What is a successful ministry?
"Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." 1 Corinthians 4:2
The desperate need of the hour is faithful men in the pulpits of our churches. We have an over-abundance of preachers. We do not need any more slick, polished, well-educated professionals in "the ministry". But we do, most desperately, need some faithful men — pastors after God's own heart, who feed His people with knowledge and understanding. Thank God, we have a few!
In this day of big business religion, when churches are measured not by their orthodoxy, but by the opinions of men; when a preacher's success is measured not by his faithfulness, but by the number of names added to the church roll — it might be wise to consider what a successful ministry is according to the measure of Holy Scripture.
According to the Word of God, those preachers and churches are successful who are faithful to the work to which God has called them. Never in the Old Testament or in the New was a prophet, apostle, or preacher measured by the opinions of men. God's servants never courted the favor of men, and were never favored by the majority of the people. The church of God has always been out of step with society. The servants of God have always been looked upon as peculiar, bigoted dogmatists, intolerant and incapable of compromise. But they were faithful — faithful to God, faithful to His truth, and faithful to the souls of men.
Do not be so foolish as to measure God's work by man's yardstick. Do not measure the success or failure of preachers and churches by men, by numbers, or by popular opinion. The only measure of success for churches and preachers is faithfulness. Those who faithfully seek and promote the glory of God, who faithfully proclaim the truth of God, and who faithfully serve the eternal interests of immortal souls are successful. Those who are not are failures. The one will stand the fire of judgment. The other will not.
The greatest blessing God can ever bestow upon any people in this world is to establish in their midst a faithful Gospel church with a faithful Gospel preacher as his messenger.
"Tychicus . . . is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord." Colossians 4:7