"When ministry changes the direction and the trajectory of an individual's or a family's life, then it is successful."
James D. Gailliard Senior Pastor
World Tabernacle Church Rocky Mount, N.C.
A 2013 Outreach 100 Church
The invitation. Too many churches spend great effort on the worship service and sermon (and rightfully so), but then treat the invitation as it is a necessary evil. It is usually rushed and executed as an afterthought. When our church was about 3 months old, I felt a strong direction from God to spend five-10 minutes every Sunday prior to the sermon to give a deliberate, well prepared and contextually relevant invitation to salvation, discipleship and church membership. The result is we have never had a week in the history of the church without professions of faith and decisions for membership. It also creates a weekly evangelistic training opportunity where the entire church is being taught how to invite people to share in their faith. Every member, every service, every Sunday is an active part of the invitation moment. It also provides for a more authentic preaching environment. Every passage of scripture is not equally evangelistic. Although all scripture points us to Jesus, some are more “unsaved” ready than others. When the invitation has already been extended, it frees the preacher to honor the truest and highest interpretation of the text. The “invitation first” model we adopted ensures we spend more time every Sunday on souls than we do announcements, offering and other worship elements, which aligns us more closely with God’s priorities.
Ministry success is measured by two words: changed lives. Too many churches think success is about the numbers. The numbers only matter because there is a story behind the numbers. When ministry changes the direction and the trajectory of an individual’s or a family’s life, then it is successful. So we measure success by results. The raw numbers never give you the results, but they provide you with the quantity of people entering into the process. For example, of the hundreds of men who attend our Men’s Roundtable, the attendance numbers don’t suggest success. When that man gets active in ministry: success. When that man becomes more engaged in the life of his child: success. When that man chooses to remain married instead of pursuing divorce: success. Ministry success is when we see improvement in quality of life and not simply offering people something else to put on their calendar. Ministry success is not about doing. It is about being.
GETTING DOWN TO WORK
Show up for work. The people we preach to on Sundays have to be at work on Monday mornings. Why should we be exempt? Being a pastor does not mean we are exempt from having a work ethic.
Mornings with God, because preaching and our spiritual life are primary. Afternoons with staff, members and community, because ministry must be contextual and relevant. Evenings with family, because our families deserve our undivided attention. This provides balance and boundaries.