While walking out of a coffee shop, Krieg bumps into an old friend.
“Hi, Bruce! Long time no see! How are you?”
“Wow! It’s great to see you, Krieg,” said Bruce, “Things are good. I’ve been working hard and just started a new position as a professor at the local community college. How about you? How are you and your family doing?”
“Great!” said Krieg, “There are five of us.”
“Awesome! So the family has grown. But how is everyone?”
“Well, before we had four and now we have five, so we are doing great!”
“Oh… That’s good, I guess…”
Does telling someone the size of your family actually answer the question “How are you doing?” No, of course not.
So why is it that youth ministries oftentimes respond to inquiries about how things are going by giving a number?
It’s easy to associate success and gospel-advancement with the size of a youth ministry. I’ve fallen into this trap many times. And while reporting the size of a youth ministry is not wrong, it lessens the gospel-advancing impact a ministry can have. That is, ministries that only report size struggle to achieve biblical outcomes because success is being measured by attendance and activity instead of impact and true gospel advancement.
Try This! ❯
Take some time this week to evaluate one of the four measurements that really matter.
Don’t get me wrong, numbers are important, but Value #6—biblical outcomes measure it—is about focusing on the right measurements for a healthy youth ministry. Measurements that represent the true gospel impact a ministry can have. So what do the right kind of measurements look like?
Here are four measurements that matter.
1. Percentage of students trained to share the gospel.
Gospel advancement cannot happen if students don’t know the message or how to share it with others! Work to train your students in gospel fluency by teaching each of them the gospel message and how to have gospel conversations. Relational evangelism won’t happen if they don’t know how to share their faith. A great resource to help train students in gospel fluency is the six-week curriculum Life in 6 Words.
2. Percentage of students actively sharing the gospel.
There is no value for students to know the gospel but never share it. This measurement builds on the first. If your measurements show that students have a high level of gospel fluency, but have no gospel urgency or desire to actively share the gospel, you need to know that. This measurement will help you know how to pray and how to adjust things within the ministry to kindle more passion for sharing the message. Youth Group 2 Go, an inspiring, single lesson resource—has several lessons that focus on answering the question “Why share the gospel?”
3. Percentage of new conversion growth.
If your students know the gospel and care to share it with others, then there is a good chance that students will be coming to the faith. New conversion growth measures the number of students who have made a faith decision as a result of your youth ministry within a given time period. Typically this number is calculated for conversions within your own ministry. But it’s also helpful to gather data on the number of students who have trusted Christ as a result of your ministry—whether these new believers become regular attendees in your group or not. For example, if one of your students led a cousin to Christ who lives across the country, that’s still gospel advancement that is a direct result of your ministry’s efforts that can be tracked and celebrated.
4. Number of baptisms.
The natural process for new believers is to make a public proclamation of faith through baptism. This is a great number to measure as it encourages the entire church and highlights the effectiveness of your commitment to make disciples who make disciples.
A Word to the Wise
The above measurements help a Gospel Advancing Ministry get a pulse on its health. As you probably noticed, each snowballs into the other and really captures the ministry’s overall impact. However, there are also other numbers that matter; that is, the numbers important to your church. For instance, in one of the former ministries I worked at the lead pastor wanted to measure how active our students were in other areas of the church’ life and ministry. This number helped us evaluate how we were doing with intergenerational worship and church alignment. Make sure you tie in the measurements your church focuses on with the above.The health of your ministry is more than the number of butts in a seat. Click To Tweet
The health of your ministry is more than the number of butts in a seat. Take some time this week to evaluate one of the four measurements. As the weeks go on, continue to figure out each category and begin to work on increasing each field.
Want more practical advice on mobilizing your teens to share the gospel? All of our Mobilize stories offer great ideas for training your students and building a Gospel Advancing Ministry. Sign up here to receive this free, hands-on, weekly resource in your inbox!
Photo by Russ Hendricks