Guest post by Bill Freund, known by his students as “Mr. Bill”
Every youth worker wants to be able to say that they’re making an impact, that they’re leaving a legacy and that they’ve had an eternal impact for the sake of Jesus Christ and His Cause. I’m no different. At the end of my life, I want to hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” This motivation has led me to recently evaluate my efforts with students. There is a big difference between what we’re doing and what is getting done—between activities that fill our schedules vs. long-term spiritual impact. These long-term impacts are what we call “biblical outcomes.” Jesus put it this way, “I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Are We Producing Fruit?
So a few years back I began to ask myself, “Is our student ministry producing fruit—biblical outcomes with long-lasting impact? Or are we just producing apathetic students who’ve had a few fun memories along the way?” Fruit inspecting is both humbling and healthy, but if we’re going to have ministries that do more than offer a social club for Christians, we have to begin measuring our produce.
If you were to say to me, “Hey Mr. Bill, how’s your family?” and I answered you by saying, “Great! We have four people,” you’d probably think I wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box, and you’d be right! So why is it when we get together as youth leaders and talk about how it’s going, we immediately default to numbers? We say, “We had 30…50…100…last night.” Do we measure success by attendance? Is that really fruit; is that really a biblical outcome? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in the camp of “numbers don’t count.” Each number represents a soul Jesus died for. Each number represents someone who is eternally important. So I do believe numbers matter, but it’s the right numbers that truly matter.
Is your student ministry producing fruit—biblical outcomes with long-lasting impact? Or are you just producing apathetic students who’ve had a few fun memories along the way? Click To Tweet
Gospel Advancing Value #6: Measuring Biblical Outcomes
What if, as youth leaders, we began to ask ourselves questions that measured our fruit—our truly biblical outcomes? Questions like…
- How does it show that a student has a love relationship with Jesus?
- Do our students actively engage in spiritual conversations with their friends?
- What percentage of our student ministry are new believers?
- Do our students need to be told to spend time with Jesus, or do they own that process themselves?
- Are the students in our ministry currently making disciples within their circles of influence?
- What does a fully discipled follower of Jesus look like?
- Do our students see Jesus as part of their life or the center of their life?
- Do we see our college/career students following Jesus long after they graduate from the youth ministry?
- Do we see students growing in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control?
These are hard questions to ask—and even harder to answer, but a few years back we decided to ask them anyway. We took Dare 2 Share’s Gospel Advancing Ministry diagnostic. Our results were humbling, but we were resolved to do something about it—and God blessed our efforts! When I became the student pastor at Grace Chapel Castle Rock four years ago, we only had eight students—(two of which were my own flesh and blood, so I brought with me a fourth of our ministry!) But we began applying the 7 Values of a Gospel Advancing Ministry, beginning with prayer.
Try This! ❯
Take the Dare 2 Share’s Gospel Advancing Ministry diagnostic to get a pulse on the current Gospel Advancing health of your ministry and discover some helpful next steps and resource recommendations customized to where you’re at right now.
Be the Coach, Not the Quarterback
In the first 18 months, we grew from eight to 50 students (OK, those are attendance). But the thing that really excited us was that we saw 12 students place their faith in Jesus and it was our students who led them to the Lord. Why? Because I was the coach, not the quarterback. Basically, I inspired and equipped them to reach their friends, and they DID! In four years, we’ve seen 34 students place their faith in Jesus. Our students are actively involved in sharing their faith, and a high percentage of our ministry consists of new believers! And if that weren’t enough, I regularly receive text messages from my college students who are sharing their faith on campus with their friends! Totally God Awesome!
Now please understand, ministry ebbs and flows. Some years will be more fruitful than others, and we are experiencing a less fruitful one right now ourselves. But if you help students to trust the Holy Spirit as they Pray for, Pursue and Persuade their friends with the good news of Jesus, you WILL produce fruit (John 15) —fruit that lasts.
Let’s stop measuring the wrong things and let’s stop under-challenging students. Instead, let’s give them the greatest cause to live for—THE Cause of Christ. Let’s watch God do exceedingly more than we could ever imagine! May God bless you as you equip your students for His Kingdom work!