The popular understanding today is to measure ministry by physical structures and acquisitions, that lead-ministers put in place. Adulterated prosperity messages puts undue emphasis on the paraphernalia of ministers and ministries. Most people judge ministries today by the qualities of what money can procure and not the people-products. Ministries should be judged by improved spiritual qualities of her people-beneficiaries. That should be the proof of God at work in those lives, that the minister was sent to.
So how do you measure your own ministry, is it by the accessories, gadgets and material acquisitions or by the people that you Biblically turned around for God. Do you measure your ministry by how much you spoke to people about God or by how many came closer to God by your speeches. Verbalizing sermons is great, but are the people internalizing your words? Preparing the next articulate speech for applause that should elevate you as a brand may be popular and give you money, but, can you really count on 80% of your followers that are getting closer to God through you, and in Christ JESUS?
I remember when I drove into New York from my previous missions base. By a divine twist of plans, I came in New York, by faith, not knowing exactly how each day was going to end. There were times I had to sleep on Church chairs in winter conditions and no heaters, waiting for what the next day would be like in God's plans. I know how I had to endure insults from some who judge by physical circumstances and not by the spirit of God. Many of such are not even lay men but ministers.
Now the truth is that I am not in ministry because I am poor and trying to make money out of ministry. Rather I would dare to say that ministry made me poorer than I could have been otherwise. Since ministry is all I have been permitted to do, living by that commitments has seen me torch lives in the most unique ways than I could ever do by inviting them into "my ministry" mansion. That I survived each day of almost a year, received by a few ministers that I never knew prior and cared for by people who were otherwise strangers, is a miracle and an experience that money or mansions cannot replace. It proved to me that the Bible days style of ministries are still possible today.
True ministry is about changing people for Christ. JESUS never sent disciples out to go and tell people what they wanted to hear. He never sent anybody to go and make a brand of themselves to the people. He sent them out as change-agents. My understanding of ministry is that we wait on people that God sends us to, until we make the positive difference in their lives that God initially intended. Ministry is more than physical acquisitions. True ministry costs and belabors God's servants. True ministry is not the popular brand that wishful thinkers strive for.
I have no doubt that some will disagree with me and attack the premise of this writing. Writing this is not about impressing anybody. I wrote this to encourage someone out there who may be judging him or herself by the wrong yardsticks. Judge yourself by the level of obedience to what he asked you to do specifically and not by popular expectations of others.
True ministry is not about your personal possessions, true ministry is measured by the fact that God use you to change people's lives on the long run. It is not just by improving their immediate physical net-worth, but also in re-modeling them, in eternal ways. True ministry success, in my view, is when you are able to raise someone, who is able to follow through, to raise others also, in Christ JESUS. That is why He called it discipleship.True ministry is more of micro-managing individuals, than making macro-impressions. It is more about using your life than using the public address systems.
Is there someone out there who would pray with me:
"Lord JESUS, I thank you for your life and sacrifices for mankind. I also thank you for counting me worthy of your calling and to be your representative. I receive true grace to follow your examples. Help me to pay the price and sacrifices that will help me to save souls and improve lives, regardless of challenges that may come with that. I choose to trust in you no matter what. I ask that you be glorified in my life, even as I serve you with all my heart, in JESUS name, I prayed. Amen..!"