Measuring Success

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Had a great lunch today with some other minister/pastors/goofballs like me and the question came up - how do you measure success in ministry?

Is about how many butts you have in the seats? (Which I hope not because we don't have seats.)

Can success really even be measured?

Or how about this comment: If it's healthy, it will grow.

I'll save my two cents for later.

6 Responses to “Measuring Success”

  1. Blogger Jason Retherford 


    I think you bring up a great question. I know for a guy in ministry now full time for two years I have wondered what success looks like in ministry too.

    I don't think large numbers of kids in our ministries or lots of people in our churches is the answer.

    I think a ministry is successful if it is honoring God. That still begs the question, what does it look like. I think a healthy or successful ministry is one in which people are activelty engaged in the discipleship process. Successful ministries are those that are more concerned about faithfulness to Jesus than to what's the latest and greatest fad in the culture. Successful ministries are those ministries that are full of imperfect people trying to follow Jesus the best they can and are exciting others they come into contact with to begin the journey too.

  2. Blogger David Moss 

    I agree with Jason....and I also struggle with how to "measure" success. When I have to write a summary of "This Year In Youth Ministry" for the annual church report what can I say that reveals the change that is occuring in kid's lives. Actually, I don't sweat too much about those kind of reports.

    What I rejoice in, and what I measure success by, are the chance encounters and conversations I have - many times after a young man/woman has "graduated" from "the program" and they share how much their relationship with Jesus grew during the days we were privileged to spend together, how they are living and growing in Jesus (and how He is growing in them!).

    Thankfully, that happens often enough to keep me charged up, encouraged, and know that lives change one at a time - and have impact way beyond what I can imagine - and that God is in control....working thru imperfect people and programs.

  3. Blogger jeremy 

    Paul describes his ministry to the Ephesians as "effective." here's the questions i ask based on his ministry there:
    1. Are the "churched" being taught and baptized? (Acts 19:1-5)
    2. Are the "unchurched" regularly being told about Jesus? (19:20)
    3. Are people practicing repentance and pursuing holiness? (19:18-19)
    4. Do people give to others in need? (20:35)
    5. Are people "relationally" cared for? (20:1, 28-31)

  4. Blogger Grant 

    that's a killer response!!

    Great insight...

  5. Blogger J-Wild 

    Searching for a definition of success in ministry is a little dangerous, because defining success establishes a place of arrival and therefore completion that isn't really ever achieved as a Christian.

    I don't want to sound like I am arguing semantics, but if you look in the business world, the really innovative companies out there don't ever see becoming successful as a target or stopping point. In fact no matter what the profession if you look at people who use success as a marker as opposed to people who view their purpose as meeting the needs of customers, fans, their own creativity, etc I think you will find a big seperation in their effectiveness.

    Isn't that the real question we should be asking. "How can we tell if what we are donig is an effective way to minister to youth?" In a lot of ways this is a lot scarier question than searching for a definition of success.

    I think Jeremy summed this up nicely.

  6. Blogger Gman 

    Define success. Maybe its just being faithful loving God loving others.

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