Ministers, at one time, were among the most trusted and admired people in our culture. But recent polls suggest admiration for clergy has reached an all-time low. As ministry leaders, how should we measure the success of our local ministries?
Skye Jethani says because there is no one-size-fits-all system for measuring ministry effectiveness, it’s important to maintain a biblical perspective.
“It’s wise to look at what’s working and what’s not working and make adjustments. But we need to be careful that we not impose upon ourselves, or our church leaders, a standard of success or effectiveness that is foreign to Scripture itself.”
Skye points out that during Jesus’ public ministry, there were many times where He would have been considered ‘highly ineffective’ in terms of poll results.
“At the end of John 6, it says that everybody left Him; they all abandoned Him and the crowds were gone because He was teaching them pretty crazy stuff about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Obviously, by the time He was arrested and put on trial everybody had left Him.”
“There were different moments in His own ministry where He was viewed as very ineffective, and yet, we know that He was being completely faithful to the calling of His father and what He was supposed to do.”
In the same way, we need to be faithful in what God has called us to do, and always remember to give the glory to Him. This should be our primary focus as we seek to be successful in ministry.
“When thinking about our own callings in ministry we can say, ‘I will be held accountable to faithfully engage what God has given me to do. But the ultimate outcome of that work, the fruitfulness of that work, the numerical growth of that work, etc., that’s out of my control; those things are in God’s hands.'”
Instead of measuring success from a worldly standpoint, it’s important that we maintain a biblical perspective, continue to be faithful in the little things, and leave the outcome entirely in God’s hands.
Skye Jethani is an author, speaker, consultant and ordained pastor. He also serves as the co-host of the popular Phil Vischer Podcast, a weekly show that blends astute cultural and theological insights with comical conversation. He is author of Immeasurable: Reflections on the Soul of Ministry in the Age of Church, Inc..Measuring success in ministry