the feedback void in middle school ministry

ywj_logo_smi write an every-other-issue column on middle school ministry for youthworker journal. the column for the current issue is online now: it’s on the lack of meangingful feedback in middle school ministry, and how that can create problems for us.

here’s the link to the whole column.

here’s a tease:

If you teach a second-grade Sunday School class, you can tell by kids’ participation how you’re doing. If you volunteer in the parking lot ministry of your church, the cars either get parked or they don’t. If you preach sermons in “big church,” people always let you know what they think.

Really, almost every other ministry area in the church provides natural feedback. Not so with middle-school ministry. When feedback is absent, we often look to unhelpful measuring sticks to gauge whether or not we’re on the right track.

6 thoughts on “the feedback void in middle school ministry”

  1. Thank you – I thought it was “just me” – I think that parents are just so grateful to have someone, anyone looking out for their mid-high kids that they are hesitant to push back for fear that the miracle might end. We’ve done youth ministry for 2 decades and this term w/ the jr. high has been the most frustrating for me because while I love the age group and these kids I am getting so little feedback. It’s a relief to know that it’s not just me.

  2. great article. this is definitely something i can relate to. i think this part was particularly good insight:
    “Another measuring stick we often wrongly apply is whether or not kids seem to be “getting it” quickly and radicalizing their lives to become Christ-like.”
    we live in such a microwave culture, we expect everything to happen fast. and, i can be such a needy person, in need validation in order to feel worthwhile. but this was a great reminder that we’re in it for the long haul. thanks for making this practical, too, with a great list of ideas to use as measuring. the answer isn’t to not evaluate…it’s to use the right tools to evaluate.

  3. HA!

    I was just talking about these type of things with some youth leaders last night. Great article, good timing. I think we can measure success simply by being faithful to our calling. Let God deal with the results.

  4. As we are evaluating our middle school ministry, the constant question of “how effecting is our teaching?” comes up again. My staff likes to see quiet kids, but I don’t think a quiet middle schooler is an engaged learner. Thanks for the simple, yet real benchmarks.

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