What measures a great night at youth group or a fantastic day at church? How can we determine if things went good or bad? In many cases, I feel that we as youth pastors and even senior pastors measure success in our ministry by how many people attended, how smoothly the flow of the service went, or how well someone sang. These are all fine, but are these things the determining factor in success or failure? I want to give you a few thoughts on measuring success in ministry:
- Evaluate how many people you are reaching– We are supposed to be reaching out into the community. Too often, we build our churches and their attendance by getting other church goers to attend our services or come to us, because they are upset at their church. This will happen some, and it is fine, but if you are building your ministry on getting more “church” people, I do not think this was the way Jesus designed for it to function. Jesus intended for the church to reach the lost in its community, and build the church that way. How many people are you seeing saved in your ministry? What is your ministry doing to actively reach out in the community and share the Gospel? How many new visitors do you have regularly? These are all questions that you need to ask yourself when evaluating your ministry.
- Evaluate the Spiritual growth of your people– Set goals for your people. When you notice a stride toward the goal that you have set for your people, that is a spiritual success! When you see your people falling in love with God’s Word, that is success. When you see a chain of sin overcome and defeated, that is success! By the way, evangelism is a byproduct of effective discipleship. So, if you are discipling your people effectively, you will probably be doing #1 on this list well.
- Evaluate your volunteers & their Leadership Development– As I see a leader grow, I consider that a success. When a leader stays after youth group and shares how they have connected with a new student in the youth group, that is a success. Look and evaluate the development of your leaders.
- Evaluate your family involvement– I feel that when the youth ministry becomes more of a family ministry and not a babysitting service, that is a success. When you see leaders and parents connecting with each other for the sake of their student, that is a success.
- Evaluate the connection of your students into the local church– One thing we are seeking to improve on is our student involvement in the local church. Usually, it is most of the adults, and we are trying to plug more students into serving in the local church. This is a success when done correctly. You are training, teaching, and equipping students to do the work of the ministry, that is spiritual success!
So sit down and evaluate these 5 things, and see how you are doing. Numbers are fine to track, but if that always determines success for you, then I would challenge you to look deeper for your success than a large crowd! Trust me, I am just as guilty of evaluating success based on attendance and other reasons, but as I grow in my ministry, I realize that success is so much deeper than just a large crowd.