Psalm 127:1 (King James Version)
Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
To me, success is doing what God told you to by the power of the Word and Spirit.
Faith begins where the will of God is known and success starts by finding out the will of God for your life and ministry, then doing it by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (New Living Translation)
10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.
12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.
If I judge my success by the number of people that attend “my” Church then I’ve stopped walking by faith and have started to let my life and actions be governed by my natural senses. Ministry is (supposed to be) a supernatural endeavor and can only be done by faith.
I’m not the judge of my success, Jesus is. Do my results measure up to His instructions?
The seal of approval on your ministry is not crowds, fame or money. If the Holy Ghost is not attending your services you are a failure and all of your efforts are vain labor.
1 Corinthians 2:14 (New Living Translation)
But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.
When we moved into our new building the money issue was starting to press in on me. The Lord told me to do something, but I was paying more attention to our bank account than the will of the Lord. So I’m walking around the church building, He supernaturally blessed us with, worrying about money. In mid-worry, the Spirit of God spoke up on the inside of me and said “I’m the one who pays the bills around here”.
With the one word from the Lord I came back to my spiritual senses and just did what God told me to. When I did, the money showed up to get the job done.