Ministry is often like the Tale of Two Cities. It can be the best of times, and the worst of times. You can't beat conversations like the one I had this morning; on the front lines of what God is doing in the lives of people. Yet many of the pastors I know struggle with deep bouts of discouragement and disillusionment, because ministry is extraordinarily difficult and very few people understand the weight pastors carry.  

Most of us do what we do because we love Jesus and love people, and because we want to see the people we love trusting the Jesus we love. Unfortunately, the return isn't usually great. 

A baseball player who got on base four times out of ten would win a batting title every year, and be a lock for the Hall of Fame. Most baseball players get on base less than twenty percent of the time. Believe it or not, the greatest pastors have a far lower rate of "success."

The Great Awakening affected around 8% of the population, and it was a monumental, unprecedented time. It's much more realistic that the greatest pastors will have a return in the 1% to 2% range, and that the rest of us will be less effective than that. That's hard for those of us who love Jesus and love people. It's discouraging. 

The reason it's discouraging is because we don't have a thought-system today that allows us to "fail" 9 times out of 10 and consider ourselves "successful." So we hide our faults and hate ourselves, and secretly wonder if God is working through us at all. 

The problem, though, isn't with us or our God. The problem is with our definition of success. God hasn't called us to "success" in the first place. He's called us to be faithful stewards of the opportunities and resources He gives us. That's true success that changes everything. And I can bat darn near 1000, if I'm willing to step up to the plate.  


The Kinley's said...

Inspiration from the pancakes at Ol South? Maybe I need to eat there...honestly you guys that meet there seem to grow spiritually afterwards....Is Jesus sitting in the corner booth?

Mark Hancock said...

Hi Chris. Ran into your blog when I googled, "he is not a tame lion".

Blessed by what I read. Just wanted you to know I would be following you!

Feel free to check on me:

Mark Hancock