How do you measure success?

August 11, 2011

Almost every year the leadership board at the church where I served would ask me how I measured success.  I really don’t understand why they either did not remember or did not keep minutes, but it was a regular question.  And it was a question that was worthy of my regular consideration, whether it was asked or not.

As with any responsible position, I had a list of objectives, towards which I worked every year.  I put some items on the list, my creative leadership team helped round out the list, as did my supervisors.

We had a set of core values, and a mission statement, by which we measured accomplishments and/or the lack thereof.   We had a vision:  to offer the most inviting environment and the most compelling message to children, so they may have a joyful, life changing relationship with God, and impact their world for Christ.

All of those things are good measuring devices.  But here are a few things that didn’t make my conversation with the board, which would in hindsight be true measures of success in ministry

A small group leader misses a Sunday.  Just one Sunday out of so many.  And yet, he calls me Monday morning and asks,  “How are my kids?”  That’s success!

A second grader comes in week after week, and reminds me every time how she is doing.  “I have 10, 15 20, 30 verses memorized.”  In eight months she memorizes and understands 100 versesThat’s success!

A two-year-old goes home so excited that it prompts her father to examine this “Jesus thing” and the end result is dad forming a relationship with Christ?  That’s success!

 A twenty percent increase in attendance is cool.  Eleven hundred kids at VBS is GREAT.  But, love, commitment and service by a team of partners who, through the POWER of the Holy Spirit, change lives one at a time.  That’s success!

We can design, build and decorate the best classrooms in the state.  We can have the best artwork, the coolest logo and wonderful thematic elements throughout the area.  That’s all frosting on the cake.  We can offer the best, newest, edgiest curriculum and the most modern, discipleship programs available, and the best resources for parents and families in the business.

All of those things can make a more inviting environment and offer a more compelling message than ever before.

But the  true success in ministry needs to be children and adults entering into joyful life changing relationships with God, which impact our world for Christ, one person at a time.

That is success.


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