Editors Note: this topic was first presented at the 2010 Life Teen Training Convention
Right at this moment, stop and rate your youth ministry program on a scale of 1-10. What rating did you give? Better yet, why did you give the ministry that ranking? When we evaluate our ministries, there are several factors that we use to judge its “successfulness.” Often the number of teens, or the amount of compliments (or complaints), or the supportiveness of the pastor and parish are keys factors – but should they be? “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). Maybe it is time to take a different approach in evaluating youth ministry at your parish. Maybe it is time to ask how God sees our efforts in leading teens closer to Christ and how effective we are in His eyes. In the end, it is not about numbers or compliments or complaints – it is about faithfulness to the call God has placed on our hearts.
Below is a list of questions to help you evaluate your ministry. There are five different aspects of ministry to evaluate, and the order of these aspects is VERY intentional. Start by looking about your own relationship with God and then move to relationships and then look at programming.
I encourage you to bring these questions into the chapel, before the Blessed Sacrament, and ask God how He would answer them. If possible, use these questions as a discussion-starter with your Core Team. Remember, evaluation should not simply focus on what is “wrong” but also celebrate the strengths and gifts of the ministry.
Personal Spirituality & Vocation
- How often do you pray? How do you pray?
- If you stopped doing ministry tomorrow, would you still have a prayer life?
- Do you have a spiritual director?
- Do you have a community outside of ministry?
- Does your vocation (or pursuit of your vocation) come before your ministry?
- How do you intentionally foster your vocation (or discernment)?
Mission & Vision of Youth Ministry in Your Parish
- How would you describe the vision for youth ministry in the parish?>
- When was the last time you asked God if you are still called to youth ministry?
- How does your personal mission fit into the vision of youth ministry in the parish? What gifts do you bring?
Core Spirituality & Formation
- How are new Core Members introduced into the spirituality of Life Teen?
- Does the Core Team have opportunities to share and pray together?
- Are the Core Members invested in the mission of Life Teen?
- Is the Core Team joyful and prayerful or tired and burnt out?
Relationships with Young People
- Who are the teens you are in closest relationship with right now? How well do you know them? How do you sustain those relationships after graduation?
- When was the last time you prayed with a teen (outside of Life Nights or retreats)?
- How often do you reach out to young people outside of Church activities?
- What is the goal of your relational ministry with teens?
Youth Ministry Programming
- Is the Mass and the Eucharist the foundation of youth ministry at your parish? Are the teens growing in their knowledge and love of Christ in the Sacraments?
- How effective are your Life Nights (or Edge Nights)? What do the teens remember? Do they consistently bring teens closer to Christ?
- What is the planning process for Life Nights (or Edge Nights)? Is the Core invested in making the nights the best they can be?
- Outside of Life (Edge) Nights, what does the parish offer to bring teens into the ministry? How effective are these?
- What role do retreats and events play in your ministry? How effective are they?
My prayer is that you are honest, humble and joyful in your evaluation. God IS doing great things through your ministry (even if you don’t see them). God wants to do MORE; He only needs your obedience and faithfulness. Know that you, your teens and your parish are in our prayers.