What Does Successful Ministry Look Like?

We tend to overlook the question, “What does success look like?” We’ll spend time in Ministry World discussing outcomes and expectations, but not enough time breaking down the characteristics of success. If you don’t know what success looks like, it’ll be hard to set the right goals and make the best decisions.

When I ask others in ministry what success looks like, I usually get a general response. They tell me that success in ministry is the conversion of hearts and sharing the Good News. This is true, and there is nothing wrong with that answer; however, if we stay that simple, then we will miss out on the systems and opportunities we can create to foster a healthy and dynamic culture in your setting.

So, what does success look like in your ministry setting?

Over the next few months, we need to reflect on this question because there is a lot to figure out how we should fulfill the mission of God. Whether it’s a pandemic or turnover in staff, a team needs to take that step back and look at what is working and what is not. To start breaking down success, you need to:


The Church is called to share the Gospel and serve others with the love of God. That’s the best place to start when the vision is unclear. The next step is to look at your specific mission field and discuss with your team why God has placed your team in this specific place and this specific time. In other words, what is the unique burden that God has called your ministry or parish to address?

Ministry teams need to discuss, discern, and pray about the vision because it creates unity. If everyone can stack hands and rally around a common vision, it builds a contagious enthusiasm that the faithful will grasp onto. Success in ministry is having clarity around the vision.


As you continue to clarify the vision, it’s important to look at where it’s coming to fruition in your parish. Whether you are aware of it or not, God has been working through your parish, and the vision is developing; you need to make yourself aware of it. When you see the good work that God is doing through you and your team, it will allow you to look at what is working and why it is working. By noticing the bright spots, you are taking the time to honor the gifts, talents, and ideas God has given your ministry. When you take the time to look at what is working and what is not, you can decide what you can duplicate and focus your investment.

Start tracking the bright spots by capturing them in emails, encourage your teams to share them, and talk about them regularly. The more you can clarify success and look at what is working, the more you can point your ministry in the right direction.


It feels good to be a part of a winning team. Everyone is positive and feeling good when success is a part of the culture. Sharing the wins and the bright spots of your ministry is not only a morale boost but an essential tool for inviting the faithful to participate and evangelize within your community.

You might have the reluctance to do this because no one wants to seem arrogant or create a competitive nature; however, your success should challenge and inspire others. Share your wins with your teams and preach about them when you have the chance. You might do this at an information meeting for sacramental preparation or during the announcements at the end of Mass. Share your wins in the bulletin and definitely through your social media and website.

If people see that your church is having an impact, they’ll want to jump on board. It will help if you learn to notice and articulate what is working and invite people to participate in the process. Talking about success in Church is not taboo; it provides a preview into the Kingdom of Heaven. It fulfills the mission to proclaim Truth and let people know that there is something more than what the world can ever offer them.

How do you articulate success in ministry?

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