Last year, about this time, I gathered around a breakfast table with a few friends from my volunteer team and other leaders in the church to discuss the direction of the Children’s Ministry. I was in the middle of reading Deep & Wide by Andy Stanley at the time (which, by the way, is only $4 right now for Kindle), and I wanted to more clearly define what a “win” looked like for our ministry. Of course there was bacon (do you really need to ask?)
We had newly revamped our church’s vision statement (read about it here) and I wanted to make sure that the Children’s Ministry department was aligned with the church’s vision as a whole.
I also wanted to decide upon some tangible ways to measure success in our ministry. Something that would truly facilitate spiritual growth for the kids and parents in our program. The book, Transforming Church, explains:
“In our search to quantify church health, we have a tendency to measure the wrong things — church attendance, political muscle, buildings and budgets. Again, these things are not bad in and of themselves, but the fact is churches can be large, influential, financially secure, and have a beautiful facility yet still be desperately unhealthy. Outward success does not guarantee inner health.
As a Children’s Ministry team, we wanted a system that would lead kids into a deeper understanding and relationship with Jesus. Here’s what we came up with:
Basically, we try to assess where kids are at when they come to us and then cater the small group time to lead kids to the next level. We even made a chart that small group leaders can use to keep track of progress.
Small Group Leader Chart
I’m not sure if the small group leaders have been consistently using the charts, so I might want to start building a “fill out your chart” time during our monthly meeting. Or, we might decide to throw out the chart all together and measure in a different way. We’ll be discussing this topic at our upcoming team meeting, so I’ll keep you posted!
Defining the Win
Last year, we also decided that a “win” was when a kid was so excited about church that he invited or influenced someone else to join the fun, whether that was a friend, parent, other relative. I still think this is a great “win”, but I would now like to think of a way we can really CELEBRATE those wins, both with the kidmin team and the church at large.
Measuring YOUR Ministry
So, what’s important in your ministry? What would you consider a “Win”?
- First time guest returning a second time?
- Kids memorizing Scripture?
- Parents engaging in the ministry?
- More volunteers signing up to be a part of the ministry?
What do you want kids to walk away from your ministry with?
- Clear understanding of the Bible?
- Basic knowledge of 15 core biblical accounts and life application?
- Desire to pray?
Perhaps you want to break up your measures of success into different categories?
- Spiritually: Kids know God loves them and wants a relationship
- Relationally: Kids are engaged in a small group and share openly
Or align it with your church’s vision as a whole?
- Lead: Lead kids into a genuine relationship with Christ
- Build: Build them up in their faith by teaching them how to use their Bible, how to find verses and stories, and how to pray with power
- Equip: Allow kids an opportunity to serve in Children’s Ministry (and beyond) and train them effectively so their service will be a rewarding experience
- Send: Give kids an opportunity to serve beyond the walls of church
Maybe you want to format it more like a checklist (I do love a good checklist). For example, before kids “graduate” from Children’s Ministry, they should:
- Own and regularly use their own Bible
- Be able to locate most books of the Bible quickly
- Memorize 10 key Scriptures
- Pray both corporately and in their own personal lives
- Invite others to church and talk to their friends about their faith
- Attend a small group and share during small group time
- Serve in the church in some capacity
You get the idea. It might also be a great idea to develop some goals for parents, though they might be a little harder to measure.
However you decide to do it, I would encourage you to begin to put some systems in place to measure success in your ministry. Even if you have to tweak things and change them, it’s good to get started! Measurements help encourage us and the team members around us and help keep the focus on kids developing a relationship with Christ.
Are You Measuring?
Do you already have some systems in place? I’d love to hear about them! Leave me a comment and tell me all about it.