Mile Markers

One of the things that is big for me in the way I approach ministry is knowing the Mile Markers I am passing.

What I mean by this is the simple idea that with everything, we are going somewhere. A Youth Ministry that doesn’t know where it’s going might as well not be going anywhere at all. I know I’m not the first person to think this. I mean, it’s the same basic idea that Rick Warren has turned into one of the best selling books of the last 100 years; Purpose Driven Life. No one wants to live a life that has no purpose, and no one want’s to be in a Youth Ministry that has no purpose. Sure, you can just hang out every week with the kids, and they will have a blast, but something better will come along in a few weeks/months and they’ll be gone.

So that’s why I like to look at the mile markers I am passing, or that I am seeing my students passing. These are specific thing’s that I have set as goals for the Youth Ministry, some of them are harder to pass than others, but each one goes down a different road.

Like for instance, with the Youth Ministry itself, there is a specific road I want to see it go down, and I know that I can’t get to where I’d like to see it at without passing a few of these specific mile markers first. The Youth Ministry here will never be as healthy as I want it to be, in the place I want it to be, until we have passed the mile marker of establishing I Student-led worship team, or the mile marker of having small groups, or the mile marker of key adult leaders helping out in specific roles.

Or with students, I know a Road I want to have them go down to reach the destination I’d like to see them at when they graduate from High School, but I know it wont happen if they don’t pass certain mile markers, things like the Marker of Getting Saved, the Marker that I have for many of leading a friend to Christ, the mile marker of serving on a ministry team in church.

Some mile markers are really close together, some are further apart. I have more than just the six I used as examples, a lot more. But my fear is that many Youth Pastor’s haven’t set specific goals to aim for with their kids or ministries. I said it at the beginning and I will say it again:

A Youth Ministry that doesn’t know where it’s going might as well not be going anywhere at all.

One of the questions I see the most is how to properly evaluate a Youth Ministry. I would argue that it’s almost impossible to do a true evaluation of the youth ministry without some sort of bench mark/mile marker to hold it up against. Are you reaching your bench marks? If not, why not.

But more on that next week.


4 Responses to “Mile Markers”

  1. So is this what you meant by having a strategy?

  2. Other than what you listed above what are some of your “mile markers”?

    • I saw a tweet one time that said “Polarity of the day: Senior Pastor asked for my growth goals for the year; 9th grade guy txted me that he read his Bible for the first time” and I have to say I love it, its stuck with me for a while.

      In my specific ministry, they have never had a youth pastor before so some of our mile markers came at first from that but have evolved into just generic ones that I think work in any situation, like “do the kids feel comfortable inviting friends” “do they bring a bible” “do they read their bible”

      I think a tough mile marker is baptism. For some reason it just seems like many youth pastors never discuss that topic.


  1. Virtues of A Successful Youth Pastor #7 – Team Player « Small Town Student Ministry - December 13, 2010

    […] dozens of service opportunities for my youth to get plugged into, and when that’s one of your bench marks for success, it’s easy to see how being a Team Player almost assures Success as a Youth […]

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