Evaluating ourselves can be the hardest thing we do in leadership.
We can evaluate the ministry against our goals. We can ask ourselves about how our adult volunteers did this year. We can even evaluate parent involvement in our ministry. Doing all of these evaluations will not be as beneficial as evaluating yourself.
It’s really easy this year with the pandemic to say, “I’m not going to evaluate myself. No one saw this coming, and no one knew how to deal with it. So, I’m off the hook for how effective the youth ministry was this year.” If you do this, you’re missing out on a lot of lessons because the pandemic has taught us new ways to do ministry that are going to be very important in the coming years. This actually might be the most important year to do an evaluation.
The world is changing quickly, and youth ministry is evolving at a rapid speed because student culture is changing. Yearly and even monthly evaluation has become essential.
These remaining months of spring, we need to be honest with ourselves about our ministries. No matter what kind of year we had, we can improve. So how do you start the process of evaluating that leads to improving?
I like to start with the question, “What is my greatest need?” This question helps me prioritize and think about a change that I could make that will bring the largest impact. When I am growing, the ministry will grow. Then I like to ask, “What is the ministry’s greatest need?” This helps me think through what our staff and students need. Their needs become my priority for the fall. When I know these two needs, I can start to make changes.
Change for most youth workers, even though they are young, is still hard. We like to do things the way we have always done them. It’s human nature. While we don’t need to change everything, we always need to change something. Pick one or two things you want to change and work on them. Don’t try and change more than that. It will be overwhelming for you, staff, and students. Change can be tricky, so over communicate and move slow. Get key members of your team on board before you announce new changes. Changes made the right way will have a greater impact.
Knowing your greatest need along with your ministry’s greatest need can help you create a road map to improvement and greater impact.
About the Author
Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners who never leave their side. Doug grew up in… Read More