Defining Our Wins

I wrote this post a few months back about defining wins and losses in a work day to help fight against burn out. I still hold true to the idea I wrote about in that post. At the same time, our youth ministries need clearly defined wins. I don’t mean some blanket statement of “If kids all “got it” then that would be a win.” Of course that would be a win, thats somewhat the point!

But I have been trying to clearly define what our wins for this year (and every year) could and should be. I’m excited for our first volunteer meeting this coming Sunday where I will finally get the chance to sit down with our youth staff and talk about some things. One of the first things I will be discussing is defining our wins, because A) I want their input, but B) I want them to know the wins, because the point of having our clearly defined win is to celebrate it.


And so if your ministries win is simply “every kid ‘gets it’” then thats great, but I would really encourage you to expand on that. By no means do I think these wins are the end all / be all wins, and I am sure that I could add some more or that some may not fit in your context, but below is an example of some of our wins.

For Starters, I like to do Theme’s for the whole year. For Instance, this year our theme is “To Live. To Love. To Serve.” And so this september when we introduce the theme, I want to have all the kids write out what it means to Live in a Godly manner, to Love in a Godly manner, and to Serve in a Godly manner. Then periodically do this throughout the year, so that we can measure the difference in answers, and hopefully see maturation in them. This growth is a major win.

Secondly, we do ministry through a pretty modified version of Duffy Robbin’s Funnel, with different spiritual maturity levels aligning with different levels of events type deal. Some of our wins are things like students signing up for small groups, sharing prayer requests, etc.. Others are as simple as having first time guests, or second time guests, or students bringing friends to youth group (which are kind of similar). And I know what you may be thinking now, it’s all about numbers. No, it’s not, but we want kids to be bringing friends to youth group, so when they do, thats a win! We want to encourage that type of behavior.

And ultimately, thats where we want to be headed. When we are looking at defining our wins, we want to focus in on the behaviors we want to encourage. So while having that blanket statement win of “kids ‘get it’” sounds great in theory, there isn’t really an accurate thermometer of that, it’s sort of a yes or no black and white issue. On the other hand, the more detailed and more precise, the more measurable your win’s will become. With “baby step” win’s you can measure the effectiveness of certain aspects of your ministry as you can essentially set up wins that let you see how much students are maturing.

So I can’t tell you what your wins need to be, but I can tell you that clearly defining them will only make your ministry better.

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Ben Read has been mentoring youth since he was 18 years old. He grew up as a pastor's son, but he and his siblings devoted to breaking that stereotype. Committed to being a life-long learner, Ben understands that in the grand-scheme of things, he knows nothing, but is also a firm believer that God can and does work in people's lives before the age of 30, its one of the reasons he loves Youth Ministry. Ben met his wife, Sarah, while they attended Liberty University, and they currently serve youth in the small town of Trenton, IL , about a half hour away from St. Louis.