successIn many cases, the success of an endeavor is measured by whether it accomplishes the intended outcomes. And if the outcomes are something under your control, that’s a perfectly fine measurement to use.

Yet I’ve found that in ministry, we often tie our success to outcomes that are actually not under our control at all. To use a very simple example, we can plan a big event well… but we can’t make other people show up for it. Likewise, when we disciple someone, we cannot tie our success to their growth. Their growth is not under our control. We can, however, tie our success to faithfully and intentionally engaging in a discipleship relationship with them.

Consider my father’s oft-quoted definition of success: “Success is finding out what God wants you to do and doing it.” There’s an important theological point to this: not tying our success to outcomes. The question is whether we have listened to God and faithfully done what he has given us to do.  If we do it—well and faithfully—we have succeeded. That’s true even if no one else responds the way we’d hoped.

Keep this principle in mind during the discouraging times in ministry. It’s important to remember because so often in ministry the desired outcomes are not under our control. If you’d like coaching that keeps this reality in mind—and helps you create clear goals you can work toward and accomplish—contact me.