There comes a time in the life of almost every person in ministry (before you say not me, notice I said MOST not ALL) when we look around and wonder if what we are doing is making a difference; if it really matters; if there is even a point.
It sounds good to say things like “We don’t care about the numbers”, “It doesn’t matter that there are 50 less people in service this week than last week as long as we have healthy people we don’t care”, “I know my travel schedule is light, but Praise God, it’s going to be a great season to refresh and recharge”, “I don’t really care who reads my blog, I just write it for myself” or any number of other things we may tell ourselves and others. These all sound good, but can we be honest and say that we really don’t believe what we are saying?
The truth is, seeing less people in church can be discouraging for a pastor and ministry team. Having a lack of speaking engagements can be deflating for an itinerant minister. Having 2 ladies show up for the women’s Bible Study when we expected 50 can take the wind out of our sails. Checking the stats and seeing that only 4 people read our latest blog offering can be somewhat depressing.
We’ve planned, prepared, and put our heart and soul into our ministry and when we don’t see our expected results it is easy to get disheartened, even if just for a moment. It doesn’t help that on social media platforms worldwide, everyone else is talking about the amazing growth they are experiencing in their churches, the amount of ministry opportunities they are receiving, the doors that are opening, etc…. when it seems that we ourselves are not impacting anyone. This can leave us feeling flat, wondering why we do what we do.
Maybe instead of thinking about what we are NOT, what we don’t have, or what we wished we had, we need to shift our perspective and start thinking about the ONE.
(No, not that ONE though He is pretty important too!) The ONE who’s life was changed without us even knowing it. The ONE who slipped into our church a year ago a broken mess, who is thriving today. The ONE single mom who was hopeless until we showed her Jesus. The ONE sick guy who was supposed to die, but is still alive today. How about the ONE cashier in the grocery store, who was overworked, overtired and overwhelmed until we smiled and asked how her day was? Or the ONE who did read our blog and it changed their perspective on their situation.
This is why we do what we do. Everywhere we go there are ONEs walking around, who have had their lives changed because of us, and even more importantly, ONEs waiting to have their lives changed. Jesus Himself told the story of a Shepherd who left his flock to go after the ONE. In fact in Jesus’ parable He said the Shepherd makes more of a fuss over that ONE than the other 99 who stayed put. Instead of wishing we could see a greater impact from our ministry, let’s celebrate the ONEs today.
Who is your ONE? I’d love to hear all about it!