I have been reading Pastoral Ministry According to Paul: A Biblical Vision, by James W. Thompson. James overviews Paul's major writings showing what Paul's pastoral vision was. I think I can summarize James by stating that he believes Paul's pastoral vision was the transformation of the people and community to be more loving and become blameless. James states that Paul believes that this is journey and is on going. Conversion is a beginning step not the end result.
I think this book is right on. But it raises some questions.
1) James says that Paul believes that a ministry is only successful if actually leads to the transformation of people. Is this how we rate our ministries? What are some of the other ways that we measure the success of a ministry?
2) Have we failed if no one is changed? I have often heard that we remain faithful to God and let him take care of the results. Is this an excuse? Or is this true?
3) How do we measure transformation? Paul battles legalism (making laws the mark of spirituality).