As a preacher of the Gospel, how do I measure “success”? How do I know if I am actually fulfilling my calling?
I have heard some say that you should not talk about numbers because God just wants us to be faithful. Yes, that is true to a degree. Jesus said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). If we are faithful to abide in Christ, He will give fruit in due season. At some point, there will be some fruit (which cannot always be counted in numbers) if we are being faithful to do God’s work, God’s way.
I used to think that a salvation “decision” was a way to measure success. And then, I witnessed so many walk away after they prayed a prayer. Then, I decided that someone making a public commitment of baptism was a win. Yes, it is a tremendous step of obedience, but it is not the end of the journey; it’s only the beginning.
Today, I would say that a win is taking the next step. When someone trusts Christ as Savior, we celebrate that. When someone gets baptized, we celebrate that. When someone commits to studying the Bible with a mentor, we celebrate that. When someone decides to join the church, we celebrate that. When someone gets to the point in their spiritual growth to begin mentoring a believer younger in the faith, we celebrate that. When someone commits to greater training and leadership, we celebrate that.
During the month of April, we set aside time for a “Celebration of Service” to recognize all those who are actively serving in worship, evangelism, and discipleship. We used the opportunity to encourage everyone to take the “next step” in their own spiritual journey.