Success in ministry is a good thing, but I believe it is important to define success properly as it relates to the ministry. The definition in spiritual
terms is quite simple, actually. I would define it like this: SUCCESS IN MINISTRY IS FULFILLING THE VISION OF GOD FOR YOUR MINISTRY
Success in your church differs greatly from success in the business world, for example. When I was a businessman I measured the success of my
business in terms of size, profitability, and growth rate. Those are acceptable measurements of success in the business world. However, I submit
they are not good measurements of ministry success. Our success in the Church is measured only by whether or not we are in the will of God.
Success for you, Pastor, actually has little to do with the size or the scope of your ministry or according to any other quantitative considerations. Are
you in the will of God is the question.
I always find it interesting to listen to the conversations of pastors and ministry leaders when they get together. Oftentimes there is a carnal
measuring of one another’s ministries based upon such things as how many people attend, how many TV or radio programs are aired each week, how
large the budget is, or even how many souls have been saved over the last year. I have seldom heard a man of God speak of success simply of
being in the will of God.
There are two primary factors to the success of your ministry: 1) God, and 2) You. That is no revelation at all, is it? But, knowing where God’s
responsibility ends and at what point yours begins is not so easy to distinguish sometimes. In fact, that is one of the major challenges you have as a
ministry leader. You know and understand that it is the power of God that will move your ministry forward and upward, to that there is no argument.
Indeed, it is not by your might or power, but by His. However, many pastors have fallen on the rubble heap of failure in ministry understanding that
principle but not rightly discerning where their own responsibility begins. I declare that will not happen to you!
Let’s use two terms to develop this thought: wisdom and faith. Please allow me the liberty to define these words in terms we can use for this
WISDOM = The practical application of the knowledge of God that you possess. (Proverbs 4:7,20-23)
FAITH = Taking God at His word in order to fulfill His plan. (Romans 4:3)
In Mark 11:23 Jesus makes an interesting statement when He teaches you to speak to mountains that you encounter in your ministry. A man might
see this verse and he realizes that if the mountain is to move, it is up to him to deal with it. That is possessing knowledge – the knowledge of how
mountains are moved. But even with that knowledge the know how of moving the mountain is lacking. That is where the need for wisdom comes in.
This man must know how to apply the knowledge he possesses if he is to see success; he must possess wisdom.
Wisdom seeks after God and searches the Word of God for the “how-to’s”. The wise man knows where to look for the keys to success; he knows
the Bible is his treasure-chest of information. In his search for the keys he soon encounters this thing called faith. He sees that faith is needed in
mountain-moving. The wise man then adds faith to his wisdom and the mountain obeys him. He concludes, as any wise man would, that both
believing and speaking are integral elements to the exercise of faith because each of these is mentioned in Mark 11:23. This wise man is now armed
with all that he needs to succeed because now there is nothing that can block his success. No matter what obstacle he encounters, he can
overcome it by implementing what he knows to do. Can you see that both wisdom and faith is necessary to meet the challenges you face in ministry?
Wisdom is knowing how to do what is needed at any given moment; faith is knowing God is there with you and has already spoken into existence
the victory you desire to experience. It is then just a matter of releasing the power of God through His words by speaking them to the mountain.
Pastor, the mountain will move!
It is important for you to not become “success oriented.” Success is not your goal; pleasing God by fulfilling His vision is your goal. Keep focused
SUCCESS IS THE RESULT OF DOING THE WILL OF GOD
You have probably discovered that most mountains don’t want to move, so moving them most oftentimes requires a combination of patience and
dogged determination. I have personally come up against mountains that took some real persistence before they moved, and on more than one
occasion I quit before the mountain moved, I must admit. Out of those failures I learned that wisdom says to stay in there and keep speaking to that
mountain until it does move. Do not give up. Do not give in to fatigue or discouragement or anything else that might try to dissuade you from
persisting in the fight until victory happens. Remember: God has promised to you triumph, so hold on to that truth and succeed. (II Corinthians 2:14)
Success is more a matter of hanging in there than it is talent or gifting. (Galatians 6:9) Determination has catapulted many pastors and church
leaders to success when other men more gifted than they failed. I remember something that Pastor John Osteen said. (pastor of Lakewood Church,
the largest church in America at the time) He was asked how his church had grown to such tremendous size. Here was his response: “I stayed.”
Those words have kept me on the track many times over the years when I was tempted to give up and quit.
Wisdom speaks to you right now, Pastor. It says, “Stay in there and do not quit. Drive discouragement from you and determine within yourself that
your church will succeed.” Whether your church succeeds or fails is up to you, it is not up to God. He wants you to succeed and He has already set in
place everything you need to succeed. Pastor, be that faith-filled wise man and go for it! You will see the vision of God for your ministry manifest
before your eyes and Jesus will be glorified. I say, “Amen!”
I encourage you to begin right now to see your ministry through the eyes of God. He sees your church as successful, no matter how small or
insignificant it might appear. If you are obeying the voice of God day in and day out, then your church is succeeding. Do not measure it in any way
except to determine if you are following the plan of God. This is an important piece of counsel to you. It will keep you buoyed up and encouraged and
strong in your pursuit of fulfilling God’s vision for your church. Pastors give up and drop out when their churches do not measure up to their own
predetermined and self-imposed goals. Listen and receive counsel. When you view your church through the eyes of God, things will look good.
A successful church will be a place of love. (John 13:35) The love of Jesus will dominate the environment and that will be the single factor that
draws people to your church. Growth happens when love prevails. A successful church will be a fruitful church. (John 15:8) Fruit just happens when
there is a church filled with the life of God. A successful church is one built on truth.(John 17:17) The Word of God is the foundation for successful
churches. Traditions of men or false doctrines have no place to find root where truth prevails. A successful church will exhibit the glory of God just
as Isaiah the prophet describes. (Isaiah 60) It will be a lighthouse that points people to Jesus Christ. Your church will be a successful church
because you chose for it to be.
Allow me one last, brief thought on this subject of success in ministry. Remember: unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.
(Psalms 127:1) I bless you in your labors for the Kingdom of God.