How to Measure Life Change in Youth Ministry
Two weeks ago, I wrote about measuring your ministry. When it comes to the tangible (i.e., attendance) it’s easy to keep track. When it comes to the intangible, it’s not always clear.The intangible side of youth ministry deals with life change. How do you measure what’s going on in someone’s mind or heart? While there is no solid science, a few ways you can start measuring life change is by:
CAPTURING STORIESYou don’t really know how people feel about their faith journey until they share it with you. Capturing stories means you are asking people to be vulnerable and share what’s happening in their life.
A few strategies to capture a story is through:
- Social media posts
- Feedback on a survey
- One-on-one conversations.
TRACKING PERSONAL INVITATIONSOn top of attendance, you should track why someone started coming. Every time a new teen comes to your ministry, ask them, “How did you hear about us?”
If it’s a friend or a peer, track it. If that person has a habit of inviting, ask them why. The more you look at the why behind your teens’ actions, the more you’ll understand the impact your ministry is having on their lives.
FOLLOWING THEIR NEXT JOURNEY
Just because a teen is no longer in your ministry doesn’t mean that you are no longer their youth minister. When your teens head off to college or take the next step, keep in touch.
Ask them what they are doing. Look at their major, the clubs they are involved in, and measure it against the topics you’ve discussed and the experiences your ministry has provided. You might have played a small part, but it’s still significant.
MEET WITH PARENTS
Teens might not tell you what’s going on in their lives, but parents will. Ask parents about their teens and whether or not they are seeing anything different. Seek their insight and welcome their feedback. They’ll let you know if they are seeing a difference.
ENCOURAGE LEADERS TO BE AWARE
You won’t be able to track all the lives coming in and out of your ministry. That’s why investing in leaders is important. Ask them to be on the look out for life change. Encourage them to ask the questions and gain more information on how a teen is growing in their faith.
As you collect this data, look at commonalities. Record what is working and share it with others. Just because it’s not a number doesn’t mean it cannot be measured. You just need to look and listen more.
Chris graduated from Xavier University in 2003 with a BA in Communications: Electronic Media. He moved to Baltimore in the fall of 2003 where he served as a Jesuit Volunteer for a year. During that time, he was a Case Manager at Chase Brexton, met my wife Kate and felt God's calling to Student Ministry. In the summer of 2004, heI was hired by the Roman Catholic Parish Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland as a Middle School Youth Minister. Today he oversees grades 5-12 as the Director of Student Ministry. More from Chris Wesley or visit Chris at http://www.christopherwesley.org