True Ministry Evaluation based on passages in 2 Corinthians

Journey Sharing Group Discussion

Reference 2 Cor 5:11-12, 2 Cor. 12:9-10 & 2 Cor. 6:3-13

Background Notes

  • Are you at a loss to know how to gauge your ministry success or the validity of your efforts?  Does this ambiguity leave you discouraged?
  • Paul and his team’s legitimacy and effectiveness were challenged by Christians who did not consider Paul successful or dynamic.
  • Paul responded by stating specific evidence that proved his ministry was valid and authentic.  This evidence was not based on outward dynamics or success margins that could be tangibly measured by others.  In this text, Paul shared his four pieces of evidence.

Discussion Points:  Paul’s Four Proofs of Ministry Authenticity; Success; Validity

  1. His faithfulness through the ever-changing circumstances of his apostolic life.  2Cor. 6:3-13
  2. His display of God’s power despite and actually, through his human weaknesses. 2Cor. 12:9-10
  3. Paul stated that his authenticity was proven, not by victories or accomplishments, but by the way he had learned to endure hardships well.  His great endurance was proof that the Spirit was working in and through His life.  2 Cor. 6:4
  4. Notice that Paul’s validation was not contingent on the amount of fruit from his efforts or from being appreciated by others (6:8). He found his validation through a genuine relationship with/dependence on, the VINE.  Fruit has never sustained anyone. In real life ministry, long-term endurance is only found through a deep connection to the Vine. (John 15)

By today’s standards, would Paul be celebrated at ministry conferences?  Would he be a speaker and consultant on how to build churches or lead ministries?  None of Paul’s “proofs” involve the unholy trinity (bucks, buildings & butts) which most Christians in Paul’s day and today use to evaluate ministry.  Instead, he stated attributes that are truly worthy of admiration in ministry leaders.  Then he encouraged believers to tout those attributes in opposing those who were impressed merely by externals.     “..we are giving you a reason to be proud of us,so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart.” 2 Cor 5:12