I recently was in a meeting with a church listening to their reluctance of trying to raise money for a new building. As we discussed the culture of the church and why they were so reluctant, it turned out it was due to right motives – they didn’t want to try and be “big” for the sake of being “big”. It was refreshing.
A large push in the western church is the mindset that size reflects success. Although that might be partially true, ministry leaders should be cautious in their push to create a space for themselves at the big table of christian notoriety.
After all, this table may bring good wishes and stature in modern ministry circles, but it does not necessarily reflect a lifestyle that seeks to obey God in relation to their calling. Efficient marketing and social media strategies, cannot replace obedience. You might launch large and make a name for yourself in the community, but are you fulfilling your ministry calling? Are you being obedient first and strategic second? And to be clear, a reversal of these priorities constitutes consumeristic success, but Gospel failure.
It reminds me of a story from a friend when he was experiencing minor success in ministry. Once while he was preparing to walk on to the stage during a glowing introduction at an event, the Holy Spirit he said spoke more plainly than he could remember. “Wouldn’t it be tragic,” said the Holy Spirit, “…if the donkey assumed the the procession was for him?!”