I was thinking today that my ministry is very small, certainly in terms of conversions. I honestly don’t know of one person I’ve influenced who has gone on to follow Christ. The closest example I can think of was a lovely 19-year old girl called Eva Rose who said she was considering “following God and Jesus” because of my example of faith. At the time this was a great encouragement but since then I have had very little feedback spiritually on whether I’m bearing genuine fruit for the Lord.
So this afternoon I started searching my site in earnest, trying to see what articles have been the most popular and helpful for people, if any. I came up with a small but, I feel, encouraging list:
- Why You Can Believe the Bible (https://aeon01.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/why-you-can-believe-the-bible/) (shared on Facebook 22 times and on Twitter once)
- In Praise of Spiritual Dry Spells (https://aeon01.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/in-praise-of-spiritual-dry-spells/) (shared on Facebook 17 times)
- What does the Bible say about animal abuse? (https://aeon01.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/what-does-the-bible-say-about-animal-abuse/) (shared on Facebook 7 times)
- False Prophet – Tim Spiess from Jesus’ Families (https://aeon01.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/tim-spiess-from-jesus-families-false-prophet/) (shared twice on Facebook)
- Please help me pray for Peter Kassig (this is dear to my heart as the cause is so desperate for Peter and other ISIS captives who are facing death: https://aeon01.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/please-help-me-pray-for-peter-kassig/) (shared on Facebook once)
There were other articles that were shared as well, which was a surprise and a little bolster to my faith, but the above are the dearest to my heart so I thought I’d mention these. I wanted to address the topic of fruitfulness in ministry because I’m sure I’m not alone in having anxieties about this at times. Another helpful strategy I adopted this afternoon was to comb Christian internet forums, trying to determine what others have done to overcome doubt and discouragement. I came across several helpful posts from http://www.puritanboard.com/f117/how-do-i-know-if-my-ministry-fruitful-48027/. I hope you find these encouraging too:
Firstly, this gem of a post:
“My grandmother used to fret about fruitfulness, because in her lifetime as a believer (she became a believer when she was 40 and died in her late 80’s) she never saw a personal convert. She told me that this bothered her until she realized that God might never show her fruit. What she didn’t see was the number of lives that had been changed (and are still changing almost 15 years after her death) because of her prayers and faithfulness to God. Abraham also believed without receiving the promise (see Hebrews 11:13 and the whole chapter in fact – my notes).
I don’t see in Scripture where God calls conversions or baptisms or large numbers “fruit”. He describes the “fruit of the Spirit” much differently. When I look at a pastor, I look at his personal life and example. I also look at his faithfulness to the word of God. If the congregation is healthy spiritually, then the pastor is doing his job.
Galatians 5 contrasts the fruit of the Spirit with the works of the flesh. If “body life” reflects the fruit of the Spirit, then the pastor is being the example he should be. If the church looks more like the works of the flesh listed in Galatians 5, then I believe the pastor AND the leadership should take a long hard look at themselves and ask God what is wrong.
Being around my pastor and elders has made me want to know the Lord more. I watch their example of loving Christ, loving the church, loving the lost, caring for the flock and be(ing) grounded in God’s word. They are men I want to follow, and it has produced more growth in me and in my family.”
“God is not concerned about your success. He is concerned about your faithfulness to Him and His Word.”
So there you have it. With God, the external signs of success matter less than where our hearts are at. I hope this encourages you to keep on fighting the good fight of faith with me.
Until next time, Lord willing.