How To Measure Success in Ministry? Lesson #4 of the 7 Most Important Leadership Lessons I’ve Ever Learned

Talk to any ministry leader and you soon discover that each of us have one thing in common: it can be difficult to know you are succeeding in your ministry.

The 4th most important lesson I’ve learned is that I still need to find ways to measure my success in ministry. (To read about the lessons 1-3, check out my intro to this blog series.)

Tell me this doesn’t resonate with you:

I know I’m having a positive impact in my ministry. My pastor doesn’t see it. How do I articulate that we’re succeeding?

You can measure numbers really easily. How many people are registered in your program or attending your adult faith formation program? How many people are attending mass? Easy enough.

The problem with asking questions like that is that you cannot tell whether the program or event they attended had an impact on them. It’s tough to answer these questions:

  • How many people really connected with God today at church?
  • Did my sacramental preparation program prepare them to be a lifelong learner of the faith?
  • How many of these children will still be practicing their faith when they go to college?
  • How many of my youth ministry teens are going to heaven?

Those questions have no easy answers.

If we are to keep our ministry jobs and keep money flowing into the program, we need to prove to people (and ourselves) that we are succeeding

Here are a few ideas to measure your success. You may have to get creative to collect the data, but nothing proves success like data.

1.    How many came up to you letting you know that it was a good ___________________? (enter program/event name here)

Although many people that are positively impacted by your ministry won’t necessarily tell you, the numbers of people that do tell you are an indication of success. Record those numbers. If you see a steady and continual growth in positive comments via email, phone, or in person, this is a good sign. And they don’t have to tell you. They can tell anyone in your ministry. That’s a good sign! Measure it!

2.    How many people were referred to your ministry program/event by another person?

The more people refer their friends, the more impactful and successful your ministry is. When I meet someone new in my ministry, I love to ask them how they found out about us. There are many times that they say a friend invited and encouraged them to come. Make note of how many people say that to you in person, on a comment card, or an online evaluation tool. You can even see this on social media like Facebook or Twitter. How many re-tweets or Facebook shares did you get about your ministry? The more, the better. Measure it!

3.    Is your program steadily growing?

You didn’t think I was going to ignore the number of attendees altogether, did you?

Although numbers are not always the most important data in measuring your success in ministry, I will say that if your program is not growing, then it is not as successful as it could be. An increase in attendees is a sign that you are building a healthy community of faith who are encouraging their friends to come.

Don’t hide from this important data point. I have known a few ministers who refused to measure their numbers because they said that numbers aren’t everything in ministry. Most of the people that say this usually are not seeing growth and are trying to hide behind a false spiritual sense of success.

Question: What other creative ways can you measure your success in ministry?

 

Here is a summary of posts for the “The 7 Most Important Leadership Lessons I’ve Learned in Ministry” series:

John Rinaldo

As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.


John Rinaldo


As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.



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