My rant on ministry evaluations and “key result areas”

My rant on ministry evaluations and key result areasThe poor guy below wrote me a while back asking a pretty simple question, but I ended up going on a rant. Sorry! lol I would love to hear input from all you guys in the comments below.

My pastor asked me to look around at some other youth ministries and see what they set and use to evaluate their ministries. He suggested that I set up some “Key Result Areas” to use for our ministry here. I realize that some of this is dependent on personal context, but I would be interested to hear if any others, including you, have done work with KRAs. What are the KRAs of youth ministry that exist in almost any context?

I haven’t formally done anything like this before, but I do meet with the youth pastors in my community every Tuesday morning and talk. We did an informal discussion once about the percentage of students who are connected to our church in some way versus the percentage of students who are actually involved in the ministry. My ministry is at about 50-60% involvement, which I thought was horrible until the other guys said they were closer to 25-35% involvement. Now I don’t feel so bad.

But that’s the problem — we should never use other ministries for the standard of evaluating our own ministry. It’s not “how they’re doing” versus “how we’re doing.” And I know you’re not asking in a competitive sense, but for all practical purposes, that’s exactly where the focus goes. There’s nothing wrong with taking your community’s demographics into consideration as part of your strategy, but don’t use the success or failure of other ministries as a basis for evaluation. The danger is, if you happen to be on the top of the totem pole, you start to feel the same way I did: content. As long as there are still unsaved people in this world, I should never be content with my ministry’s “performance.”

Instead, I use scripture for the basis of our evaluation. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 says, “…God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” And the Great Commission in Matthew 28, of course, along with 1 Peter and Hebrews challenging believers to grow into full maturity, not stuck on spiritual milk. God wants 1,000,000% growth, not numbers who are involved versus not involved, as if that could somehow determine spirituality.

What I care about most, and I’m sure you do, too, is that I’ll hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” My ministry will never meet up to His standards, I know. As long as there are lost people in my community and believers who need to grow deeper in the Word, I’ll never feel like my ministry is “doing okay” or “meeting expectations.” It’s all about Him and what scripture indicates a ministry should do and what it should look like. So I’d encourage you to start there. Besides, no life-change or spiritual growth happens apart from the Holy Spirit’s prompting and conviction anyway. Whatever the Key Area Results are for my community, the Holy Spirit can (and wants to!) radically change that. Sometimes I think we approach ministry from a business perspective instead of a spiritual perspective.

What do you think? I’d love to dialog about this a bit because I’ve never really thought through a KRA before, so I’d love to hear your thoughts.

NOTE: Obviously I know that careful ministry evaluations are important and very necessary — this post is not questioning that. Rather, it’s challenging the yard stick we sometimes use to measure our ministries and the conclusions we draw from it.

Posted on March 25, 2009

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