Having a small youth group can be discouraging for those who want to reach students with the life changing message of Jesus Christ. When only five students show up to youth group and only two of them seem interested, it’s easy to lose the spring in your step.
A Word to Those With Tiny Flocks
That’s why this insight from an interview with Mark Dever was so life-giving to me in the lean years of ministry. When asked, “What single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your (pastoral) leadership?”
John Brown in a letter of counsel to one of his pupils newly ordained over a small congregation:
“I know the vanity of your heart, and that you will feel mortified that your congregation is very small, in comparison with those of your brothers around you; but assure yourself on the word of an old man, that when you come to give an account of them to the Lord Christ, at his judgment-seat, you will think you have had enough.”
In your ministry, don’t aim for bigness; aim for faithfulness. Your ministry’s success will not be seen in how many students were seated, but in how the students were shepherded. On that final day, Christ will not ask us for our ministry’s record of attendance, but he will look upon its record of faithfulness.
But wait, there’s more.
A Word to Those With Any Kind of Sheep
This principle is not only applicable to youth pastors or Christian leaders, but to all Christians. All of us will stand before Christ to give an account for the things He has entrusted to us (Matthew 25:14-30). Fathers and mothers will give account for the children entrusted to them to raise. Employees will give account to Christ for the work they did in their lives. All things have been given to us from Christ and we will give our account to Christ for how we used those things in His service. How we use our resources, how we love our neighbors, how we raise our families; we will answer for all of it. Therefore, the goal of all Christians should not be to covet larger ministry or greater influence. Our goal must be to faithfully serve where we God has placed us. However small our responsibilities seem today, they won’t seem small when we account for them to Jesus.
My fellow Christian ministers, never aim for larger, bigger and better ministries or influence. Fathers and mothers, don’t despise the often mundane family ministry you are called to. Employees, don’t grumble about the little you do from 9 to 5. Don’t despise the small field assigned you. Work it and keep it with your eyes turned to His honor and your ears turned to His Word.
Seek faithfulness and watch God make it fruitful.