The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Youth & Young Adult Ministry: Ten Criteria to Evaluate a Youth Program

Authored by Nic Frank in Issue #6.3 of Catechetical Review

Do you want to know the most common questions a youth minister gets asked? “How many kids came to youth group last night?” or “How many kids signed up for the retreat?” Throughout my 10+ years of working as a parish youth minister, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked these questions as a way to evaluate the success of the parish youth program. Now, typically a youth minister responds to the most popular question with the most popular answer, which is “Youth ministry isn’t about numbers; if we change one heart it’s worth it.”

Unfortunately, “nickels and noses” (money and numbers), as Gil Rendle puts it in his book Doing the Math of Mission, are two of the quickest and simplest ways to evaluate ministry. Rendle, however, makes the distinction between counting and measuring, saying that counting is “more about resources and activities than about outcomes,” whereas measuring is about “change… it is more about call, purpose, and possibility.”[1] Whether clearly articulated or not, I don’t think anyone would argue that “change” is what ministry is all about. Conversion, growth, holiness: these are about change, not numbers. Isn’t this what we want to see happening in the lives of our teens?

As our culture degenerates into a post-Christian, secular humanist society, youth ministry becomes more difficult. Some studies show that Gen Z is the “least religious” generation in our country today. Youth ministers have to work harder and be more creative than ever before to connect to students. Students are busier than ever. No longer are Wednesday nights and Sundays reserved for “families and faith”; school and club teams schedule events during these previously hallowed times. Because students are more connected through social media and the internet, why go to youth group when they can watch a well-edited YouTube video or do a simple Google search to find their answers about God?

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting [email protected]

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor’s Reflections: Eucharistic Communion and Seeing Those in Need
By Dr. James Pauley
Free The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that receiving the Eucharist “commits us to the poor” (1397). Why is this so? Receiving the Eucharist means that we enter into union with the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. And being in Holy Communion with Jesus himself means something profound. Let’s consider one facet of this great mystery.... Read more
The Anawim and the Kerygma
By Colin and Aimee MacIver
Sarah: aged and barren. Joseph: rejected, betrayed, and enslaved. Moses: desperately cast afloat in a basket. Daniel: sent to death by lions. Mary: unknown, unmarried, unbelieved. Salvation history is the story of the poor ones, the bowed down, the lowly—the anawim , as they are named in Hebrew. In both the Old Testament and the New, God tends to... Read more
The Spiritual Life: Poverty, Purity of Heart, & Eucharistic Living
By Sr. Alicia Torres, FE
Free This article is part of a 3-year series dedicated to promoting the efforts of the National Eucharistic Revival in the United States. “The Body of Christ.” “Amen.” Each time we participate in Mass, we have the opportunity to encounter the Lord Jesus in the most intimate way through the reception of Holy Communion. This moment is the most practical... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now