Sometimes it’s hard to gauge ‘effectiveness’ in ministry. In fact, it’s difficult to even determine what we mean when we say ‘effectiveness’. Is people coming to Jesus the definition of effectiveness? Baptisms? The amount of people that come to an event or Church service? These can be indicators of something for sure.
Jesus actually prefers terms like “bearing fruit” when He speaks about faithfulness and the results that come out of that. Here’s what’s uncomfortable about that: How long does it take to bear fruit?
In the image Jesus uses, we are confronted with the reality that the agricultural process of producing fruit can take years. This term rings not of immediacy, but rather of patient toil. It rings of hard work where we get our hands dirty, not easy work where we put our feet up.
I’ve been praying and ministering at Cal Sate Fullerton for around a decade. When I show people what I do, I am often asked: “how effective is this? how many people have come to Jesus through this?”
I used to almost sheepishly respond in concession “about 5 people.” However, I realized I hadn’t been properly identifying the fruit. And what does that fruit look like now? All the campus ministries coming together under Jesus, deciding they want to send students to minister His gospel on campus.
What if the fruit of doing ministry looks like the amount of workers we prepare and send into the harvest rather than the harvest itself?
Where have you committed to work with God for the long haul? Who has God brought alongside you to work with you? Who is God identifying as a potential partner to do ministry?