I read of Jesus on the boat with the disciples or standing at the foot of the mountain, and wondering if the disciples will ever grow in their own faith and trust in God. I think for every leader and teacher we hope that others will grasp what it is we are trying to pass on. Unfortunately the results we are hoping and praying for in others seems to miss the mark time and time again. We are left wondering how effective we are, and sometimes it becomes discouraging.
We must remember that people may be listening, and growing in ways that we are not seeing right at this moment. I remember how amazed I was the first time I heard the fact that most trees have a larger root system than the branches we see above the ground. We can learn from this fact of nature that what is seen is often smaller than what is going on under the surface. We may see someone go from attending a service or study once in a few months to one day seeing them coming almost each week. The change going on in the heart has likely been greater than we will ever know.
I knew a man who thought going to church or any Bible study was irrelevant to life. He was under the impression that all the churches of America wanted was the money of those who attended. He came to a Bible study, once or twice with a friend and remained skeptical. Several weeks later he came again, with questions, and seeking some encouragement of others. Over three years a transformation took place in his life. He not only became a regular in the Bible study, but starting to be a regular in church services. Then he began to see needs and volunteering to help in the church. There were many who questioned how holy or religious the man really was. Then the man started to show his insight from personal Bible study and prayer. He started to trust God and began to share how important trust in God, and in the church really was.
I think we sometimes get wrapped up in results in our churches so much that we miss the slow and steady changes going on right around us. Not everyone is going to have a lightning changing event, as Paul did on the Damascus road. We may preach and teach the truth of God for months or years before the first signs of real spiritual growth becomes evident in someone's life. It isn't always the numbers that should matter, but the changes God is making in the lives of those we are called to care for. Often our own lives will be transformed along the way as well.
Keep teaching, preaching, and reaching with God's truth. Then let Him worry about how fast the crop of the heart and soul grows.