What does a healthy student ministry look like? Is it the numbers a ministry runs every week? Is health found in fun events that attract a crowd? Is success linked to the number of small groups we have? Is it all about the number of teens baptized? The truth is that success is defined in different ways in different churches and by different leaders. I used to look for everyone else to tell me if what we were doing was a success. A shift happened in my leadership when I stopped looking for feedback to determine health and embraced principles that would help our team measure progress. Here are what we feel are marks of health in our student ministry. The goal for us is health. We want to be…
- Jesus Centered – When we are healthy we are constantly helping teens discover Jesus, follow Jesus and live a life that honors Jesus. This is different than connecting teens to your way of doing church or your doctrine. If we are constantly trying to help teens see Jesus more clearly, then life change will happen.
- Relational – We want small groups to be a foundational element of everything we do. We want to have a ministry full of youth ministers (small group leaders) and not just one youth pastor (our staff). Teens need to be known and mentored, and small group helps us do that.
- Engaging – We want everything we do on stage and within every event to be done with excellence and captivate the attention of teenagers. If teens walk away and think Jesus or the Bible is boring, then it is our fault. We want to set the bar high and do our best every week to grab their attention and reveal what really matters in life.
- Empowering – We want to see teens actually connect and serve in the local church and not just our student ministry. When teens serve in the church, they connect with the church and have a better shot of pursuing community after high school.
- Connecting – We want to always find ways to connect with families and partner with them. We also want to strive to connect with teens who are not followers of Jesus. Connecting is about doing good consistently and building trust in our community.
How do you measure health and success? What are marks of health that help you define success?