An Elephant In The Room That We Need To Quit Feeding

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I want to personally thank the Lord for Pastor Kent Hughes. Years ago he and his wife Barbara wrote a book that has been an enormous blessing, encouragement, and personal challenge to me through the years. It is titled Liberating Ministry From The Success Syndrome. If you plan to go into ministry, this is a must-have book for your journey. If you are already serving the Lord in ministry you ought to read this book. In this little jewel you will be reminded of the things that really matter in your ministry: things like faithfulness, humbly serving, consistent prayer, living a holy life, as well as a number of other important, Biblical, core measurements for your ministry.

Why is this important? Because what I have found (and I'm not the only one) is that no matter the denomination or affiliation, no matter how noble the attempt to counter-act it, no matter how many times you tell yourself otherwise, you will feel the pressure to measure yourself and others based on NUMERICAL RESULTS in ministry. I've seen this in the fundamental Baptist circles I once inhabited and I'm seeing it again within the conservative evangelical circles. Why is this the case? Depravity. Ego. Pride. Pride is in the hearts of both those who brag on the numbers, and those who are jealous of the numbers. The Hughes' book is one of those works you need to go back to again and again to remind yourself of what is really important.

For example, you will want this book handy when you attend that next Pastor's conference where the website advertisement, printed literature, and public introduction of a speaker includes the fact that Dr. Big Britches' church currently has 25 million in attendance with satellite campuses on Mars, Jupiter, and Venus each having thousands of aliens coming to Christ each week. Once you arrive back home you can sit down again with this book and remind yourself that God doesn't judge your success or failure as a pastor based on the number of alien rear-ends sitting in the seats of a galactic super-campus in the far reaches of the Milky Way galaxy. The Scriptures say, "Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful" (1 Cor. 4:2). Faithfulness is your measuring stick. Are you being faithful?

Of course, this isn't an excuse for laziness and apathy on our part as pastors! We must work hard, pray often, study diligently, plan effectively, delegate wisely, implement strategically, and witness boldly. And when we have done these things, let's leave the results up to our Sovereign God who calls His elect to Himself according to His infinitely perfect will. And let's be thankful that He has counted us worthy to be a part - no matter how big or small - of this Gospel work.

- Dan McGhee


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