Evaluating our kids’ ministry is often scary.
We worry about what we might find, such as confirmation of what we already suspect.
Maybe we’re not being effective. And maybe that’s because we’re doing something “how it’s always been done”—we know we’ll get backlash if we change things.
But, as Scripture says, there is a time for everything. As such, my friends, there needs to be a time for evaluation!
Good Intentions Aren’t Enough
It’s important that we make sure our intentions with our ministries are more than just that—good intentions.
If we only mean to do something, and never get to it, or evaluate what we’ve done, then we could be intending to make a difference while actually falling flat.
And falling flat in our ministries means that we’re actually failing kids when it comes to real life transformation.
It means that we’re missing the mark for these kids.
“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”Good to Great, James C. Collins
Are you tired of settling for “good enough” in your ministry? Start by evaluating each area of your ministry—that is to say, to see what needs to stay and what needs to go.
Disclaimer: The evaluation process is not for the faint of heart. Consequently, you may step on toes, bruise a few egos (maybe even your own), encounter a few stubborn hearts, or cause a melt down or two. Further effects may result in killing programs, altering budgets, or going through a waiting period where God may be telling you to “be still.”
3 Phases of Evaluation
There are 3 key phases in my recommended evaluation process.
The first is to simply evaluate.
To evaluate your ministry is to essentially take the time to identify one area of ministry (within your greater ministry) and look at the facts of that ministry area. List all the pertinent details about that area of ministry—answering the questions here is a great place to start:
- What works?
- What doesn’t work?
- Where are the holes?
- Where are the wins?
- How much prep time is required?
- What’s the budget?
- How many people are involved?
- How many are impacted?
The second of the 3 phases is gather.
Create a list of those people who are passionate about your ministry. Gather these trusted leaders and really look at the why behind your ministry.
- Why are we doing this?
- Why this time?
- Why these people?
- Why these methods?
Take the time to decide whether you are going to keep that one ministry or program, kick it up, or kill it.
This may be hard, and you may face opposition, but you’ve taken the steps at this point and you know what you need to do.
There are some things you will need to keep the same. They work fine as they are, and there’s no need to change them.
On the other hand, there will be times where you need to kick it up. You will need to take the ministry area or idea you started with and really put resources behind it, or even shift your methods.
Then there are some things you will need to kill.
And it’s never fun, but it makes space so you can either do something else really well, or replace it with something that creates the outcome you are looking for.
- Evaluate: Identify one area of ministry and look at the facts of that ministry area. “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plan of the peoples.” (Psalm 33:10)
- Gather: Gather trusted leaders. “Without counsel, plans go wrong, but with many advisers, they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22)
- Determine: Keep it, kick it up, or kill it. “The human mind may devise many plans, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established.” (Proverbs 19:21)
Pushing Through Adversity
When you refuse to settle for “good enough,” you WILL face challenges. As you begin to evaluate your ministry, you may have to overcome some dread—but it’s worth it.
Then it’s a time for you to take a breath, look at what your ministry is doing, and refocus on what God would have you do.
You will face adversity, and, as a result, there are times that will be hard. But there are also times that your passionate people will gather with you in faith and camaraderie and make a real difference!
Here are 3 questions I like to ask myself (multiple times) during the evaluation process:
- Are you chasing God’s plan or yours?
- Is God at work or are His people at work?
- Do your prayers reflect an open-handed posture to God or the tight fists of control?
We all want the same outcomes—for children to know, love, and follow Jesus. The evaluation process—though at times is painful—will help you keep true to your ultimate goal.
And that, my friends, is the most important work of our lives.
So, keep up the good work, stay encouraged, and remember that you aren’t stuck in a vicious cycle.
Make the changes you need to, keep your head up (toward Him), and shift again when the time comes. And don’t forget to smile, because we know God wins in the end!
“On this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell should not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18 ESV)
Leadership Resources to Inspire Evaluation
- The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg
- 7 Family Ministry Essentials, Michelle Anthony
- The Coaching Habit, Michael Bungay Stainer
- Every Good Endeavor, Tim Keller
- Good to Great, Jim Collins
- Visioneering, Andy Stanley
- Spiritual Parenting, Dr. Michelle Anthony
Other Influential Leadership Resources
- Present over Perfect, Shauna Niequist
- Creativity, Inc., Ed Catmulls