Jud Wilhite on the Right (and Wrong) Way to Measure Ministry Success

You pastored several small churches in rural areas. What did you take away from those experiences that you’re still using today?

Ministry is ministry. I always look back on those experiences and remember that I love ministry. I love the privilege of working with people and walking with them and teaching them and being taught by them.

So ministry to me, I learned this early on, is not about the number of people you’re ministering to or the size of the church.

I always tell people this because we’re so infatuated with size as the measurement of our success. It’s really about who you do ministry with and doing it for the glory of God.

And whether you’re doing it for 50 or for 500 or for 20,000 people, I would say if you can’t find contentment ministering to 50, you’re probably not going to be content doing it for 20,000.

How do you measure Central Christian’s success?

Measuring movement is probably our greatest indicator of overall church health. How many people are going through a process and not only coming to faith but then getting baptized. And not only getting baptized but growing in their faith. And not only growing in their faith in a group but then serving the community and passing on their faith.

We are just really intentional about that pathway and seeing people truly realize who they are to God.

That’s a powerful discovery for anyone. When did you first really understand how God sees you?

I think there is this macro identity that we have as believers, as one in Christ. And the macro level means that I’m a saint because I have His righteousness already. I’m a priest already. I’m a servant, I’m loved, I’m forgiven in Christ. So obviously when God sees us, He sees us at a macro level (in Christ).

James P. Long
James P. Longhttp://JamesPLong.com

James P. Long is the editor of Outreach magazine and is the author of a number of books, including Why Is God Silent When We Need Him the Most?