Assess ministry effectiveness using a structured approach
We recently had a conversation with a church (that I won’t name) from a state (that I won’t name), but maybe others can benefit from their story. For at least the last six months, this church has been wrestling with ministry for their young people. There was talk about stopping LOGOS because it just didn’t seem to be working. LOGOS had been around a long time in their church, but now a new pastor and some church volunteers were talking about changing the way Wednesday night “looked” and “getting rid of” LOGOS altogether. There were struggles getting volunteers, so this seemed to be the solution to the problem.
A lay leader in the church contacted us for help and we suggested that they go through the Children’s Ministry Effectiveness Model and see what resulted. The beauty of this evaluation tool is that it looks at the whole picture, not just LOGOS. The model addresses effective children’s ministry in comprehensive terms. So, by using this model it’s quite possible their Wednesday night could “look” very different than what they’ve been used to experiencing as a LOGOS church, but the foundations of effective ministry would still be in place. There would be lots of opportunities to build relationships between the children/youth and mature Christian adults, the use of the call process to engage the adults in the ministry, and a structure that offers a balanced approach in order to nurture the body, mind, and spirit offering practice as well as learning of the faith. And they’d still be “doing LOGOS”, in the sense that they have all of the key effectiveness components listed.
So they went through the process, but their pastor didn’t participate. Their conclusion? Wednesday night was going fine…was effective…but other areas needing “shoring up.” However, they are still struggling and having trouble and their situation points to three areas that we could all learn from:
The clergy’s support is vital for sustainability. This doesn’t mean that the pastor has to teach all of the Bible study classes. It means that the pastor is verbally (sermons and everyday conversations) and physically (present in some way) supportive of the children’s ministry in the church.
Ongoing training for church staff and particularly for lay volunteers is also vital for sustainability. There needs to be a depth of understanding and support for the “big picture” of the ministry and what is necessary for making an impact on lives (especially young lives). If we’re not doing what it takes to be impactful, we’re just offering an activity that might be wholesome, but is not nurturing a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. There’s a difference!
Calling the right people to the right position according to the God given gifts is essential. This is what builds up the body of Christ and allows healthy Christian relationships to flourish. This is a very specific process that takes a great deal of intentionality.
And it’s not just LOGOS that thinks this….you do too! The Barna Research Group did a study by surveying you! Churches that sustain the ministry over the long term have clergy that support LOGOS and send people to our training events.
The only way to know if your children’s ministry is working is to take the time to do regular in-depth evaluations around key factors such as its purposefulness, practicality and impact. So what are you doing to make sure your Children’s Ministry is working?