Evaluating Youth Programs

When was the last time you did a thorough evaluation of your Youth Ministry?

For some, it could be almost a year since you last got away to spend a few days evaluating the the purposes of your youth ministry, the vision, the direction, etc.

Others do a quick evaluation after each service.

I think both have strengths, but both work best when your doing both. I think it’s very healthy to once a year take a few days retreat by yourself or with a team to really evaluate. But waiting a year to evaluate isn’t healthy, you should be evaluating a lot more often, whether its a quick little 5 point check after each service or a bit lengthier of a process once a month with your leadership team, evaluation is a must in ministry.

I’d like to say the most important question a Youth Pastor can ask himself when it comes to evaluation programs is “Does it accomplish our purposes?” but firstly, I hate making such bold claims, I’m sure someone else could come up with a more important question to ask, but I will contend that this one is up there. Secondly, though, in order to ask that question, a Youth Pastor has to know what his purposes are first.

If you don’t know what you want/need to accomplish, then your not going to have any idea on how to judge whether an event is helping our hindering your achievement.

I read a phenomenal analogy in the book ” 7 practices of Effective Ministry” by Stanley, Joiner, and Jones, in which one of the authors described talking to his son about his batting average in little league, how just because he hit the ball didn’t mean his average was going to go up. All baseball players know, the point of hitting the ball is progress either yourself or a teammate from one base to another and, eventually, to home plate. You can hit the ball as hard as you want, but if it doesn’t result in advancing you or a teammate to the next base, its ineffective and pointless.

A lot of Youth Ministries live in the mindset of “I’m hitting the ball, were doing good!” Its awesome that your having great crowds come to your services, its awesome your building great friendships with the students, but if its not advancing them further in spiritual maturity, whats the point?

It’s so easy to miss the purpose. We can hide behind the “traditional” Wednesday night youth service and others can assume we have purpose, but I hope more youth pastor’s will open their eyes and see that there is so much more. Don’t equate busyness with purpose. Your students deserve more than that. Your students NEED more than that.


5 Responses to “Evaluating Youth Programs”

  1. Do you suggest a certain way to evaluate regularly and annually? Are there any tools out there to help Youth leaders do this? Love reading the blog. Thanks for your thoughts and encouragement.

  2. This week im hoping to share some more thoughts and some of the tools we use to evaluate. Im sure that I’ll have even more thoughts after the Simply Youth Ministry Conference this weekend and Orange in April. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. evaluation is the best. in jim collins’ book, good to great he brings up one of the ways to get from good to great is wrestling with the brutal truth. unless you are willing to really evaluate what you are doing and its effectiveness and separate yourself and your ego, we will never get better.

    ben you are a stud! can’t wait to hang in atlanta!


  1. FRIDAY MONEY LINKS | youth leader stash - February 28, 2011


  2. Evaluating Small Groups | Small Town Student Ministry - March 2, 2011

    […] Last week, I talked about the importance of Evaluating Programs, and I want to stress again that Evaluating the direction and purpose of a Ministry and its programs is one of the most Important things a Youth Pastor can do long term. […]

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