I feel it is safe to assume that at one point or another, every youth pastor does some sort of an evaluation of their ministry. Whether it is a simple “Last night went ok, here is what I could do better” to a more detailed, sit down with your team and really talk out issues going program by program or service by service evaluation, an evaluation has taken place.
I’ve been having some conversations with some of my new volunteers about the current state of our youth ministry.
It’s easy for them to compare where we are as we kick off under a new leader to where they were three years ago. Three years ago, the youth ministry was booming with very large numbers, today it has dwindled. Three years ago, there was a lot more community in the group, now, even though it is smaller, there are much more cliques engrained into the relationships. On and on and on.
I have always said that one of my first go to metrics for evaluating a youth ministry is numbers. I have never said this is the end of the evaluation, but its the easiest way to tell “Are kids showing up? Are they no longer coming?” Because realistically, if your youth group is healthy, kids will be coming on a regular basis and kids will be bringing friends. If its not healthy, the inverse will be the case.
It doesn’t mean you take a look at numbers and stop evaluating. It doesn’t mean you do ministry driven by increasing your numbers. It means it is simply a quick statistic.
However, with the leaders I am meeting with now, I am not interested in the numbers metric, its painfully obvious that for the last three years the numbers dropped and effectiveness dropped.
What I am looking for is the core values of our Youth Ministry. I am wanting to peel back the layers of programs and get into the Principals we want to be guiding our Youth Ministry.
For us our Values are evangelism, discipleship, worship, service, and fellowship. Most likely, you would say your ministry has these same core values.
And the principals we want to be guiding our Youth ministry, things like “Do students feel unconditionally loved by adults?” or “Do students feel welcome when they walk in the doors for the first time.” And on and on and on.
These are things I am wanting our leaders to get at, because I think if they look, they will see things need to be fixed. And ultimately, if someone doesn’t sense a need themselves, then they won’t feel the need to fight for a fix.
So for you, if you were to strip back the layers of your youth ministry and got to your core values, how are you doing?
Do you have vision statements written for your core values of where you want them to be?
Later this week, I will post a quick evaluation form I am in the process of making for our ministry. But I encourage you to get to the core issues and evaluate them.
Because you will never know where you need to lead your students if you don’t know where your leading them from.