No matter what ministry you are involved with, periodic evaluation is necessary. Programs in children’s ministry can run for years with parents and volunteers assuming that everything is fine. But it’s important to take a step back every once and a while and really consider how a specific program is doing. Is it fulfilling its purpose? Is it meeting a current need?
Evaluation is important for every program in children’s ministry. If the program is doing well, then be encouraged. If it isn’t, then let me encourage you to use this as an opportunity for positive change!
The prospect of conducting an evaluation on a current ministry program can be daunting. Here is a tool that you can use to make the process simple yet effective.
This program evaluation tool uses 5 steps to conduct an evaluation and develop an action plan.
This is the first step in an evaluation process, but it should also be sprinkled throughout the process. When doing an honest evaluation we need the Holy Spirit to guide us and convict us.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
In every situation, including embarking on an evaluation process, present your requests to God. And the promise is peace that will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.
So, pray before you begin and pray throughout the process.
Step 2—Define the Program
This particular evaluation tool was designed for one specific program at a time. During this step you will articulate the purpose, position on the children’s ministry spectrum, and vision of this particular program.
If you don’t have the answer to one or more of these questions, don’t worry. You can find the answer. It’s important to have these foundational things before you move on in the evaluation process.
Take the time you need to step out of the evaluation process and define the purpose of your program. Take a few minutes to plot where it is on the children’s ministry spectrum. Is it helping to fulfill the children’s ministry vision? If you need help with the children’s ministry spectrum or writing a vision statement, links are provided to articles that will help you.
Once you have defined the program, it’s time to move on to step 3.
Step3—Evaluate the Program
The program evaluation tool is divided into 4 categories: Purpose/Vision; Program/Curriculum; Volunteers; and Administration. Within each category are a series of questions. To complete the evaluation, mark the column that best matches your answer to that question (“Absolutely”, “Somewhat”, “Not really”, or “Not at all”). Answer these questions as accurately as possible, taking into account the program’s current situation. Be careful not to answer based on what you want the answer to be but rather how it is right now. The more accurately you answer these questions now, the easier the next steps will become!
So be honest and take your time.
Step 4—Reflect on the Program
This section of the evaluation contains 3 questions for you to answer. These questions give you the opportunity to get down on paper your thoughts about this program. Use as much space and take as much time as you need. The answers you give here can help to reveal deeper thoughts and feelings about your program that you might not have answered in the evaluation chart in the previous step and these answers will help you as you go through the rest of this tool.
Step 5—Identify Next Steps
This sections contains a flowchart will help you identify potential next steps to take as a result of how you answered the evaluation questions. By the time you are finished you should have a list of things to do to improve your program.
Use the program evaluation tool to help you honestly evaluate your program and come up with a plan for what to do in the future.