by Guy Rodgers, President and CEO
It’s a question I get frequently: How do we measure or define “success” in Pinnacle Forum? A good way to answer that is by examining how two different types of ministries define success.
For ease of comparison I’ll call one kind of ministry a “front-line” ministry. By this I’m referring to ministries such as Crisis Pregnancy Centers, homeless shelters, medical missionary organizations, and the like. I use the term “front-line” because they operate on the “front line” where needs exist with specific mission statements to meet those needs.
A different kind of ministry is what I’ll call a “leadership empowerment” ministry. The mission of such a ministry is to equip, enable, empower and unleash servant-leadership for kingdom work. It’s different from a “front-line” ministry because it’s mission does not speak to a specific need or cluster of needs it seeks to address, but rather to the development and empowerment of servant leaders.
Pinnacle Forum, at its core, is a leadership empowerment ministry. As a result, Pinnacle Forum Partners advance the mission of Pinnacle Forum through their personal growth, their growth in servant-leadership, and their application of this to a wide variety of needs, causes and callings.
So let’s compare how success is measured between a front-line ministry, in this case a Crisis Pregnancy Center, and Pinnacle Forum, a leadership empowerment ministry.
While not the only measure of success, one of the most important measures of success for a Crisis Pregnancy Center is how many unborn babies are saved. Thus, every CPC includes, as part of its story, how many mothers chose not to abort their babies. They then humanize what could otherwise become a statistic by telling compelling, moving stories of mothers who made the decision not to abort as well as stories of the children who lived.
But let’s say behind the scenes of a CPC was a Pinnacle Forum Partner who stewarded time, talents, treasure and influence to advance the mission of the CPC. This Partner gave financially; served on the board and provided wise counsel; connected the CPC to opinion leaders in the community; helped with public relations; and more.
This story would be one example of how to describe the “success” of Pinnacle Forum, the story of an influential Christian leader who had discovered and executed on his or her calling to transform culture through the rescuing of unborn children and the changes wrought in the lives of their mothers.
We see this distinction between “front line” and “leadership empowerment” in the ministry of Jesus. He healed the sick; fed the hungry; raised the dead – and encouraged his disciples to do likewise. Front-line ministry.
But here’s what’s interesting. We can conclude from the gospel accounts that Jesus spent much more of his time with those twelve disciples than He did with those in the culture in need. His choice to do so tells us a great deal about how important this was. He was engaging in the ultimate leadership empowerment ministry, preparing twelve men to be the foundation for this new move of God called “the church.” He was replicating and duplicating himself in those men.
In a similar way leadership empowerment ministries like Pinnacle Forum play a crucial role in the success of front-line ministries.
It’s more challenging to describe, define and measure the success of a leadership empowerment ministry, if for no other reason than the actions of its participants are so diverse and not necessarily obvious. For instance, if a Pinnacle Forum Partner proves to be instrumental in the election to the U.S. Senate of a mature follower of Jesus, it might be years before we could fully recognize and appreciate the impact of that one Senator. Thus, other than reporting an election victory as a success, countless other successes arising from that Senator’s initial campaign victory might never be clear, understood, reported or linked back to the actions of that Pinnacle Forum Partner.
I’ve also found that Pinnacle Forum Partners can be reluctant in touting their stories because they don’t want a light shined on them. I appreciate that, so we need to keep looking for ways to tell these stories in order to glorify God, encourage those both inside and outside of Pinnacle Forum, and motivate those considering participating in Pinnacle Forum.
Jesus modeled for us how important, indeed how essential, leadership empowerment is to the fulfillment of front-line ministry. If we look at Pinnacle Forum through this lens we’ll see God-honoring “success” all around us.