Blog/CYM Blog Cruise Control Engaged? by Joe Chernowski I love long road trips. My kids are trained, and can go a full day in the Millennium Falcon (that’s what we call our van) with just a few stops for restroom and stretch breaks. We’ve driven across the country, and up and down the coast numerous times, and our van-dance-parties are legendary in our minds. One thing I love about modern technology, other than the Bluetooth that allows us to play whatever slick-beats my daughters can find on Apple Music, is cruise control. I feel like I’m driving a spaceship (you know, the Millennium Falcon) – I can put it on autopilot. Something that we absolutely cannot put on cruise control is our ministry. Christ commanded us to feed His sheep, and that we will be His witnesses. It’s our role to build the Kingdom of God – and “good enough” won’t get us there. In our ongoing quest to lead teens closer to Christ, it is important to look for ways to reach more teens and lead them to authentic experiences of Christ. How do we do that? How do we evaluate our ministry, and look for ways to improve? Evaluating our ministry is not meant to make anyone think what they are doing is not sufficient. Evaluating is all about focusing on leading as many teens as possible to Christ! I believe we all need to assess our ministries annually – and we have a tool to help you do just that. Our Parish Assessment resource is designed to help you clearly formulate information about your ministry, in a way that allows you to analyze it, and move forward with it. If you do the assessment correctly, you’ll see many things that are going well. You’ll see how the ministry has grown, reached more teens, and has inspiring glory stories. Light will also be shed on some places where the ministry can improve. You might even see some places where you’re doing work that isn’t worth it – maybe causing some creative fun in a revamp of something. (I mean hey, we revamped Life Support a year ago, and we’re revamping Edge Support now, so we’re all about using the word revamp. Even revamping how we support parishes.) I encourage you to work your way through the Parish Assessment – whether you think youth ministry is going awesome, less than awesome, or anything in between. It’s essential to see the glory stories of Christ at work in the ministry, just as we need to see those places that need some refocusing. The Parish Assessment will help you get a clear glimpse of how relational ministry is going, see if the ministry is growing and vibrant, or look at how the Core Team works together, etc. I recommend talking and praying through it with the main leaders of your ministry, your pastor, etc., as they are people who will help you take the steps to improve how you serve the teens of the parish. Again, the point here is not to create more work, but rather to make sure the work you are doing is having the best possible impact. This analysis may lead to a slight rearrangement of some priorities within the ministry. It grants the opportunity to be excited about some new adventures, sweep some of the stale offerings away, and celebrate victories. Hitting cruise control is helpful in passing the miles on a long road trip. It’s the last thing we want when we’re trying to run an effective ministry and reach as many teens as possible for the sake of the Kingdom. To download the Parish Assessment resource, click here!