If you were to leave your ministry and then come back in with a fresh set of eyes what would you see? Would you see confusion and chaos? Would you see clear vision, and clear communication? That’s a question that I’ve been asked and to tell you the truth I don’t know what I would see. The reason is because I’ve been in the trenches for so long I can lose sight of the big picture. But if we don’t get a fresh perspective on how our ministry is being run then we begin to ignore problems, take certain things for granted and even become a little self centered.
This past Sunday I gathered the men and women who have been serving in our ministry for about 6 months and asked them to evaluate me and the student ministry. These are the questions I asked them and why:
- Why did you get into ministry? – I asked them this question because we don’t always know why people want to serve. Maybe it’s because they have kids, maybe it’s because of a positive experience they had in their youth group growing up. No matter the reason, this question helps me when it comes to recruiting new leaders.
- What has surprised you (both negatively and positively) thus far about serving in ministry? – We ask this question so that we can get the perspective of our every day church goers. I might think that everyone knows everything about student ministry, but this question reveals what people really don’t know. Some people might have expected more of a Religious Ed, while others are thinking lock-ins and ski trips. This is your chance to see how clear you are about communicating to the rest of the church what your student ministry is all about.
- What has been your largest frustration? – I want trust and honesty in our youth ministry. I like this question because you have to wonder what it is you are doing to chase others away. Besides how often does your boss ask you, “What is it that I do that frustrates you?” This question fuels trust, because now your ministers will know they can go to you about anything, even if it’s you.
- What has been something you’ve learned? – When you ask this question you will discover whether or not you have an environment of doing or growing. I don’t think it’s something many of us think about but youth ministry isn’t just about helping the students grow, it’s also about helping leaders grow. If they aren’t learning then you are either not investing in them or giving them anything challenging. Either way you risk losing them.
- What isn’t clear about what we do as a ministry? – This is the perfect opportunity to really gauge how clear your systems, structures and communication is to the rest of the team. This is their chance to ask questions they may have been too embarrassed to ask because no one wants to seem unsure. When we ask our new ministers what isn’t clear, they can help us become more efficient. When we can be clear, there isn’t anything slowing us down.
Doing a self evaluation with your leaders (rookies or veterans) can be a humbling experience. I wouldn’t recommend doing it just because. You need to want to face the brutal facts. You need to want to know what a fresh set of eyes is seeing. You need to want to know what systems are gray and which are crystal clear.
The reason we do this as a youth ministry with new volunteers is because they aren’t jaded, burnt out or drinking the kool-aid. In fact their feedback from time to time can be more reliable than those who have served with you since your first day. So, never stop evaluating what it is you are doing, never stop asking people to give you insight. I just shared with you 5 questions that I use to evaluate the ministry I lead.
What questions would you ask a new minister to help you evaluate your ministry?