I have to admit that I have debated whether to do this post or not for over a week. Not because I think success hasn’t been written about.! It has. A LOT!! But I have debated about it for several reasons:
1) Who am I that I should write about it? Looking at my life in the ministry is a contradiction of terms: ministry longevity = success.
2) Who would really care if I should write from a pastor’s viewpoint on the misnomer called “success?”
3) What could I say that hasn’t already been said, written, blogged, and/or spoken about it?
Answers to questions: 1) Who better to? 2) Probably nobody but who better to than a pastor? 3) Probably nothing but someone has
said written something significant.
SUCCESS = ????
Smoke and mirrors
Multiple services caused by mucho people
Pastors as CEOs
Notice a trend? Hint: they are in red. “Houston, we have a problem,” to borrow a phrase. Worst part of it all: I spent way t-o-o-o many years caught up in that whole fiasco. Now please…before you read too much into this: I am not against the above list. If God blesses a man and his ministry, Go for it! Craig Groeschel and Artie Davis (to name two) are two of my favorite pastors/”friends” so don’t get any ideas I am against things.
WHAT. I. STRUGGLE. WITH. IS. THE. FEELING. OF. INFERIORITY. THAT. COMES. FROM. COMPARISON. HERE IT IS:
WHAT IS SUCCESS? HOW DO YOU MEASURE IT?
That is the big time question Shawn Lovejoy tackles in his “most excellent book” entitled “The Measure of Our Success.” I mentioned it briefly in this post, but I have been so impacted by it, I wanted to devote at least one post primarily to it. I honestly felt like Shawn was sitting next to the couch I was laying on and he was reading my thoughts. I heard things like, “You preach God’s Word and you won’t want for an audience. People will come to hear you speak.” Aaaah yeah. Try telling that to a kid eeking out a living in a small country church that hasn’t seen new blood for eons. Feelings of inferiority. Try telling that to a kid who supposedly had “Success” written all over him, but spent most of his ministry wondering what happened. Feelings of inferiority. In case you are wondering…that kid would be me.
Finally someone has said it is okay to be the pastor of a small country church. Finally someone has said success is not measured by standards the
world church thinks matter. Finally someone has written a book saying the pastor is not a CEO, he is a shepherd. (I know there have been others, but this one sticks hard). I believe so strongly in this book if I had the money I would put it in the hands of every pastor and every graduating seminary student/pastor. No…I would make it required reading for graduation. I would also put it in the hands of every church leader to read. I plan to here. To you I say read it. You never know how much it will mean to your pastor to do so…and finally understand.
Yeah…I’m that sold on it. BTW: I do know a couple of guys I will be sending this to. Thank you Shawn for writing a much-needed book. Now…how do you measure success? I’d like to hear your thoughts.