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How to Start Measuring Youth Ministry Growth

I used to hate tracking attendance. I was afraid the numbers would expose me as a failure. What I didn’t know is that while attendance is a sign of success, it isn’t the only thing I should measure.

You might ask:

Why is it important to measure our youth ministry?

It helps us grow and design our ministry. When you measure, you:

  • Become aware of what impacts productivity.
  • Understand what engages your audience. 
  • Learn how to clearly communicate your message and vision.  
  • Gather data to help you make big decisions.

Again, attendance isn’t the only thing you shouldn’t be measuring. In fact, you should:

MEASURE EVERYTHING YOU DO

To measure everything you do, start keeping track of everything you do. If there is doubt on what to measure, just track it for a little bit. After some time you’ll know if it’s worth your time or energy.

Don’t be surprised by what you can measure. Start keeping attendance so you know who is coming. Track the weather and what it does to your ministry when it snows, rains or is a nice 72 degrees.

Keep a journal and track your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Your data can be tangible facts and it can be the overall feel. Don’t leave anything out.

BUILD A TEAM

Believe it or not there are people in your church who love to keep excel spreadsheets. There are people who love numbers, statistics and tracking. Find them, invest in them and allow them to discover the data that will help you make decisions as a leader.

SHARE THE DATA 

Get another set of eyes on what you are measuring. Ask your pastor and leadership what they are seeing. They will pick up on trends you might be missing  Another set of eyes means getting closer to the big picture.

TEST THE RESULTS

Your data will start telling a story. That story will help you make decisions on what to change and where to invest in your ministry. Test those results by making tweaks to the:

  • Time (i.e., when you start or how long you deliver a message)
  • Capacity (I.e., limit the amount of people who can come to an event)
  • Cost (i.e., start charging for things that were once free)

Make minor adjustments at first. Again, get more people on board so that you know if what you are seeing is accurate or just an anomaly. Testing the results is key to helping you make big decisions down the line.

Measure your ministry and you’ll know how to grow. The data will serve as a tool to help you increase your impact. You’ll see trends and be prepared as the world around you changes.

Question: How are you measuring growth and production in your ministry?  

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Chris graduated from Xavier University in 2003 with a BA in Communications: Electronic Media. He moved to Baltimore in the fall of 2003 where he served as a Jesuit Volunteer for a year. During that time, he was a Case Manager at Chase Brexton, met his wife Kate and felt God's calling to Student Ministry. In the summer of 2004, he was hired by the Roman Catholic Parish Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland as a Middle School Youth Minister. Today he oversees grades 5-12 as the Director of Student Ministry.