Thursday, July 05, 2007

How To Measure Success?

How do you measure the success of a youth ministry? Should you even try?

I rekon the easiest, but least reliable, way to measure is by counting numbers.

I rekon the most relible, but difficult, way to measure is by the growth of God's kingdom as kids come to Christ and grow in Christ.

What do you think?

2 comments:

David said...

I rekon the most relible, but difficult, way to measure is by the growth of God's kingdom as kids come to Christ and grow in Christ.

isn't that a numbers measurement???

a non numbers measurement would be faithfulness.

but i'm not totally against using numbers.

i think in sydney youth ministry there is almost a move away from using numbers at all!

i've never heard the words... but i feel the vibe that a large youth group is bad. the youth group must be having too much fun and not enough Jesus. therefore lets have small youth groups. that way we are not being bad and worrying about numbers.

that's dumb.

proposal:

count your numbers.
and then asses the health of those numbers. is it real gospel growth? have people heard the gospel? are people being changed by the gospel? are year 9's maing the transition to year 10? are year 12s making the transition to year 13? (or whatever your big transitions are)
if there's 1 changed life... thank God for it.
if there's 1000 changed lives... thank God for it.

CJ said...

Good questions Tim.

"I rekon the easiest, but least reliable, way to measure is by counting numbers."

I agree in some regards. A purely numerical assessment isn't an indication of the 'success' or 'health' of your youth group. There are plenty of small youth groups who are faithfully teaching the word, and who have kids coming to know Christ and maturing in their faith - we can't label them as 'unsuccessful' simply because it happens on a smaller scale. On the other hand there are large youth groups where the bible isn't the focus, and kids primarily come to have fun. No spiritual growth occurs - we can't label this as 'successful'.

As Dave said, I also am not totally against numbers (if they are used in the right way). At our youth group, we find it helpful to look at 'numbers' in the sense that it can help to see if the kids are inviting their non-Christian mates along. If our youth are inviting their friends then it can be evidence of spiritual growth in those kids.

We have one year 12 guy at the moment who was recently convicted of the need to invite his non-christian mates to youth group. Every week he now brings along some of his friends. It has been so encouraging to see God working through him in this way. In this sense it is not the 'number' of people that he brings along that matters, but the fact that this is an outward sign of God at work. Of course God also works when kids don't invite people along...

In terms of long-term assessment I think a good measure of how 'successful' a youth ministry has been is to look at the young adults ministry. If a church has a successful youth ministry, then this should lead to an established and successful young adults ministry, as the youth move into young adults. If a church isn't able to retain the youth once they finish high school, then either the youth ministry wasn't 'successful' in setting them up for the long-term christian life, or the church isn't catering to the needs of young adults adequately - both of which are very concerning.

"I've never heard the words... but I feel the vibe that a large youth group is bad. The youth group must be having too much fun and not enough Jesus."

I have heard it, and have had people give me the 'look' associated with that kind of idea when they hear that I am involved in a youth ministry with 150 kids and 40 leaders.

"if there's 1 changed life... thank God for it.
if there's 1000 changed lives... thank God for it.
"

Amen to that...