Monday, September 22, 2014

Defining Success in College Ministry

How do you measure your own success? Some in College Ministry carry a load of guilt for "not being successful", or even quit the ministry entirely. Many people determine success based on their ability to "fill a room" or lead great numbers of students to Christ. Others determine success by "the biggest ministry in town" or "the largest ministry on campus".

What is a realistic formula for success? I believe that we often let others determine our definition of success and that can lead to great frustration. Yet, you can feel successful and those to whom you are responsible to do not see you as successful. There are even some who wind up reporting false numbers in order to appear successful

Here are 5 Elements of a realistic and honest success formula:

1. Expectations: What do you have to do to keep your job? Do you have a clear understanding of what is expected of you?

2. Spiritual Gifts and Strengths: The New Testament clearly teaches that God has made us unique and wants to use us in the areas in which he has gifted us. The danger in comparing ourself and our success to someone else is that we may have very distinctly different God given gifts. A sense of success comes from using to the best the things God has placed in our life. Are you exercising your gifts in the ministry or are you trying to be someone else?

3. Campus or Church Setting: Your ministry setting helps determine what you can and cannot do. All campuses are different and all churches are different and if you continually compare yourself to different situations, it will likely keep you from finding God's purpose for YOUR setting.

4. Resources: Whether you run your ministry out of a backpack, a broom closet, or a magnificent new facility, your resources will and must help define your definition of success. You can always learn something from another ministry, but comparing yourself and your ministry against the 13 staff, mega budget ministry is futile and leads to huge frustration. How are YOU doing with what YOU have? But, don't let it be an excuse either.

5. Satisfaction: Satisfaction is in many ways more important than success. I know successful people who have no sense of satisfaction. The degree to which you are satisfied with your work is something of a reliable barometer in deciding, if you are doing what God has called you to do. What is it you or your ministry has to do to provide you with a personal sense of satisfaction? I have a friend who is all about taking student teams to China. Because this outreach is very important to him, these trips are key in helping him define his work as successful. What are your "hot button" issues that must be a part of your ministry...for your one sense of success.....apart from what anybody else thinks?

Finally, your definition of success must be determined by what YOU can control. Are you doing what you believe God has called you to do? Are you working hard and smart? It is possible to work hard and stupid! The two greatest killers of College Ministers is comparison and a sense of being alone or no one else cares. Be YOU where God has call

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