You can learn a lot about a guy by the way he defines success. It telegraphs his values, priorities, and entire approach to his work. Consequently, it is important that ministry leaders clearly define what they mean by “success.”
I have long reflected on precisely how to define this elusive concept. I’ll spare you the journey and cut to the end of the matter: I believe success in ministry is…faithfulness.
One word. Twelve letters. Yet, simply complex.
So if you ask me whether the youth programs I’ve lead in the past where a success, you first need to know how I define the term.
Was I the most entertaining speaker in the history of military youth ministers? NO!
Do I have the multifaceted skills of playing the guitar, leading worship, doing funny walk-on characters, and getting silly stupid with teens? Not a chance!
Do I consider myself the subject matter expert on youth culture? Not even close.
Did God use me to radically transform the youth culture at our base? Not really.
Where dozens of kids involved in Bible studies? No, but they were involved in growth opportunities.
But, the more important questions are:
- Did I faithfully do my utmost to maintain a vitalized connection to God through Christ? Yes!
- Was I faithful to invite God’s people to join me in prayer for the ministry? Yes!
- Was I faithful to cultivate unconditional relationships with teens in order to be heard during each talk? Yes.
- Was I faithful, by God’s grace and mercy, to live my life with unfeigned integrity? I believe so, though I’m still a work in progress.
- Did I faithfully and regularly provide teens with the information they needed in order to make an informed decision to be a follower of Jesus Christ? Yes!
For these reasons I can say with confidence that of the youth programs I had the privilege of leading were indeed a SMASHING SUCCESS! God’s Word went forth; it does not return void. Seeds have been planted.
We have no idea how God will choose to honor our faithfulness or prayers. Some He will convict, others He will convert, still others He will harden. I just praise God for the opportunity to honor Him through by working with young people.
- How do you define success?
- According to your definition, who gets the credit, the glory, if you attain your goal?
- What does your definition reveal about your values and priorities in life?
- And what are its implications for how you go about doing your work?