ministry evaluation, youth ministry, student ministry, youth worker

Youth Ministry Evaluation Survey

6 Questions Every Youth Ministry Should Ask Itself

By Doug Franklin October 12, 2018

Don’t miss out on regular opportunities to evaluate. Set aside time to answer these 6 questions, what we we consider to be a youth ministry evaluation survey.

Evaluation is how we grow, and it can be very simple. All it takes is asking, “Is there a better way?” When we ask ourselves this question, we are checking to see if a new idea, system, or program will help us be more effective or have a greater impact.

So why don’t we evaluate our ministries more often?

Here’s what I’ve heard from youth workers at different trainings and workshops:

  • “Things are going well, and we don’t need to make changes.”
  • “We don’t want to compete with other ministries. In fact, we think it’s more spiritual to stay the same so students will have more options.”
  • “All we need for a successful ministry is to love and accept students. In this culture, we feel like that is all we can do.”
  • “Students are under so much pressure and have so many distractions; it’s unreasonable to try to get them to do more stuff.”
“Evaluation oftentimes stirs something negative inside of us, but it doesn’t have to be that way.”

We succumb to these excuses because evaluation oftentimes stirs something negative inside of us. Let’s be honest, evaluation has a way of making us feel inferior and incomplete, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

When done well evaluation can inspire feelings of celebration and anticipation. It can provide us a way to count and measure our wins, and it can challenge us to dream about what could be next. It may require us to swallow our pride, but I think we’d all agree that our students are well worth it.

If you’re ready for a serious youth ministry evaluation, start with these six survey questions:

(These questions are based on the Intentional Youth Ministry Model and are designed to give you a general idea of how to move forward in your ministry. For a more in-depth evaluation, download the Intentional Youth Ministry Assessment.) 

1) Do each of your adult volunteers have a second-level relationship with a student?

Discipleship cannot take place outside the context of deep and meaningful relationships. Students want to learn from people who care about them; they want to be discovered and known. And as youth workers, it’s our job to help adult volunteers become experts in building deep, second-level relationships with students. Start your evaluation by asking if your adult volunteers can tell you students’ hopes, fears, struggles, and dreams. The answer will help you gauge the depth of the relationships in your ministry.

2) How do each of your volunteers view their ministry roles?

Next evaluate what balance looks like in your ministry. When a youth ministry has a healthy and balanced structure, each team member knows his or her role. The youth worker is free to determine the vision for the ministry and equip volunteers, and volunteers serve within their passions and strengths to disciple students. Your ministry may be out of balance if you spend more time with students than your adult volunteers or if your volunteers see themselves as chaperones rather than disciplers.

3) To what extent can your students tell you what it looks like to follow Jesus on a daily basis? 

I find that students can often tell you how to become a follower of Christ, but they can’t say what it looks like to follow Jesus on a daily basis. Our ministries must communicate both the truth of the gospel and the cost of daily following Jesus. Ask this question to evaluate and predict the long-range effects of your ministry, and try to name specific ways that you have intentionally encouraged students to grow strong in Christ and his Word.

4) What do parents say is the focus of the youth ministry?

How parents answer this question will help you evaluate your communication, vision casting, and ability to partner effectively with parents. You’ll discover if parents know the vision, are on board with your approach, and see themselves as serious partners in the ministry.

5) Is your ministry characterized by student-initiated service? 

Use this survey question to see past your calendar of events and evaluate the motives of your students. There are two types of service opportunities: those where we have to chase students down to volunteer and those that students’ initiate. The latter tend to be more effective because there’s more ownership, and ownership is a sign that student leadership is alive and well in our ministries.

6) What is God telling you to do next? 

This last question may be difficult to answer, but there’s no doubting its importance.  Be intentional about listening for the Lord’s voice and input into the ministry. What would he have you continue? What changes does he have in store? How is he asking you to grow to prepare for the months ahead? He will provide the vision, and most often that vision comes through devoting time in prayer.

If you’re looking for a monthly youth ministry evaluation tool, check out this free resource.

youth ministry evaluation

A Monthly Evaluation Tool

About the Author

Doug Franklin

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