Do you count each week?
What do you count?
This past someone from my youth ministry would count each week, and I noticed something. We started to base successes on whether or not we had high numbers that week. I began to think and pray about this. It dawned on me that I need to be really careful on how I, deal with numbers. If I am honest I have been numbers obsessed. It stokes my pride, and fuels my own needs of importance, and success in ministry today.
In my youth ministry we still count. The reason we count isn’t so that we can determine if we have “enough” students each week. We count because we want to know who isn’t there. I don’t want students to go unnoticed. It amazes me each week when I see a small group leader tell a student that he/she was missed.
Here are a few things I am going to try to do:
1. Keep numbers secret. Yep, I tried this last year, but it failed. I want a leader who will count each week and send it to me at the end of each month. I don’t want to know what the numbers were the day after, or even that week. I don’t want to build an identity on numerics of my ministry. I think in the long haul this will destroy me and my ministry. When I share numbers with people if they ask, and they always do! I tell them ballpark figures, and not exacts.
2. Look for trends. If I get a monthly report of numbers it would be easy to compile them into a database and look for trends up or down. I would rather look for that, and not beg students out for a bigger turn out. The only reason I look at the numbers is to ultimately goal set, and determine the heath of the group for the coming year.
3. Look at the numbers monthly. I don’t want to look at the numbers each week. That could either stoke my pride, or destroy me. Depends on the numbers right? If I was in a rebuild year, things could be really difficult, and it is easy to get down or depressed because of the numbers. Youth ministry is more that just numbers. I need to see the trends and what is happening weeks after. I don’t want to react right away.
4. Ask better questions. I am working on this, and I want to personally ask better questions to myself and my interns each week, instead of how many attended? Some questions I am working on are: What was a win last night? What is one thing you would change? When did you feel God the most?
5. Share stories. When I meet with my adult leaders I want to share stories of impact, and not just the numerical amount of students showed up this past week. I want people to really know what ministry is about, and that its about Jesus transforming people. People matter to God, and they should matter to us, more that number on our way to mega youth ministry.
Do you count each week? How do you count? How does it affect you?