In my years of collegiate ministry I haven’t always had a clear set of success indicators. How do I know when I’m using my time wisely and how do I know when I’m seeing success? Most of the time, the answers to these questions have been, “Well, I know it when I see it.”
For quite some time I didn’t even have the self-awareness to think about whether I was spending my time well or how successful my ministry was. The rest of the time I had a low-level anxiousness that I wasn’t spending my time well or seeing success in my ministry.
Time investment and success are relative terms, aren’t they? It depends on the person, the ministry, and the vision. As I have been drawn in by the No Place Left vision, I’m finding more clarity than ever about how best to spend my time and how to define success.
There are 2 high priority activities:
- Sharing the gospel
- Training believers to make disciples
Success might seem to be a certain number of gospel shares or believers trained. Those are good things and can be valuable as a measuring stick, but I don’t think they qualify as success on their own. I am most successful when I see something reproduced. If I train a student to share the gospel and I see them sharing the gospel as a result, that’s one stage of reproduction. Similarly, when I teach a student any process or practice and they pass it on to someone else, that is success. It’s the 2 Timothy 2:2 principle in action.
“And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (ESV)
I can’t think of anything that has been more helpful to me in my ministry leadership than realizing that the most high value activities are sharing and training and that the best success indicator is reproduction. These things are my guardrails that help me stay on the right track.