Jesus defined “success” in three key words

1> Faithfulness

Matthew 25:21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

2> Fruitfulness

John 15:8 “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples”

3> Finishing well

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”

2 Timothy 4:6-7 “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God,
which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

If these are the three things Jesus is looking for to determine our success as leaders in the Church that He is building

Then our PRIORITIES should reflect them

And, these three signs of success in the Church and in our ministry are all directly related to relationships that we form and develop.

Yes, we have placed so much emphasis on tasks – in fact, an overemphasis – often at the expense of relationships

I believe it is our relationships that ultimately reveal our success or lack of success in the eyes of our Heavenly Father if not in the eyes of the Church world

Christian LEADERS fell obligated to fill a vast number of roles – a tremendous variety of roles in the Church and thus in their ministry

Diagram of the ministry of Jesus as it related to His priorities, His relationships, and His impact At the top of the chart are the roles that He fulfilled

At the bottom of the chart are the number of people He influenced in each of these roles

Remember that “leadership is influence”
If not one is following you, you are simply out for a walk

The diagram of Jesus’s ministry priorities and who he was ministering to

So, the question is, “Where did Jesus spend the majority of His time, effort, and emotion? We, as leaders of people, usually feel the pull to the outside rings

More people More needs More ministry More visibility More recognition

The crowd beacons
The crowd calls for our attention

The demands of “consumer Christians” call to us endlessly

Much ministry Constant activity

No stillness … “Be still and know that I am God”
No silence … listening, contemplating
No solitude … alone with self (and God)
No Spirit … miss experiencing God’s presence, power, and peace

Leaders on the outside circles – tasks They get acceptance

The get affirmation
And, the look (and personally feel) successful

The task that fuel success in the eyes of Jesus, however, are in the inner circles at the center of the diagram

The tasks that are done behind the scenes
The tasks that go unnoticed for the most part
The tasks that build for the future
The tasks that allow for the expansion of the Kingdom The tasks that actually allow you to build a legacy

The roles on the outside circles on the diagram

The greatest demands on us personally (time, energy, emotion) The least significant in the long term

The least demand on your time
Yet, the greatest significance for your life investment are found at the center of the target (diagram)

So, here is what I want to get across to you…

You have limited time so you cannot be both on the outer rings and focusing well on the inner rings

You have limited time – only so many hours in a day or week

There are only three things you can do with your time

1> Waste it

2> Spend it

3> Invest it

So, aim for the bullseye – the tasks in the middle circles – if you want to not waste your time or simply spin your wheels (stay seriously active yet not future productive) and spend your time

To invest your time wisely in the tasks that will have the greatest impact and influence… And lead to success in the eyes of Jesus

You and I need to realign our priorities in ministry (and life) to reflect what is valuable in God’s Kingdom


In church culture

How many attend – how big your church is – determine if your are successful or not

In the Kingdom culture

Your success is determine by how close your priorities and emphasis are to those that Jesus modeled for us

So, if you chose to be a success in the eyes of Jesus you will be swimming against the current But, as God reminds me constantly, “dead fish float downstream”

The greatest leaders are not those who win the most followers

The greatest leaders are the ones who produce more leaders

They go with the flow

And, “Live fish swim upstream, against the current, and spawn new life” They go against the current flow or trend

I recommend that we follow Jesus’s pattern to success

His pattern:

He fulfilled al the roles

He preached to and healed the multitudes
… Matthew 13:1-34; Matthew 14:13-21

He cast vision to 500 at a time … 1 Corinthians 15:6

He shepherded a congregation of disciples – a church of 120 … Acts 1:15

He coached and facilitated the training of the 70 … Luke 10:1

He discipled the 12
… Matthew 10:1

Of those 12, He invested Himself in 3 to reproduce His leadership … Luke 9:28; Mark 14:33; 5:37

Remembering (working the other way – from the center out to the edge)

The 3 were part of the 12
The 12 were part of the 70
The 70 were part of the 120
The 120 were part of the 500
The 500 were part of the multitude

Jesus was not impressed or enamoured by large crowds

It is actually easy to attract a crowd or have a circus
He obviously had the ability to draw tens of thousands to attend an event It was not His purpose or focus to gather a large crowd

That was not success to Him
That would not bring success to the Movement He was birthing on the earth

In fact, He frequently tries to get away from the large crowds (Luke 5:14-16)

He even intentionally offended people without worrying about losing His popularity (John 6:41-71)

TODAY, following Jesus’ example:

It is the lives you touch, one at a time, which will be the true / real fruit off your life and ministry

To focus on the true priorities of making disciples we must, at times, neglect the distracting but less than significant demands that come from the crowds or


Removing ourselves from flowing with “consumer Christianity”

How would your life and ministry change if you applied this truth? How would your attitude towards ministry change?
How would you change your approach to ministry? Where you look for affirmation?

So, going back to where we started:

Jesus defined “success” in three key words

1> Faithfulness
2> Fruitfulness
3> Finishing well

If these are the three things Jesus is looking for to determine our success as leaders in the Church that He is building

Then our PRIORITIES should reflect them…