If there’s anything these last couple of years has forced us to do, it’s to evaluate. What is ministry all about? What results should we be looking at when we’re restricted in terms of gatherings and engagements? How do we do ministry? What’s important?
Will Mancini in his book, Innovating Discipleship, talks about three types of results we should be looking at: input results, output results, and impact results. Input results are kind of the easy one. They are your attendance. They are your offerings. They are how many services you have. They’re the activities you have. Those are input results, but in and of themselves, they’re not enough to be measuring.
We need to be looking at output results. In this season, I’m so encouraged that pastors are looking more and more at what it is that we’re producing. What results are we looking for? People more desperate for Jesus, more intimacy between husbands and wives, more engaged in devotions together, friendships with people far from God, prayer lives, making disciples – that’s an output result. That’s what Jesus says we’re to be doing. As we’re going, make disciples. It’s what He said to the lawyer that was questioning Him about the law in Matthew 22, and Jesus said (paraphrased), “Here’s what it’s about. Loving God and loving others.” It’s what Paul says in Galatians 5 – we’re to have love, and joy, and peace, and longsuffering, and gentleness, and patience, and meekness, and temperance. We are to have these output results. And as we’re evaluating our ministry, we need to look at what is that we’re producing.
But there’s one other result that we need to look at and that is, as we’re praying, as we’re engaged, as we’re growing, as we’re knowing God’s word — what kind of impact are we making on our community and our world? How are we impacting them for the gospel? How are we making a difference in their lives?
I pray as you are evaluating ministry, as you enter into this new year, you’ll look at your input results (t)hose are important), but that you’ll be looking at your output. What is it that we’re producing? And how can we evaluate better how to accomplish the mission God has called us to? What impact are we making on our community and our world? If our region or national network can be of any help to you, let us know. We want to serve you as we produce disciples of Jesus Christ. God bless you.