A Word From Robby: Measuring Success in Ministry

A Word From Robby // September 3, 2019 //

In the summer of 1987, Sports Reach (formerly known as Kentucky Baptist Sports Crusaders) headed to Kenya on a basketball mission trip. We were all excited about this two-week trip. 

We traveled all over the country, playing basketball and ministering. The response was unbelievable. Over 600 people claimed they decided to follow Jesus that trip, and we were blown away. We thought we had this ministry thing all figured out.

When we got home, everyone was going crazy about all the decisions that were made in Kenya. We were getting all sorts of accolades handed to us. 

A couple of years later, we took a team to Mongolia. Unlike Kenya, where the country was open and gave us every opportunity to talk about Jesus, Mongolia was a closed country. This limited us to what we could do spiritually, such as being told we couldn’t share open testimonies. However, our first game rolled around, and they gave us the green light to talk about Jesus.  Wow, we did not see that one coming! The Mongolian trip is still the trip with the craziest stories, and if you’d like to hear more, I would love to share them with you sometime. 

Before this trip, we never would have thought we would have the chance to eat camel soup, ride in two packed jeeps 21 1/2 hours over no roads, take a bath (in our shorts) in front of over 100 people in ice-cold water, play a basketball game where we played two different teams in the same game – and these are just some of the stories!  All of those experiences, and we only knew of four people accepting Jesus Christ. When we got home, people talked about how that was a long way to go to only see four people accept Christ. 

But what people didn’t know was the following:

Kenya: The missionaries there told us they hadn’t seen conversions for Christ in years. Then, when Kentucky Baptist started to come they finally had the opportunity to see people making decisions for Christ. They told us they had been praying for years for God to do a miracle in Kenya, and He did. He was pouring out His Holy Spirit in such a manner that people would walk right up to you and say, “Tell me about Jesus!”. I had never seen anything like it! 

Mongolia:  Although the numbers were small, we found out later that one of the four people converted was a man that played an instrumental role in starting the first Evangelical Church in the country.  How cool is that!

Many churches and individuals determine the success or failure of a trip or ministry effort by the number of people who “accepted Jesus.”  I’ve heard people talk about how a youth trip wasn’t as good as one in the past because “there were just not as many people saved.”  

Even though I love when individuals make decisions to follow Jesus, this can never be our standard of success.  

Why would I say that? Isn’t that heresy? Then what are we supposed to do? We must first identify the difference between God’s job and ours.

“For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.”

‭‭-John‬ ‭6:44‬ ‭

No one can be saved unless he is drawn to Jesus, this is God’s job, not ours to convince them to come.

“And when he [Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.”

‭‭-John‬ ‭16:8‬

It is God’s job to convict and show the need to repent.  We can’t guilt people into following Jesus.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” 

-Ephesians 2:8

‭‭We now see that God, through His grace, gives us the faith to be saved.  We don’t muster up on our own enough faith to believe.

So if God convicts us, shows us the need for repentance, draws us to Himself, through His grace gives the faith to believe, then why in the world are we trying to put a notch in our belt when someone becomes a follower of Jesus? That is God’s job, so what is ours?

I want to share the idea of “Ministry touches”. Our job is to be used to reach out and touch others. 

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 

-1 John 3:18

‭‭So how do we show the truth of God’s love?

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

-Matthew 25:40

So what are Ministry Touches? To name a few,

  • Praying for someone
  • Meeting a physical need, no matter how small
  • Ministering to those that have had legal issues
  • Reaches out to those with various addiction issues
  • Just stopping a minute to talk to someone
  • Spending quality time with a lonely person
  • Any act of service God lays on your heart

The thing we need to understand is that if you are counting something, make sure it’s something you are responsible for. All of these are just tilling up the soil, planting seeds, watering them, trying to get weeds out, etc.  These are our jobs, which are all essential and used to prepare everything for God so He can do what He does. 

We are told in Matthew 28:18-20 to:

Disciple, Baptize, and Train!

Finally, be obedient to do what God has called you to do and then just let Him do His thing!

For God’s glory,

Robby 

 

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