April 15, 2021 | by JB Brayfindley
“What a helpful tool to help assess the effectiveness of Children and Youth Ministries in our conference,” stated Joni Cisowski, Family Minister at First UMC Modesto and newest member of the conference Children Ministry Task Force, a ministry area of the Conference Committee on Young People’s Ministry. Cisowski completed a recent survey initiated by the task force in February. “For me personally, it provided perspective on the impact of ministry for young people in our church. Finally, it gave me encouragement and hope when looking at what we do offer and also motivation to move forward in the areas that can improve for the families in our church community.”
The purpose of the survey is to increase resources for local churches and, for those who participate, begin targeted networking between churches in the conference.
"We are trying to assess the current reality of ministry with children and youth in the whole of the Conference,” stated Rev. Catharine Morris, chair of the task force and pastor of Dixon UMC. “The more engagement we get with the survey, the more clearly we will see the needs and possibilities."
The survey asks churches about the type of children’s ministry currently offered and what sort of resources are available for ministry at the local church level including personnel, building space, finances and participants. In this way, the task force gains statistical or quantitative data on each church program. Fill in the blank questions provide informal or qualitative data.
This information will enable the task force to develop resources and program support at a conference level for local churches. The data will also provide information on churches who are wanting to share their resources and network with similar programs across the conference and help struggling programs.
To date, out of 370 churches and fellowships, 89 (24%) completed surveys of children’s ministry and 53 (14%) for youth ministry.
The Children’s Ministry Task Force with the support of the Conference Committee on Young People’s Ministry is reaching out to district superintendents and circuit leaders to help encourage more churches to complete the online surveys and help the task force reach their goal of 85% to 100% participation.
The task force has created two support videos for churches as they prepare to take the Children’s Ministry and the Youth Ministry survey: