Sunday, March 19, 2006

Questions: Success

I have a moderately-high need for achievement, and this was relatively easy to fulfill in college (study hard, get an A) But I'm finding that pastoral ministry is a profession with few benchmarks to measure ones success, and I've observed that focusing on those benchmarks is usually self-defeating (e.g. chasing baptisms at the expense of discipleship). On this topic I have more questions than answers.
  • How do you know if your life is successful?
  • How do you get objective feedback?
  • How do you know which goals to set for yourself?
  • How do you measure success?
  • Where does God fit into the picture?
Are you in a similar situation? Do these questions even bother you? What answers have you found?


  1. I used to believe that I am leading a successful life if I had this great-paying job, was driving a flash car and living in a penthouse apartment.

    Then I ended up working in a bank and realised that achieving that kind of "success" would mean giving up almost everything I believed in.

    Success to me now means having the time to spend with loved ones, having the energy to seek a relationship with God, being able to contribute to the world by working in a place without the sole purpose of making a profit, but most importantly, being happy, contented and knowing that your life is right with God.

  2. I read a recent study conducted by across denominational lines. They asked over 1700 pastors to rate different things that often or sometimes frustrated them in the ministry. Here are the abbreviated results:

    95.1% Seeing little response or life-change in the listeners.

    90.1% Lack of sermon preparation time.

    87.9% Finding relevant illustrations.

    86.3% Keeping the sermons fresh each week.

    85.5% Getting practical applications in my sermons.

    80.3% Lack of attention and connection from the listeners.

    76.6% Deciding what to preach on week to week.

    I don't know how you will relate to this, but I also passed it on to my local pastor.

  3. That list pretty much summarizes the main frusterations we face with the preaching aspect of ministry. But I think in a broader sense one is bound to get frusterated if one doesn't even have a sense of direction or purpose in ministry.

    (Is that me? Well, from time to time yes.)