God has a purpose and a plan for the gifts and dreams He’s given to us. But—have you ever wondered how to measure the success of your ministry?
It’s tempting for us to look at other Christians who appear to have large ministries, bestselling books, popular podcasts, large social media numbers, and multiple speaking engagements. Somehow, we come up short. But instead of comparing our ministries, let’s look closely at what success and profitability look like from a Christian perspective.
Success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. In our circles, profitability is the ability of a ministry to use its resources to generate revenues in excess of its expenses, which allows us to make a living as we follow our call.
Here are the most important lessons I’ve learned on this subject.
- Embrace failure—it isn’t the end of your ministry. Pastor Erwin Lutzer wrote, “Those who have failed miserably are often the first to see God’s formula for success.” The important question is: What did I learn from the failure?
- Read biographies and articles about Christian leaders you admire. Collect quotes. Study methods. Cut and paste key illustrations. Record what made that person successful. Were they effective as a teacher/speaker/preacher, as an author, as an innovator, as a prayer warrior, as a ministry leader, as a parent/spouse, as a visionary, as an income-producer, or as a generous donor?
- Accept financial compensation. It’s biblical to receive payment for ministry endeavors, whether that involves leading, writing, or speaking. Luke 10:7 NIV says, “…the worker deserves his wages.”
- Select and implement your method for recording ministry income and expenses.
- Seek wise counsel regarding your business/ministry structure (Should you have a non-profit or for-profit organization?)
- Determine the definition of success for your ministry. Priscilla Shirer wrote: “True success in any endeavor can only come when the Father has initiated the activity and invited our participation.”
Zig Ziglar was a well-known Christian motivational speaker. He spoke at both business and ministry events, and he was never shy about sharing his faith. As an author and speaker he was highly successful, but he reminds us of one of the most important parts of true success: “I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful [in your ministry] if your home life is in shambles.”
To be a successful leader, surround yourself with people who are passionate about Jesus and who are good at the things you’re not good at. Free them to creatively use their gifts. Let go of any fear that they might surpass you. Be generous with praise. Reward them appropriately. Watch God multiply the impact and profitability of your ministry—by His standards!
“Before you do anything, put your trust totally in God and not in yourself. Then every plan you make will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3 TPT.