The intangible side of youth ministry deals with life change. How do you measure what’s going on in someone’s mind or heart? While there is no solid science, here are a few ways you can start measuring life change.
1. Capture stories.
You don’t really know how people feel about their faith journey until they share it with you. Capturing stories means you are asking people to be vulnerable and to share what’s happening in their life.
You can capture a story through:
Social media posts
Feedback on a survey
It takes trust to open up, so make sure you are building that. Also lead the way by sharing your story and showing others the impact it can have.
2. Track personal invitations.
On top of attendance, you should track why someone started coming. Every time a new teen comes to your ministry, ask them, “How did you hear about us?” If it’s a friend or a peer, track it. If that person has a habit of inviting, ask them why. The more you look at the why behind your teens’ actions, the more you’ll understand the impact your ministry is having on their lives.
3. Follow their next journey.
Just because a teen is no longer in your ministry doesn’t mean that you are no longer their youth minister. When your teens head off to college or takes the next step, keep in touch. Ask them what they are doing. Look at their major and the clubs they are involved in, and measure it against the topics you’ve discussed and the experiences your ministry has provided. You might have played a small part, but it’s still significant.
4. Meet with parents.
Teens might not tell you what’s going on in their lives, but parents will. Ask parents about their teens and whether or not they are seeing anything different. Seek their insight and welcome their feedback. They’ll let you know if they are seeing a difference.
5. Encourage leaders to be aware.
You won’t be able to track all the lives coming in and out of your ministry. That’s why investing in leaders is important. Ask them to be on the lookout for life change. Encourage them to ask the questions and gain more information on how a teen is growing in their faith.
As you collect this data, look at commonalities. Record what is working and share it with others. Just because it’s not a number doesn’t mean it cannot be measured. You just need to look and listen more.