Can you win in ministry?

Here’s what I know: If you start talking about winning or success in ministry, oh boy. Watch your back. You’re gonna get some battle axes chucked your way.

Why? Because people don’t like to button down success in ministry. Ministry is messy. It’s not easy to define success. One person’s idea of success might look different to another person’s idea. If one person defines winning in “nickels and noses,” another person might (no, will) throw their battle axe and say winning is defined in community outreach or dollars given away.

After going round and round, church leaders usually end up not landing on a definition of success or ever figure out how to win and what it would look like if they did win.

So, let me begin by saying: I have NO IDEA what the RIGHT answer is to defining success or winning.

Honestly, I don’t.

But what I do know is that I’m not going to let my lack of knowing for sure what the right answer is stop me from coming up with a definition of success or developing wins.

Let me give you three reasons why it’s important to develop wins and a definition of success:

1. Volunteer leaders who serve in your ministry area want to feel successful and know how to “win.”

When people serve and volunteer their time, whether you consider it selfish or not, they want to know that what they’re doing is worth their time, successful, and can potentially lead to a win. It’s innate in us. You might say: Jesus’ definition of winning was defined by servanthood and “losing.” And I’d say: You’re right! So come up with a WIN that reflects Jesus and help your volunteer leaders know each and every week if they’re winning or not.

2. If you know what a win looks like, you’ll know how to prepare.

If you know the goal of this game is to score as many points as possible, you’ll prepare on aspects that will help you score points! The same is true of ministry. If your goal is to give as many dollars away as possible to the local community, you’ll prepare and work towards that singular win.

3. Winning isn’t ultimately what is most important.

I’ve won a National Championship one time. That means in only ONE season of my entire life we didn’t end the season with a loss. The other seasons? We didn’t win in the end, and yet, we never felt like losers. We played hard. We strove. We succeeded in lots of ways. And that’s what mattered most — the small victories along the way.

In the next blog post, I’m going to lay out what our wins are for Student Ministries at Eagle Brook Church.

For now, take some time to reflect on your definition of success and what winning looks like. At the end of this week, this month, this ministry season, or this year, if you were to be asked; So, did you succeed? Did you win this year? How would you answer? Everyone has an answer whether they can articulate one or not. It’s up to you to discover what that is with the help of God.