Ministry Audit – What Worked And What Didn’t (And What We Need To Try)

Tom Pounder
May 11th, 2020

I don’t know about you but when I hear the word “audit”, I usually freak out. After all, if someone or a group like the IRS is auditing me, it means that they are going to do a serious evaluation of me or my finances. That scares me. It would probably scare a lot of us actually. Not because we have something to hide but because we wonder what it will reveal about us, our spending and how we are doing with our finances. 

Thankfully I’ve never had an audit of my finances. However, I have done and been apart of an audit of my ministry before. While they may not always be fun, audits and evaluations are always a critical piece of your ministry. It is there that you get a chance to figure out what worked well, what didn’t and how can you make improvements.

Those are great starting points to figuring out how you can do ministry more effectively. 

If you want your ministry to improve over time, it is really important to do these audits and evaluations at least once a year.

While there are many ways you can do audits for your ministry, I have found that I need to do at least these 4 things below to make my time evaluating the ministry most effective. 

Allow God to speak to you.

After all, this is his ministry. You are just the caretaker of it. Make sure you take time to pray. Allow God to share with you the good and the bad of the past and how you can make improvements for the future. The more you invite Him in on the process the more likely you are going to take to correct past mistakes and take positive steps in the future so that more students can come to know Jesus as their savior.

Get feedback from Others.

You can do an audit all you want by yourself but unless you get more people involved, it will not be a full evaluation. Although you know the ins and outs of your ministry the best, when you do an audit by yourself, it is just your thoughts and reflections, not anyone else’s.

That is why it is so important to get parents, students and volunteers involved. They will give you a variety of feedback, but it will all help you determine what were some real positives and what are things that need to be improved upon. Plus, it helps them feel like you value their opinion and they may even offer to help you make the improvements you need to make.

Give yourself some grace.

When you evaluate, make sure you are hard on yourself, but also give yourself some grace too. Afterall, the world could be faced with a pandemic and it changes your ministry completely inside out (That kind of stuff never happens, but just in case. ☺ ).

  • When unexpected things happen, give yourself some grace.
  • When things don’t work out the way you had hoped, give yourself some grace.
  • Whatever you mess up or however imperfect the event was, give yourself so grace.

As Kylo Ren would say, “Let the past die.” Don’t let what happened eat you up. Learn from it and move on. 

Dream about the future.

What could you do down the road? What have you always wanted to do but “never had time to do before”? Dream about them and let God guide you to see if and when the time is right to start implementing them. How can things change because of this evaluation? Don’t just use the evaluation to beat yourself up about the past. Use it as motivation to work towards something more and dream about what could be. 

As I mentioned above, there are plenty of different things you can evaluate when you are doing a ministry audit. There are lots of effective ways to do them. However, I know that my time is most effective when I spend time praying before and during the evaluation, engage others in the process, give myself some grace and dream about the future.

However you choose to do your audits, the next time you do yours, try incorporating these ideas into it and see where God leads you in the 3, 6 and 12 months from then. 

Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Student Minister and Online Campus Pastor at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at YMSidekick.com

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.