Friday, March 15, 2024

What Are Your "Metrics"?

What "metrics" do you use to evaluate how you are doing with your Children's Ministry and to make decisions about what you will do in and with it? Do you measure your effectiveness by "church" families? Do the families in your church seem satisfied with the Children's Ministry? Do church children like your Children's Ministry and participate at a high level? Do church parents "approve" of your Children's Ministry? While the "satisfaction" of "church" families matters, if this is the only - or even the primary metric you use to evaluate your Children's Ministry, you may very well have an inaccurate view of how effective you actually are.

Over my 50+ years of working in Children's Ministry I have had the opportunity to serve in, lead, and work with quite a few churches. The main reason for this is because for 15 years I worked as Church Resource Advisor/Consultant for Kregel Bookstores in Grand Rapids, MI. It was my job to help churches evaluate what they were doing, help them find their best "fit" when it came to curriculum, and train their volunteers. I also worked for five years as a curriculum consultant for Gospel Light Publishing, and another five years for Group Publishing - I do have experience working with a lot of churches.

So, with this background - plus my own experience serving in my own churches when my family lived in California and in Michigan, let me share with you some examples of what happens if we do not consider more than just the "church families" when we evaluate whether we are effective or not. For example, at one church where I worked we had visitors every week. One Sunday a family told me they were moving to the area and had planned to visit a different church this particular Sunday because they had visited us the previous week, but their children wanted to come back. It was Summer and we ran our VBS on Sundays during the Summer - we engaged all the children and had fun, yes, fun! This family's response was one of the reasons we did this, but the other, more important reason, is children actually learned because they were fully engaged. Their "metric" was to do what "worked" and the things which engaged all children and they were highly effective.

This church was focused on doing what was effective, not doing things because it was the way things were always done. Unlike another church I know of where the leaders in the Children's Ministry wanted to do things the way they did it when they were children. In this church children were bored. They did not grow. Even though they were in the middle of their town with children all around, the neighborhood children did not come. Their "metric" was to do what they always did and they were not effective.

What about your church? Do you look at how neighborhood families respond to your ministry? Do you think about the children who come with their grandparents, IF they want to come? Do you make your decisions based on what works by engaging children and teaching the "whys" with the "whats" (why we are able to believe what we believe) or do you do what you do because your children like it and it is what you always did?

While it certainly matters what your "church families" think about your ministry, take time to find out what your community families and those children who come only IF they want to come think about your ministry as well. If your "metrics" do not include information from these people, you may find your ministry is not genuinely effective. So, what "metrics" do you use to evaluate how you are doing with your Children's Ministry and to make decisions about what you will do in and with it?

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