5 Metrics For How To Measure In Your Youth Ministry

Jen Willard
August 31st, 2020

The last few months have probably been trying on your passion for ministry. The Coronavirus pandemic has probably flipped your youth ministry upside down several times and you may still be trying to find your new normal. In the midst of this season, it has become extremely hard to measure the success of your youth ministry as things have been changing and adapting. Even though you might be finding effectiveness” hard to measure, we know God hasn’t stopped working in the lives of your students!

Here are a list of my top five ways to measure success in youth ministry. 

Numerical Growth

Since we are all working with churches, I couldn’t possibly offer you a list of metrics in your youth ministry without also talking about attendance and growth. This is probably most people’s favorite way to measure success in a church setting and we should feel excited and passionate when we get to tell new teenagers about Christ.

There is nothing wrong with being passionate about numerical growth, however this can’t be the only metric we should use for success. Please remember, Jesus leaves us the great commission to share the Gospel with new and growing numbers but was also heavily concerned with teaching his disciples to grow internally before they grew numerically. 

Longevity of Excitement 

As a youth worker, you probably know a few students who would be extremely excited to come to your lock-in or camp that don’t have that same excitement for your small group times. On the other hand, you probably know students that get just as excited about spending a week at camp as they do learning more about the Bible and talking through their faith.

Students who are extremely passionate about participating in the “exciting” programs in youth ministry aren’t bad kids. Fun is an important part of what you do, but I would encourage you to find ways to leverage excitement as you talk with your students about Jesus and discipleship.

It is wonderful that your students love to come to the youth group for their friends and the games you play. But if the majority of your students can also say that their relationship with God is also a primary reason they return, this could be a wonderful metric of success.

Spiritual Maturity

Have you ever asked a question in your youth group just to see if someone can answer it? Sometimes I ask my students what they know about people in the Bible before we study them or I ask a question about who God is that I’m not sure some of the adults in my church can answer. We might be surprised at the students who are able to answer the toughest questions. It should not surprise us that God has been at work in their hearts!

In today’s climate, Teenagers and young adults seem more interested in digging deeper into tough questions and finding out who God is and what God says about people and our world. It is exciting to see students continuing to grow in spiritual maturity.

Granted, spiritual maturity is a spectrum and dependent on the age that you work with in a ministry. However, spiritual maturity and sharing real life growth moments with teenagers can serve as a barometer for how students are seeing faith modeled and receiving Christ-centered direction for their daily lives.


During this odd season, I have seen less of my students. I’m sure other youth ministries can say the same. During this time, life still went on for my students. Several of my students have asked for prayer for their sick parents or asked me to go to lunch to talk about their fears in this Covid season.

Even though defirent, I’m sure you have been invited into a student’s life. It shows a sign of trust and spiritual maturity that students are willing to ask you to be a spiritual leader in their lives. To me, this is a wonderful metric to use, even for the students you might not see every week. 

Next Steps in Faith

I love to see my students choosing to take public, next steps in their faith. For my context, this might look like a student choosing to take a membership class, making the choice to be baptised, or even joining our student leadership team. Whatever this looks like in your setting, make sure to celebrate the success of a student taking a step deeper in their faith journey.

I love to share stories of success from each of these metrics with my local church board as a way to celebrate our ministry through a new lens. Metrics are helpful for you internally as well. It helps you gauge the temperature of your ministry environment.

What are your special youth ministry metrics? Is it a good balance between “number metrics” and “story metrics”?

Jen Willard

Jen Willard is currently the full time Youth Pastor at church near Little Rock, AR. She loves continually learning about ministry and is a graduate of Nazarene Theological Seminary’s MDiv program. Jen loves drinking coffee and traveling to new places with her husband Bryan. Follow her on Instagram at @duckjd.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.