What is success in missions and how do you measure it?

The Bible teaches several points with unavoidable clarity.

  1. Results in missions come from God, not from the human instrument. “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 Cor. 3:6-7).
  2. Our role is to faithfully proclaim the gospel and trust God for the results. “And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:25-27).
  3. Consequently true success in missions is measured by faithfulness to the task, not by immediate, visible results. “So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Cor. 4:1-2, NIV).
  4. The very nature of Christian missions depends on faith. “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). The attempt to measure results is often an attempt to live by sight. Defining success as “faithfulness” is hard to embrace because it requires total dependence on God.
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