’t want a successful ministry.

I want a ministry that looks like Christ’s.

Last time I checked the mark of a successful ministry today would not look like being betrayed by your best friends and murdered along with some thieves.

If that is how God choose for his own son’s ministry to end why should I expect anything more?



About jondrms

Hoping to finish well.
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3 Responses to I don’t want a successful ministry.

  1. nazfisher says:

    Well written Jon. Your last three sentences mirror some similar thoughts that I have been mulling over during the last 4 months. If we are to be like Christ we can expect to suffer in our life and ministries as Christ suffered in His. True success in ministry is not about how many people show up to offer lip service to God it is about becoming like Christ and allowing others to see Him through your life. Out of the whole world roughly a dozen from Christ’s ministry on earth were faithful, but that dozen spread His message to the whole world. We can never know the true success of our ministries but as long as we are striving to be more like Christ we will never be failures.

  2. Evelyn Cronin says:

    OH MY GOSH! I have been reading your blog and had no clue that you were the YM at Gethsemane! I’ve heard so much (GREAT) about you from one of your teens.

    I agree that we cannot measure success by numbers. When I was the youth director at another (no longer existing) congregation in Richmond, I had a SMALL youth group… but they were MIGHTY.

    Most of those kids are still in church today and most are serving in someway at their churches.

    Great blog posts – I love every single one! Thanks for sharing your heart… not only here but with the students in your ministry who really need it. More than even you might know.
    ~Evelyn Cronin

  3. Donald Crane says:

    Well said…and takes the discipline of confession to an entirely new level.

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