Stepping Back: The Importance of Evaluation In Your Youth Ministry
Recently, I made it a point to sit down and really evaluate our student ministry. I took some time, put everything on the table, and asked myself some pretty tough questions!
- Where are we going?
- Where does God want us to go?
- How will we get there?
- What will it look like?
- Am I in the way?
- What do we need to do better?
- What do we need to stop doing?
- How can I put us in the best possible situation to "succeed"?
- Are we doing all we can to reach students?
In my opinion, if you want long-term success in student ministry, there must be constant evaluation.
Evaluation is not always (or seldom) easy. It can lead to frustration, especially when the answers aren't always clear! But it is a valuable exercise. I've found that one of the most essential things you can do to help in evaluation is to invite someone into your life that can be honest with you as you evaluate your student ministry and your leadership. I sat down with a good friend this week and went through some those thoughts in my mind. He is the kind of person that does not just tell you what you want to hear. He is more concerned with the truth! (A great quality in a "co-evaluator.") We sat for a while. I talked, he listened. Then he talked and I listened. After a week of processing our conversation, I came to this conclusion...
The questions and questioning are a requirement for success, however immediately having the answers is not. It's the courage to ask the tough questions and pursue the real answers that leads to success. If you are waiting for God to answer every question before you move forward, you may be enjoying your seat for a while . . .
Yesterday I did yard work all day. At the end of the day, I looked at my wife and said, "the yard is finished, look what I did! You never get to say that in Student Ministry! It is never finished. There is never a moment that you arrive. There are wins along the way, but not really a true finish line. That is why this calling pushes your faith. There is always another level of dependence. There is always more students to reach. There is always more work to do. There are always more questions to ask!