Thursday, November 18, 2010

How do we measure success in Ministry?

An oldie but a goodie; but this question keeps resurfacing in ministry circles. In this post I'm interested in how do we measure success in Ministry, but defining success is equally interesting and important.

So how do we measure success in Ministry?

Weighted Anecdotally: what key or representative people thought
Completed without mistakes
Outcomes fulfilled


Radagast said...

Isn't "success" when Someone says "Well done, good and faithful servant"?

Luke said...

Therein lies half my dilemma.

Luke said...

Ministry should be framed by the longer Kingdom view, but in making local, month to month or year to year decisions how do we know where to direct our and our congregation's energy, time and resources?

I think I have the beginnings of a strategy in my previous post.

Jon said...

Yes Luke, a hugely difficult question. Hope you don't mind if I play with this idea a little based on my professional life, and don't take any of this too seriously. I'm extremely ambivalent about applying secular planning processes to Christian ministry, but if someone asked me a similar question to this in my work, about a social policy activity, I would say:

1. Define what you are trying to acheive. No doubt different ministries try to acheive different things - e.g. an evangelistic ministry tries to convert people, a pastoral ministry tries to build their discipleship, a teaching ministry tries to build their understanding.

2. Define how that would be measured in concrete terms - what would look different in 1, 3 or 5 years from now if you succeed? How would you know this? If you are engaged in evangelism, you would probably measure your number of converts in Year 1 and then track the number of them that are still active Christians in years 3 and 5 as well as the extra numbers. If its a discipleship ministry you would devise measures around their spiritual life - personal devotion, involvement in church life, influence of their faith in their life in the wide world. If it's a teaching ministry you would measure their knowledge - give them a test in year 0, repeat at intervals.

You would then devise a set of strategies that get you to those goals - a evangelism strategy which reaches out to people and disciples them, a pastoral strategy that mentors and supports people in their spiritual growth, a teaching program that identifies what people need to know and then develops effective methods of communicating that knowledge.

I think a lot of the time, what happens in churches is that we're not deliberate and purposeful about what we are trying to acheive, or the church has so many objectives - some of them unstated, some in conflict with others - that we couldn't possibly acheive them all. This leaves ministers feeling overwhelmed and like failures - hence the high level of burnout amongst ministers.