It’s time for another installment of my take on the chapters from the book What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry. Today, we tackle the chapter from Dan Scott. Dan chose the word “Effectiveness” for what matters now in children’s ministry.
He starts with a quote from Peter Drucker:
“Knowledge work is not defined by its quantity… knowledge work is defined by its results.”
Dan continues by asking how we measure success when it comes to children’s ministry. He notes,
In ministry, what we do rarely has tangible results. Working to build relationships that will encourage faith formation does not yield spreadsheet-friendly results. Perhaps this is why as children’s pastors we often find ourselves busy with projects that allow us to see immediate results.
Do you find yourself focusing on the tangible at the expense of the intangible? Dan writes,
We can enjoy great environments, watch killer videos, and laugh at entertaining sketches. However, is the time we spend on these really worth it? Is the work that is most satisfying in the short-term worth the time investment for the long-term?
So, how can we evaluate whether or not something we have done is truly effective. Dan doesn’t leave us hanging. He explains:
As you create amazing elements and events, ask yourself, “Do these help us build relationships of trust with families?” If you can answer, “Yes,” then keep going. If you can’t, stop and start over.
Finally, he touches on something near and dear to my heart – the idea of story. He explains the true measure of effectiveness:
Your effectiveness is not measured in products but rather in story. You’ll only know results by hearing about lives changed.
He encourages the reader to collect those stories and save them then publish them and celebrate them as the true measure of the success of your ministry.
Questions for further discussion
The stated purpose of this book is to spark further conversation. I have included some of my thought above, but like other chapters I have included a listing of additional questions to spark further conversation. Here are the questions I came up with:
- How do you capture the success from the children’s ministry?
- Please share one of your success stories in the comments below.
- What is an example of where you have focused on the short-term and tangible at the expense of the long-term and intangible?
- How do you stay the course when tangible results can’t be seen? What motivates you?
You can find a link to this, and all the other articles I’ve done related to this book, on my What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry Page.