There was a time when I wondered, “Am I doing ministry right?” This feeling went on for years.
Yes, I would feel good about events we were hosting, and sometimes I’d even feel good about a sermon, lesson, or small group. But, I still felt unsure whether I was doing ministry well.
Then one day, I learned something. I learned that there is a way to understand the impact we are making. There is a way to know if we are on the path to achieving our mission. Best yet, there is a way that I can help my volunteers feel successful in our ministry!
So what was it that I learned to help feel like we’re doing this right?
I learned to define the wins for the ministry I lead.
I learned how to communicate to my team, parents, students, supervisor, and other vital audiences exactly how to see the wins in our youth ministry. And once I did this, we began to become more focused and saw a dramatic difference in the engagement of our students.
If you’ve never defined achievable wins, here are a few tips on getting started.
First, think small. When we think about success, it can be easy to dream about lofty goals. We might want to say something like, a young person will feel called into ministry once a month. While this would be a beautiful outcome, it isn’t necessarily a win that will lead you to recognize each step to achieve that goal.
For instance, for a young person to feel called into vocational ministry, they likely first need to have a faith experience with Jesus. Additionally, they will need time to cultivate a prayer life, both speaking and listening. Also, how do they know what vocational ministry looks like? Have they have never been exposed to it through an internship, service, or learning opportunity?
By thinking small, you make it possible to design a roadmap toward the ultimate outcome you hope to achieve. So what would be an achievable win in this situation? One example might be, “A win is when a young person participates in our leadership learning summer group.”
Second, consider wins that volunteers can own. For instance, a win for a small group leader might be each time they call a parent to brag about that family’s young person. When small group leaders call parents with positive words of affirmation, it helps foster a positive relationship with the parents.
These are just two ideas that go into creating wins for your ministry. If you want to feel good about the direction of your ministry and want volunteers to stay motivated, consider defining your wins. You might start to finally say, “Hey, I am doing this right!” What tips would you add to this list? We’re rooting for you, ya’ winners!
Rev. Brian Lawson is the Director of Leadership Development and Client Services for YMI and has served in youth ministry since 2004. He also serves as a pastor in the Florida Conference of the UMC. Brian holds a Master of Ministry with a focus in organizational culture, team-based leadership, change, conflict, and peacemaking from Warner University. In addition to his degrees from Warner, he studied Christian Education at Asbury Theological Seminary. Click the social links below to engage with Brian.