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I’ve got a friend who feels a lot of pressure to increase participants in youth group and roll out consistently high numbers of profession of faiths among their church young people. Really?  So this is how we measure performance for a youth leader?

It frustrates me to hear stories like this. Of course we want to have a growing youth group with plenty of involvement from students within the church and the community. And having students publically give their lives to Christ is one of the high points in the life of a congregation. I believe, though, that these alone just can’t be the determining factors in youth leader success.

If you’ve done youth ministry for a while, you have stories of students who just needed a safe place to feel accepted. You’ve seen these students grow in their faith and in their social skills and for that, you’ll always be both thankful and inspired. You’ve probably sat through more sporting events, plays and concerts than you can count, and while you might not have an Excel spreadsheet that records this activity, you have countless students who will never forget your attendance. Every now and then you have a youth group activity or lesson that changes perspectives and lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.  These are often life-changing lessons.

So you add all of that together, and then you add the highpoints of public professions of faith, and you start to get a glimpse of what makes successful youth ministry.  I would suggest that this is how youth leader success should be measured.

Can I get a witness?


That's because Youth Ministry is a long-term "investment". Whenever I hear stories of success of youth ministry being measured by performance, you can always look right around the corner and see people in charge that are looking for short term results. Until you accept the fact that Youth ministry is a long-term venture, and start evaluating the success of the program by the quality of relationships that are being established, your youth group will never, ever, in a million years grow. ALL the youth groups that I have seen flourish have those two goals as their foundational core. Whenever those goals are applied (along with some other smaller add'l elements) the youth groups almost ALWAYS explode immediately.

Amen and Amen!


Thanks, Paul.  Your post reminds us that Numbers is a book in the Bible, not a Fruit of the Spirit...

I read this post last week and have been thinking about it off and on since then. Not only do I think you are right about this in terms of youth ministry, but I think there is wisdom here for ALL ministry: be present, invest in relationships (as Albert said), and provide a safe place where people are accepted as they are.

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