Evaluating Your Youth Ministry


By Shawn Kiger

The schools in my area just let out for the summer a little over a week ago. Summer mode has begun in our church! Our youth program stops meeting weekly and we turn to week-long mission trips and local events. I also have turned my day to day work into summer mode. What that means for me is that I take some time evaluating our school year ministry. I look at what went well and what might need to be changed. I talk with the youth and get their thoughts. I also talk with parents, volunteers, and our sr. pastor. Through these conversations we are able to look at the ministry from many perspectives and evaluate how we are doing. Numbers are not our main motivator, but I do believe they can give insights into our ministry. So I look at all the attendance numbers:

  • How many did we average each week?
  • What was the average number of times a youth would attend?
  • Were there certain times of year that attendance was down or up?
  • How many total youth participated in the ministry for the school year?

Then, I compare these numbers to the previous year to see how we are doing.

After I take all of the information I have gathered from the conversations and from the numbers, I begin to look at changes I might like to make for the next school year. I research what others are doing by reading books and blogs. I talk to other youth ministers and run ideas past them. I pray for our church, community, and God’s plans for our youth ministry to be heard. Finally, after I have come up with some ideas, I talk to my sr. pastor and volunteers to get their thoughts on the changes. That way when September rolls around and the start of a new school year begins, we are ready and everyone is on the same page.

Typing this entire process out makes it seem like a long one, but I begin the conversations before the school year ends and continue the evaluation process and planning for next year throughout the summer. Sometimes we change very little, and sometimes we change a lot. We, as a staff, also do similar evaluations and planning for the church as a whole.  I believe constantly evaluating what we are doing helps us to make sure we are best reaching teenagers in our community for Christ. How do you evaluate your ministry?