Is growth of your children’s ministry your measure in how much God loves or favors you? The wisdom of today’s church world would say yes. The bigger the better. The more children you have in your ministry, the greater God is blessing you. The first shall be first. Wait. Wasn’t that supposed to be the first shall be last?
Church growth strategies to help churches know how to reach the lost and effectively minister in a greater way have their place. But sometimes greater numbers and ministries can also become an idol, especially when they’re used to measure God’s favor on our lives.
Let’s look at examples in the Bible. There are times when great multitudes were ministered to and great exploits were achieved by men and women who had the favor of God on their lives. Moses, Joshua, King David, Paul the Apostle, and John the Baptist were a few.
But there were also cases where someone would obey God and fulfill his ministry calling, but the results didn’t show God’s favor. Jonathan, King Saul’s son, not only didn’t expand the kingdom, he never gained it. He swore to David to give the kingdom to him. But before he could do that, he died in battle. Yet, God was pleased with him.
Jeremiah preached his entire life without one convert. Talk about discouraging. Yet God was pleased with Jeremiah. Jesus showed us an example of how to build a great following and then have everyone turn away from him. Yet Jesus is God’s beloved Son. I all ready mentioned Paul and John the Baptist who had large ministries. Both were beheaded.
We can also look at more recent church history to know that numbers and statistics don’t always show what’s really happening in the Kingdom of God. In the 1850’s, history only records one conversion a Sunday School teacher named Mr. Kimball made – DL Moody. Fredrick Meyer heard DL Moody preach about Mr. Kimball and decided to become an evangelist. J. Wilbur Chapman heard Meyer say, “If you are not willing to give up everything for Christ, are you willing to be made willing?” and became an evangelist. Billy Sunday helped Chapman set up crusades and learned to preach from Chapman. He eventually took over Chapman’s ministry. A group of men became inspired by Billy Sunday’s crusades, and determined to hold crusades in Charlotte, North Carolina to win the lost. They hired Mordecai Ham to preach some services. Billy Graham went forth in one of those services and was saved.
Some children’s pastors, leaders, and teachers will never be known for their impact on the Kingdom of God because their ministry might have been small in numbers. But only God knows how great their ministry really is and how the assignment He gave them to do may have greater impact than the large children’s ministry down the street.
But the key to God’s favor isn’t the size of your ministry or even the impact it’s making if you could measure that. The key is following hard after God and obeying whatever He gives you to do. Results are God’s business, but obedience and devotion to God is our responsibility. When we start get away from that and start looking at results, that’s when children’s ministry can become an idol.