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If you’re a lead pastor, I have a challenge for you. Bring your entire staff together and ask this question: “What does success look like in our church?”

I’ll be impressed if you walk out with fewer than 20 answers. I’ll also be surprised if you don’t agree, at least a little, with every single answer.

One of the toughest challenges in ministry is defining success. After all, there are countless words you can put to it.

“Life change”
“Loving people”
“Honoring God”
…the list could be endless…

It’s hard to disagree that every one of those is a meaningful product of ministry. And what’s wrong with that? Here’s the problem…

When success is defined by everything good, your team cannot stay focused to make anything great.

Do you ever feel like your team is moving with sideways energy? Maybe you lack a shared definition of success.

Do you ever wonder why you’re still doing this ministry or that event? Maybe you lack a shared definition of success.

Do you ever feel like people may be focused on the wrong details? Maybe you lack a shared definition of success.

How can a team that does not share a definition of success ever be expected to achieve it?

Ultimately, success should be defined by your mission statement. Unfortunately, that’s not often the case. Many church mission statements are incredibly vague. Others are very specific but they detail several points. If your mission statement names three things that you want to accomplish, you don’t have a mission…you have three missions. And there’s no bonus points here if they all start with the same letter.

Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your mission and get everyone pursuing success with the same definition. If that’s true of you, consider pulling the team back together to discuss these questions…

  1. What does success look like in our church? [Start by listing everything]
  2. Which of these define ultimate success and which are just a part of the process?
  3. At the end of the day, if we were only successful at one thing, what would we hope it to be?
  4. Does our mission statement reflect our definition of success?

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.

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