Most of us would agree that outreach is a big part of our children’s ministry. We all share a desire to share the gospel with our community. And so, each year we plan a series of events designed to show people Jesus’ love, invite them to our church, and minister to their families. These events are often good, but what does it take to make them great?
It’s important to evaluate your ministry outreach; to just do it isn’t enough. Telling people about Jesus is always good, but we should strive to make it the best possible. Evaluation helps us make our events the best they can be. But what does it mean to evaluate? Simply put: to evaluate your outreach event is to determine what qualities make it a success. Is it attendance, response, or interaction? Is your outreach a success when you get lots of volunteers or when you meet a specific need in your community? There is no single scorecard that can evaluate every children’s ministry outreach. That is why you need to be clear about your outreach goals before you begin. It’s said, “What gets measured gets done,” so let’s humble ourselves and attempt to measure the things that Jesus commanded us to do.
Consider these questions to ask when determining the goals of your children’s ministry outreach:
1. Who are you trying to reach?
Are you ministering to church families, kids from a particular neighborhood, or an elementary school with a particular need? Your fall event may need to be reimagined if you are only attracting kids from neighboring churches.
2. How are you trying to reach them?
Now that you know who your audience is, you need to be clear about what you are trying to do. Are you buying backpacks, preaching the gospel, or raising funds for a ministry? We often measure outreach with the wrong tools and miss out on opportunities for greater impact.
3. What do you want them to do?
This may be the most difficult question because it can seem selfish. We think that we don’t want to pressure people to do something but, often, we really do. It’s okay—Jesus forced people to make a decision all of the time. And unless we are willing to do the same, we may never know how effective our outreach truly is. Are you looking for new church attenders, commitments to Christ, or bags of garbage picked up? Knowing this allows you to measure the effectiveness of your outreach.
4. Why are you doing this?
I saved this question for last because it sums up the former. Answering questions about who, how, and what will bring clarity to your why question. This is the purpose of your outreach and should be crystal clear to all involved. We have all been part of ministries that failed to answer this fundamental question, and thus have wondered if it was worth all the effort.
Letting the Holy Spirit guide you in the formation of these goals is critical. It may seem counterintuitive to some of us to believe we can evaluate a genuine move of God. But the truth is that the Holy Spirit gives us power to tell people about Jesus in all phases of our outreach events. Now you have something to measure and a great tool for making your next outreach your best outreach.
Do you take time to stop and evaluate your most recent outreach event before moving on to the next event?