In this book I want to press you to consider — whether you are a church leader or an “ordinary” Christian trying to figure out the best way to use your life — one, primary question: If you looked at every one of your blessings as “kingdom seeds,” how many of them are you planting in the fields of God’s kingdom, and how many are you keeping in storehouses to use as “food”?

If you are a pastor or church leader, I want you to ask this of the organization you lead. How many of the seeds God has blessed you with are you planting into kingdom fields — fields that have great potential but yet may contribute little to the “bottom line” of your organization?

Let’s be honest: Too often, we church leaders measure the success of our ministries by one criteria and one criteria alone: How large is it? How large is the attendance? How big is the budget? And so we spend all our money on things that will increase our attendance, our budgets, and our capacity.

But if John 12:24 is true, then Jesus measures the success of our ministries not by how large we grow the storehouse, but by how widely we distribute its seeds. Jesus’ measure of the church is not seating capacity, but sending capacity.

To church leaders and individuals alike, Jesus presents a very clear choice: preserve your seed and lose it; plant your seed for his sake, and keep it through eternity (John 12:25).

J.D. Greear and Larry Osborne, Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches That Send (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015).