Count the Deep Conversations and Water Ball Matches!
Summer Season is fast approaching and the Fraze family is getting ready for the camp and mission greatness that is student ministry. In one word, it is going to be awesome!
Question: How are you going to know if your summer programming is successful?
Question: How are you going to communicate success to your senior pastor or leadership?
Reporting wins back to parents, volunteers and church leadership is essential!
Let’s talk numbers. Don’t be cynical, reporting numbers is a much-needed stewardship component of ministry. Numbers typically involve counting participants (adult and student), those served, those saved, those making decisions of some sort and…um…all that budget stuff. Again, these are all great numbers to know in order to effectively make future programmatic decisions. However, there are numbers that are often overlooked that I want to encourage you to count and share in story.
If you have been in student ministry for any length of time you have discovered a truth. If you are new at this, here it is:
Students are influenced more by time and experiences spent with you, other adults and other students than they are influenced and remember the lesson, activity or destination.
This does not mean we throw away all programming and get sloppy in trip preparation and lesson delivery. It does mean that we learn to include other “countable” items in our numbers. For instance (just a few here):
- How many deep conversations about life did you have with students and adult volunteers? (I am not going to quantify deep here–you will know if you had one.)
- How much time did you spend playing games with students? Water ball is pictured here and has always been one of my favorites (it is called various things at different camps in different pools but the point is the same-wrestle a ball into a goal and dunk everyone around you). It is a favorite because the experience provides a platform for trust to be developed so that students feel comfortable talking with you about that deep stuff mention above. A simple game of cards or making a craft with a student can provide the same platform.
Counting these types of numbers and asking your adult leaders to do the same is powerful! The sharing of stories that accompany these events let your team know that your programming methods are effective.
I know, I know…I am already imagining the conversation that goes something like this, “David, we had a bazillion decisions to follow Christ at (name your favorite event).” Again, an important number to count, but don’t forget to count the other stuff. You may be surprised at the insight and long-term impact such counting has on your student ministry.
Oh, one more thing, your senior pastor will really like these stories as well (just sayin’).
What other “numbers” do you count in your summer programming?
Do you have any great stories to tell from deep conversations and games played with students? (Remember, confidentiality is a must so change the names.)
David Fraze is Special Assistant to the President of LUBBOCK CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY and Manager of DFW Character Coaches for FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN ATHLETES. Based out of North Richland Hills, Texas, David has been a student minister for over 25 years. David is a popular speaker at Youth Events, Public/Private School Events, Ministry Trainings and Seminars. David is a writer who has contributed articles for the YS Blog, ENGAGE, the quarterly journal of The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, Youth Worker Journal, Journal of Student Ministries, and the Fuller Youth Institute. David serves as a Ministry Coach for YOUTH SPECIALTIES, speaker for STICKY FAITH, and serves as Character Coach for Richland High School Football and Athletics. He has been married to Lisa for 25 years. They have two children, Braeden and Shelbee.
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.