“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?