Below is a resource from 9/1/2017.
Faithfulness Equals Effectiveness
Following Jesus' command to make disciples is the most thrilling and rewarding adventure in life. It's filled with amazing highs as you experience God using you to impact generations for Christ. It is at the same time, however, filled with many discouraging things as well. Things like witnessing to someone countless times only to see them reject Christ and you. Things like investing significant amounts of time into someone who falls away and doesn't remain. Anyone who has ever attempted to lead people to Christ has experienced something like this. Speaking from personal experience, I have had as many, if not more "failures" than "successes" in disciple making. Every single one of them hurts my heart deeply. After all, these are people we are talking about.
If we aren't careful, Satan can feed us the lie that discouragement in ministry means we aren't effective witnesses for Christ. He can lead us to believe that it's safer for our hearts to remain sidelined in the mission because we aren't that good at it. Don't buy it! The Bible is very clear that simple obedience to pour out our lives in evangelism with unbelievers and discipleship with believers is success. In disciple making, faithfulness equals effectiveness, not results.
"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."
1 Corinthians 3:5-7
Disciple makers are never asked to get results, that's God's job. The only way you ever really fail in the Great Commission is when you stop trying to do it. Here are a few things to remember when we are discouraged and need to hang in.
- Trust the gospel is doing its job. Scripture tells us that the gospel both draws people and hardens them. (2 Cor. 2:14-16) If people hear it, it will have God's sovereign effect on them, and God will be glorified.
- Jesus spent 3 years investing in guys who let him down. Jesus did life on life discipleship with his guys, 24/7, non-stop for 3 years. His best disciple denied Him 3 times, and his most educated disciple was the son of perdition. Yet the Holy Spirit multiplied the church through that investment, and we have the gospel now because of them.
- Discipleship is more agriculture than technology. Most often we don't see the fruit of our labors until many years down the road. Just keep plowing, sowing, and watering. In due time we will reap a harvest.
Grace and peace, Scott Long