Is My Youth Ministry A Success?
Is my Youth Ministry a success? How do I know? What does success even mean when it comes to ministry? How do I measure it? What does God say about success? If you’ve been in ministry for any length of time, then like me you have probably asked yourself at least one of these questions. Today, let’s chat about what it is to be succesful in our ministries!
SUCCESS IN THE BIBLE.
It’s always a good idea to start with scripture. Success is mentioned in the Bible, in Joshua 1:8. This verse says we are to meditate on the word of God daily so we can make sure we’re obeying his commands, and then we will have success. Another bible verse that talks about success is in Genesis 39:2, where Joseph was successful because the Lord was with him. Joseph was obviously in regular communication with God, because ‘the Lord was with him’. So our level of success can be measured in conjunction with and proportional to our personal relationship with Jesus. I make this assumption based on my personal belief that we should be praying and reading our Bibles daily.
The Bible also talks about celebrating the One. The One that was lost but now is found. To me, this speaks of measuring success by quality rather than quantity. I think this is true of ministry- quality should be our goal, not quantity. One person matters so much to Jesus, and I believe even if your Youth Ministry has only 1 person it can be successful.
So how do you know what success is in relation to your ministry? Here’s 3 steps for you to get started:
FIRST, DEFINE SUCCESS FOR YOUR MINISTRY.
To know if you are succeeding or not, you first need to know what the goal is. So, what are your goals for your ministry? What are the things that happen that make you feel like you have the #bestjobever? What do you want to see in the long term?
Two of our big goals include: 1) we would have a place where everyone can belong, 2) we would see spiritual growth in individuals. We want to see our ministry grow, but we don’t want numbers to become the focus. We would rather see our teens forming good relationships with each other and growing deeper in relationship with God, than have hundreds of teens turn up every week.
If you’re struggling to figure out what success looks like for you and what you want for your ministry, that’s ok! We were there once, too. We used the book 7 Practices of Effective Ministry (by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner, and Lane Jones) to help us work out what success means for us and our ministry. It starts off by saying ‘it is impossible to know if you are making progress if you are not clear about your destination’, and how true is that! We wasted no time in clarifying our vision and getting our big goals down on paper.
SECOND, EVALUATE IT REGULARLY.
To measure your success you need to evaluate regularly. Are you meeting your goals? If not, how can you adjust what you’re doing to succeed? Check in with your leaders. We have a Discipleship Group (or D Group) with our student leaders where we meet once a month and discuss issues that relate to our big goals. What does our Youth culture look like? Is it welcoming or are there people standing alone? What can we improve on as a team? How is our own spiritual life tracking? What can we help each other out with?
Success also needs to be celebrated! Make sure you celebrate success when you are meeting your goals. After every Youth night my husband and I will debrief and send an email out to our leaders celebrating areas where our goals were met. I must note here that personal growth in our teens is celebrated, so even if another goal wasn’t met but they stepped up and gave something a go, we celebrate that regardless of the actual result!
I must also make a note here as part of the evaluation process. Don’t look outside to people in other ministries around you to see what they’re doing, instead look inwards at who you’ve been trusted with. Most likely there’s someone in your ministry already that’s just waiting for the opportunity to grow or to show you what they’re made of. Take a risk with them, and give them a go. It may be the best thing you’ve ever done for your ministry.
If you’re not sure how to move forward after evaluating, the 7 Practices book goes through this and has some really practical advice for you. In our own experience, it helped us figure out what wasn’t working for us and why, and what we could do to make it work for us. It also helped us figure out which people to raise up with us as we moved forward.
THIRD, INVITE GOD TO BE PART OF IT.
Commit to the Lord all that you do and He will establish your plans. Prov 16:3. Just like the old lady in the War Room movie says, ‘everyone’s always trying to leave Jesus out, which is one reason we’re in the mess we’re in’. So when you start planning for a successful ministry, take a couple of minutes to thank God for what he has already been doing in your ministry. Invite him to be part of your plans moving forward. Prayer and our faith is what sets us apart from other groups our teens are involved with, and without involving God in our plans we’re just making a lot of noise.
I hope this was insanely useful to you in figuring out if your own ministry is a success or not. We really believe that quality always wins over quantity when it comes to ministry. People are people not numbers!
The above article, “Is My Youth Ministry A Success?” was written by Hannah Transquared. The article was excerpted from www.transquaredyouthministry.com web site. June 2017.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”