How would you define success in your ministry to men? As a leader, you need to answer this question. We live in a hectic world, and you do not want to create activities for yet another event on the calendar. Your ministry needs purpose and a clear definition of success. Multiple people have said, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” Here are some ideas to help you define success.
There are a lot of Christians who seem afraid to talk about numbers. There is a chance we don’t like talking about numbers because those trends can be discouraging. Numbers do matter. The book of Acts alone talks about statistics in the church several times. When thinking about what numbers to measure, start bigger and work backwards.
- What is the male population in your community? This represents how many men need to know and follow Jesus; it is your mission field.
- In your church as a whole: How many men connect to your church? How many men are in a small group (of any type) or serving in your church?
- In your men’s ministry: How many men attend your events in a year? How many are in men’s specific small groups?
There are other numbers you can measure, but you get the idea. Decide which numbers are essential for you to measure. One mistake to avoid is only measuring the numbers in your men’s ministry. Ministry to men is not primarily about the program you are running but about seeing men grow as disciples of Jesus in whatever context works. Your ministry to men should not be a silo in your church; it should be supportive of other ministries also investing in men’s lives.
Numbers give you a picture of trends and opportunities. Still, numbers do not tell any ministry’s most important success factor – spiritual fruit.
Spiritual Fruit Matters More
If a man attends your men’s ministry activities for one year or fifty – what will be different about him? There are times we become so busy planning the ministry program that we don’t stop to think about the outcomes we seek. Remember, Jesus told us our job is to make disciples: by teaching them to obey ALL that he commands us. Jesus tells us what our definition of success is. Do men live, think, and believe more like Jesus today than when they first connected to your men’s ministry?
Here are some critical areas of spiritual fruit to consider with men:
- What do men love most in life? How often is Jesus at the top of the list?
- Are the men in your church seeking first the kingdom of God?
- Are men abiding in Christ and growing in exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit?
- Does the private life of men match up with their public persona?
- What is the relational, emotional, and spiritual health of marriages and kids/teenagers in your church? Men growing as Jesus’ disciples bring a godly presence to their families.
- What is the work ethic of the men in your church? How are they revealing God’s image as a worker?
- What is the leadership fruit of men in your church? Is it normal for men to serve and invest in the lives of others? Are men moving from spiritual children to becoming spiritual fathers to others?
- Do men live for a purpose that matters for eternity or only for short-term success, like career and financial advancement?
The truth is you will not be able to help every man grow in all these areas simultaneously. This is why you should look for ways to partner with other ministries in your church and community. Together, you can create ways to help different types of men grow as disciples of Jesus.
In your ministry, pray each year and ask God to lead you to one or two areas you should focus on for that season. This is where reverse engineering comes in. Think about the fruit you hope to see in a man’s life at the end of the year and work backwards to build out what your ministry programs will look like to point men towards this goal.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to plan, you are preparing to fail.” I know you spend time planning your activities, but I hope you will take one step back from that type of planning to consider how you will define success in your ministry. Whatever success looks like, ensure it aligns with how Jesus defines it. Your leadership matters, and planning well is essential for a ministry with a legacy that lasts beyond your time serving.