Christians love platitudes. We love to tell each other things like “God doesn’t reward success, he rewards faithfulness.” We say this so we can feel better when we are not succeeding, or when we don’t feel important. The problem with these kinds of sayings is that they keep you from re-examining what you are doing so you can actually be successful. And by success I don’t mean praised, by the world, I mean successful in doing God’s mission.
Take a look at the Great Commission. This is Jesus instruction after his resurrection. The mission is to go make disciples of all nations. This is a mission that we are expected to succeed at. Jesus did not simply say, “be faithful until I get back,” he said essentially “advance the Gospel without stopping until I come back.”
Take a look at the parable of the talents. God rewarded these men for being “faithful” right? But what did faithfulness mean? It meant they doubled His investment. They succeeded. Faithfulness without success is not what God is looking for. He wants us to use the power He has given us to succeed in bringing lost people and entire people groups to know Him. That’s the mission, we must succeed at it.
So it’s time to rip the band-aid off. If what you doing is producing no fruit, do something else. A faithful pursuit of God is one that keeps improving until it does produce fruit, 30, 60 and 100 fold. I don’t want a pat on the head, I want to reach my full potential in God. I want a “well-done good and faithful servant”
Now, obviously, some people have much greater potential because of their location, upbringing, political situation, gifts, etc. Each of the servants in the parable of the talents was very successful, but they had a different return because they had a different amount to start with. You may not be able to accomplish as much as someone else, but you can accomplish a lot more than you think. I just heard a story this weekend about a women in her 90s’ who was shut into her house and literally discipled half the community! Quit patting yourself on the head for being faithful and start working toward being successful.
When we start viewing what we are doing through the lens of “success” we start to see that most of what the church is doing in America right now is not particularly successful. We’re losing. I don’t like that. I don’t like to lose. Especially when the cost of losing is so high. Success is America moving toward God. Failure is America moving away from God. It’s just that simple. It’s time to repent and start succeeding.
A successful church should be doing two things at minimum:
- Reaching lots of lost people.
- Raising our children to disciple nations.
Now there are a lot of other good things, but in order for us to succeed, this is the absolute bare minimum. I can’t think of a single church I know of that is doing both of these things well, can you? (I hope you can, if you can please email me, because I want to know about it). Occasionally there is a church that is doing great evangelism. And there are also churches that do well at training children, but even those that train children, do not often train them to be leaders. And you will be very hard pressed to find a church that does both.
We need a razor like focus on these two goals. We need to wake up in the morning, and go to bed at night thinking how can we push them forward. How do we fulfill God’s mission? That’s what the Go Network is about. Next post on training children to be leaders.