E X A MINE Y OUR MINIS T RY                                                                           from Doug Fields    ...
E X A MINE Y OUR MINI S T R Y   CONNECT to God’s Word                                                                     ...
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21 examine your ministry


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21 examine your ministry

  1. 1. E X A MINE Y OUR MINIS T RY from Doug Fields FOR STARTERS TRAINING on the GO Can you think of a time you To be effective and healthy in my youth ministry, I must constantly examine reached a goal you set for it. The problem is, examination is difficult because it often requires a change and a commitment to a new plan. Since you can probably see where I’m yourself? What was the goal? going with this training, I don’t imagine that you’re bubbling over with How did you feel once you excitement to continue reading. I understand the potential for pain, but bear achieved it? with me as I maneuver through the power of evaluating your ministry. Every time I stop to consider my ministry, I return to the same three actions: personal evaluation, goal setting, and accountability for motiva- IN T HE TRENCHE S tion. When you’re ready to do a little youth ministry evaluation, you may find these actions helpful.I’m currently evaluating my personal Personal evaluation. Take a little time to examine your role in ministry.health—eating, exercise—the wholething. The evaluation isn’t pretty. I Where do you feel like you’re making an impact? Where do you see room fortypically crash-diet to meet a weight improvement? What skills do you need to develop to improve in your ministry?goal; then, when I meet the goal, I Are you tired? excited? bitter? unfulfilled? thrilled? What’s happening in yourrejoice for a short time before regain- heart? Take time to evaluate your current role and feelings related to that role.ing the weight. I have no steady Goal setting. How do you currently measure success in your youthexercise routine, and a near-death ministry? What tangible result or goal are you moving toward? How doexperience while running a raceforced me to evaluate this part of my you spend your time? Unless you define some specific ministry-relatedlife. (OK, maybe it wasn’t near death. goals, you won’t have a standard for measuring progress. So try settingIt just felt like it.) some realistic goals. They don’t have to be outrageous goals (like “have a significant conversation with every teenager in our city”) to lead to a moreMy exercise is basically limited to effective ministry. If the goals are not worthwhile, you won’t rememberthe annual 10-kilometer Turkey them, but if the goals are too big, you may not achieve them. I ask myTrot Thanksgiving morning. Believeme, I run this race not because of volunteers to write short, simple goals. For example:desire, but because of my sense • Have a significant conversation with Nathan every week.of obligation to a friend on ourvolunteer team. Since I don’t train • Pray five minutes daily for our youth ministry.for the race, I’m usually laid up for a • Show up to youth group on time.week afterward. Then it’s Decemberand I’m around more fattening food • E-mail one student from my small group each week.than at any other time of the year. My experience is that a little success with small goals makes me want toPlus, I’ve convinced myself that I’mtoo busy in December to exercise, so continue to set more and larger goals. Meeting several small goals is betterI gain a ton of weight (well, not an than setting hugely ambitious goals that are never met.actual ton but very close). Accountability. A goal without some type of accountability is often noth-Next, I begin January with strong, ing more than a good intention. Accountability can be a great motivator.focused evaluation that leads to If I know another youth leader is going to ask me about one of my goals,lofty goals for a healthier life, which I I’m much more likely to pursue that goal. I ask our volunteers to sharekeep for about two weeks. Can you their goals with another volunteer for a little built-in accountability. I’m notrelate to any of this? How might it suggesting militant accountability and confrontation. I am encouraging therelate to your ministry to students? type of accountability that’s a simple acknowledgment, such as, “How did your conversation with Nathan go this week?” The unexamined ministry can become a wasted ministry. And while examination isn’t easy, it can have great power with a little attention and help from those you share ministry with.YOUTH LEADER TRAINING ON THE GO
  2. 2. E X A MINE Y OUR MINI S T R Y CONNECT to God’s Word T O T HE POINT • Make the decision to evaluate “Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart your ministry. and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.” —Psalm 26:2-3 • Don’t be afraid to look close—and then set some small goals. • What’s one step you’ll take to prayerfully evaluate • Find someone to partner with your heart? your ministry? for accountability. • Who will you ask to hold you accountable to TRY I T follow God’s leading in ministry? Write a response and prayer to God here… Grab any newspaper, and take a moment to examine every inch of the front page. What are the different sections? What are the most important articles? What faces do you see? Who are the reporters? Spend about 10 minutes looking carefully at everything. Now take a blank sheet of paper and sketch similar sections to represent your ministry (and your life, if you choose). Think of all the areas of ministry you’re responsible for, and make boxes, headlines, or small notes for each one. Priorities should be in big boxes (think headlines), smaller priorities should be in the side column (think sports scores and weather reports), and frustrations should be in bold (think natural disasters). Include everything that makes up your ministry to students. Now flip the paper over and draw the same boxes and sections. This time, write what you want each area to look like in one year. Set some realistic goals for these different areas of your ministry, and make a plan for MA K E IT PER SONAL achieving each goal. Permission to photocopy this handout granted for local church use. Copyright © Doug Fields. Published in Youth Leader Training on the Go by Group Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 481, Loveland, CO 80539. www.youthministry.com and www.simplyyouthministry.com