A youth pastor asked me this question recently so I want to encourage those of you who have poured a lot of time into an event and had only one or two people show up, that what looks like a flop to you, might look very different from an eternal perspective.
Several years ago my best friend and her husband decided to run an Alpha course in their neighborhood. They asked neighbors, cooked, prepared, and several neighbors promised to come. On the first night exactly one woman showed up. With four of us present, only one of whom was a guest, my friends asked me, “What do we do now?” I suggested we carry on like it was the most normal thing in the world to have just four of us.
After four weeks of meeting, the woman told us she could no longer continue to come but wanted to know if she could purchase the DVDs. We were willing to give them to her in the hopes at least one person would be reached. She said she’d rather buy them because, “I’m Sikh and I share this with the community but there are too man of them to invite to your house”. Somewhat stunned we asked her to clarify and she thought she would show them to her community center since it would have been presumptuos to bring several dozen people to the house. Our “one” person “flop” was not what we thought.
In reality, welll over 100 people were being exposed on a weekly basis to the content of Alpha because our faithful friends treated one person just as it she’d been a dozen. All the time they were unaware their faithfulness to one was multiplied a hunred fold or more. How totally human to see with our eyes and how totally like God to see a whole lot of people we could not.
Will there be nights when you are alone? Perhaps. If so, you have demonstrated to the heavenlies that you will be faithful to your God even if no one one else shows up. Will there be nights when one or two show? Yes. Treat them like they are the most important people in the world. Don’t be ashamed of having a “flop”. Perhaps what looked like a “flop” to you was the Lord proving to the unseen accusers that you will not give up, you will stay faithful, and you will trust God for results.
When no one shows up carry on like they had and remember the audience of One is the only audience that matters. God is not big on wasting stuff, so don’t you worry. He’s got something in the works. I am not a fan of Woody Allen but in this regard he was right. He said the harest part of life was showing up. Sometimes in ministry the hardest part is showing up and trusting that God has shown up as well. All is well.