Student Leadership Team Basics: Evaluating

In addition to requiring student leaders to read and blog, another way I train and equip students for leadership and in particular, for creating a culture of welcome is by conducting frequent evaluations of each week's youth ministry programs.

Frequent evaluations give student leaders the opportunity to slow down and reflect. Doing so teaches teens to notice God. Evaluations also keep teens from becoming complacent in their roles. They challenge teens to think about how they can be better servants and leaders, something that, in turn, fuels growth. What's more, frequent evaluations keep teens humble. They help teens to approach their roles as student leaders with a posture of learning that says “How can we do this better?” rather than settle for that's “good enough” or the way we've always done it. In that way, evaluations actually invite teens to dream and to try new things - even if they fail.

Despite the benefit of frequent evaluations, evaluations can definitely be tricky. You want people to authentically express their feelings and give honest feedback. At the same time, you don't want anyone to leave feeling beat up, or like the thing they poured their heart and soul into didn't matter.

To that end, it's important to establish a culture ripe for evaluations from day one. To do this, create and reiterate a few ground rules each time you evaluate. My team's ground rules include:

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Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

Now Available!

A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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