For those of you who have followed this blog for a while, in the last few months you should of noted a clear change in the content posted.
That’s because hopefully, there has been a clear change in me, which hopefully will result in clear changes in the ministry and those that we disciple. I say hopefully, because I am not the right person to judge this, time will surely tell.
I have been evaluating my own life and the ministry, looking at what needs to change and how can it change to improve potential fruitfulness. I am trying to be ruthlessly honest.
Faith, if we are not careful, can very easily become false, even fake. For example, rarely will you find a faith based organization ever admit any form of perceived failure…as its seen to be pretty much contrary to faith to admit such a thing, even if it’s true. The larger figure is always seen as better than the lesser figure, even if the lesser is more accurate. After all sponsors and donors want to see fruit, they want to hear the highlights, the amazing testimonies, so they know they are getting bang for their buck. So that’s the picture we tend to paint for them. They want people saved, demons cast out, miracles worked and churches planted. Even if they themselves are not doing these things, it seems to be right for them to expect others to be doing them.
Well hey, you know what, that just ain’t how it always is. Look at this, Jesus went to the cross in a horrible manner at a time when no one was expecting that to happen. We know the before and the after, so we know that the cross was a huge success and part of the plan of God…but if you were there, would you of thought that at the time? Probably not…
The disciples were clearly confused and disappointed, this was not how they saw it working out, this was not what they had given their lives for. This was not the “success” they were expecting, even though we now know this as an amazing victory.
Faith based organizations can measure success dozens of ways, depending upon what their actual vision is and how they define certain things.
We are aiming at disciples, which in itself can be tricky to really define. For us perhaps this would be a fair definition – a disciple is someone who is consistently living an ever maturing Christian life, and who is clearly influencing others to do the same. They are breaking free from cultural restraints and are step by step becoming more and more like Jesus. We also like to add the ever increasing evidences of the Holy Spirits presence, manifesting in various signs, wonders and miracles.
We refuse to settle for a traditional version, or a culturally accepted shadow of Christianity. We will have the real thing or nothing at all.
That was a very strong statement, and I am not saying this is what we have, but I am increasingly aware, that without constantly fresh input from the Holy Spirit, this is where man tends to go, “we settle”…when I think the Holy Spirit wants “to constantly stir things up”.
An honest evaluation of our discipleship making efforts.
We have led thousands to Christ, seen heaps of them baptised in the Holy Spirit, blessed multiple thousands with various forms of assistance, medical, dental, housing, schooling (elementary high school and college), genuinely saved a few thousand children from starvation in the early days (I am happy with 5,000+ as a genuine figure here), planted four churches, three I would call healthy, trained perhaps 50 leaders (this is trained from scratch, as in unbelievers to leaders, zero imports, zero existing leaders). To my knowledge I would estimate over 90% of our existing members had no consistent church attendance at all until we met them, they definitely had no active faith of any sort.
With these figures alone I could paint a very impressive picture, and then if I started to detail miracles of all shapes and sizes, including at least one Dr verified dead raising, another one un-verifiable…it would all be a bit WOW…
But none of these things alone are our measure of success, we want disciples…so if was blunt and brutally honest how many of them have I produced, that I would call mature…
If I was proud, this would be embarrassing, but honestly, I think FIVE.
Not that I need to defend anything we have done, but in stating the above figure, I recognize that we have many, many more people than that who are confident and very active in certain areas of ministry, but this is just a figure according to my definition of mature. For some of the others, it might be a little unfair of me to not include them in the FIVE. But as I said “brutally honest”.
I also see a serious spiritual ground swelling in the youth, we have some serious leadership developing here, that will be nothing but outstanding. Watch this space…
Why would I post such figures..?
Making disciples is our life time call. We will be endeavoring to make disciples until we die, and I don’t want to ever settle for an inferior product in order to make the figures look better.
I believe strongly that quality will eventually lead to quantity. Also believing that quantity can sometimes come at the cost of quality. I want quality disciples. It does not bother me how long it takes, I have my whole life in front if me.
We appreciate and need your prayers.
Keeping the main thing the main thing.
Mark and Christine Pedder