If numbers were "the visible sign" that God was moving, then Jeremiah was a failure; John the Baptist a failure; the Apostle Paul was a failure; men like Edwards/Watson/Calvin/Gill/Luther, etc. were utter failures. And even Jesus Himself would have to be considered a failure. Beloved, we do not measure a church's effectiveness by the size of the yearly offerings or how many are attending. We certainly don't measure a pastor's effectiveness by book sales and MP3 downloads, etc. That's all shallow and petty; carnal and fleshly. God's ways are not our ways; and His thoughts are not our thoughts. That is why one pastor who is impressed with his numbers and touts them as his bio for recognition thinking that makes him and his ministry relevant and respectable, but at the same time puts down other pastors who having small churches in size, that are not techno savvy, and arrogantly draws the false conclusion that "they are faithful but ignored and ineffectual" - that man is a cretin and has developed spiritual cataracts.
May I encourage you to drink in slowly the two passages of Scripture below and ponder how the Apostle Paul dealt with the sectarian promotion of self and what should truly define a genuine minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and of God.
Then... please also read Tozer's punctuating quote below. Not preferring circumlocution, but in an economy of words A.W. speaks pointedly from the grave to some of the pragmatic moorings of our day.
Biblical Ministry Matters... If you have a pastor that is more concerned about being faithful rather than successful, then thank the Lord for that man. May his tribe increase.
Burn your plastic popularity and pragmatic models...
1 Corinthians 4:1-2
HT: Ken Silva
This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.1 Corinthians 3:1-7
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
POPULARITY DOES NOT NECESSARILY
We have but to become acquainted with, or even listen to, the big names of our times to discover how wretchedly inferior most of them are. Many appear to have arrived at their present eminence by pull, brass, nerve, gall and lucky accident…
[T]he church also suffers from this evil notion. Christians have fallen into the habit of accepting the noisiest and most notorious among them as the best and the greatest. They too have learned to equate popularity with excellence, and in open defiance of the Sermon on the Mount they have given their approval not to the meek but to the self-assertive; not to the mourner but to the self-assured; not to the pure in heart who see God but to the publicity hunter who seeks headlines.
HT: Ken Silva