The Source for Youth Ministry


Jonathan: The next question I have here is from Millie in Central New Jersey. And this is an interesting question. "How does one evaluate a program at the end of the year? In forms? Questions? Etc. I want to have a conversation with the youth about their experience during the past year and as we come to the end of our program year. Any help is appreciated." So basically, what Millie here is asking is, it's the end of her school year and she's looking back on - she calls it her program. It's funny; program is such a bad word in youth ministry right now.

David: Yeah.

Jonathan: But no fault of Millie's. It's on the cover of one of my books here and it's almost boycotted because people are feeling, "program is bad." But what she's saying is, if you look back at her ministry through the year, is there something that we can do or ask the kids for feedback on what we did throughout the year? David, what's your gut feeling on that one?

David: Well the first thing I'd tell Millie is, "Don't just evaluate your ministry or your ministry programs one time a year." Evaluate your ministry programs every time you do a ministry program. Our leaders - we had a great group of task force and we actually called them Levites - they all had a specific function to do and we just...every single time we were done with a ministry event, even if was just our regular Wednesday night worship thing, or our Friday night where we took over the Krispy Kreme and had a couple or three hundred high schools crawling all over the campus, man, our leaders knew that at midnight, when all the kids are gone, they still owed us about twelve minutes. We're just gonna get together. "Hey, who'd you talk to?" "Hey, what did you see tonight?" "What went well?" "What didn't go so well?" "Were there any problems?" "Which kids did you talk to, and what did they have to say?" I think, Millie, if you get those points of contact with the students and the adult leaders in February, and in April, and in September, you're not having to cram it all in...

Jonathan: "Hey it's May! Let's review."

David: "What did we do in August?" No no no.

Jonathan: So, you're saying debriefing is a normal...

David: Debriefing is a part of the program. I mean, all the kids are gone, or they're outside if you've got a couple parents on your task force leadership, you know. But get that feedback.

Jonathan: Now, is this your adult team? Cause Millie asked, "What do I do," wait let me quote her exactly. She says, " conversation with the youth about their experience." OK, so do you ever involve students in that feedback?

David: Yeah. We had student leadership teams in our youth ministry. Of course, that wasn't the entire youth ministry; it was just the cream of the crop so to speak.

Jonathan: So your leadership kids?

David: Absolutely.

Jonathan: So you got feedback from them?

David: Absolutely. Definitely. Because what we think is cool is not necessarily cool from the adult world down to the student world.